Making Words Work

Archive for February, 2011

Twitter updates in advance: Meet Buffer [Review]

This is a Guest Post by Leonhard Widrich, who is the developer of BufferApp, a tool which lets you to tweet efficiently.  I am humbled to have a post by an application developer. 

Twitter is dynamic. It’s lively and engaging. Yet, if you want to write truly great content, you have to give it some proper thought. That is obvious for blog posts and in recent times, ever more so for tweets too.  

Buffer offers you a chance to write a couple of tweets at one point; delivering your well thought out tweets evenly spread out during the day. Let’s take a look how it works.

What is Buffer?

With Buffer you have pre-set times, at which your tweets are published, once put into your Buffer. These are evenly spread out over the day. You can simply add, say for example 10 tweets in the morning and you will then be delivering great content during the day.

How do I get started?

After your account is created, you can choose to change the default times, which are set. I have only done this once and after that I can forget about setting times. This makes adding tweets the only thing left to do.

The Browser Extensions make Buffer awesome.

The first thing I suggest to do after you have set up your account is to install one of the browser extensions. You will be able to add tweets to your Buffer right there from any browser.

So whenever you come across an article worth sharing, click the Buffer icon and add to your Buffer. It couldn’t be simpler. You can choose to either edit the tweet like we did below or add to Buffer right away with the suggested text from the application.

So for example, to share Fran’s post below, simply hit the Buffer icon. This is what happens:

 

 

Get lots of tweets into your Buffer

Once your Buffer is filled up with tweets, you can relax, as Buffer will be sending them out for you during the day. If you return back to the dashboard, you can always move tweets around by dragging, you can also edit them or view your sent tweets.

How can Buffer help you?

If you tweet a lot, Buffer will make your life a lot easier. Whilst you are reading blogs, you give it one click on the Buffer icon, if you think this content is worth sharing.

I feel this means no extra effort for me, yet I consistently share great content with my followers since using Buffer.

What I particularly enjoy is the great feeling of a full Buffer that will keep my followers posted in the coming hours or days. After you have been using Buffer for a while, always topping up with another tweet, whenever an article is useful, your twitter experience will run smoothly and without extra efforts.

You should give it a try, then leave a comment! (at top of post)

Nurturing the Inner Critic for Your Writer’s Block

Many writers have suffered needlessly from writer’s block.  If you are a writer and have cleverly avoided “the block”, chances are at some point, the block will find a way in.  Most of us have experienced the block many times, and have dug ourselves deeper in the fear cave than we ever thought possible.

Insecurity

We all have the inner voice that tells us that we are not good enough, smart enough, or capable enough to writing something for publication.  The truth is; we are all capable of doing anything.  We can write well when we put our minds to it.  Think about this for a second.  In our past, when we have put our minds to doing something, doesn’t it get done?  Of course it does!  Writing is no different than any other accomplishment in your life.

Problem solved

Our brain is wired so that we give it a problem and the brain solves it.  Sometimes, it takes a while and we get impatient but the brain works on solving the problem day and night until it is resolved. The brain wasn’t always as good at solving issues. With anything we do, the more we do it the better we get.  Practice, practice, practice.  We have the power to get better therefore making it easier to talk with our inner critic.

Need for the inner critic

Squelching the inner critic is not the goal.  We all need the inner critic to help us with our writing but only after we put the words down on paper and need to edit the writing.  Without the critic, we would not be able to edit our writing and make it clear to our audience.  Our goal is to be heard and understood by the reader.  Our audience is important to us as writers. 

Summary Exercise

One exercise that might help you is to learn to write a quick outline of an idea with a few main points you want to cover in the article, while you are thinking of it.  You may never have to stare needlessly for hours at a white screen, waiting for inspiration.  Most ideas come when you are writing something else; something unrelated or when you are not writing.  A voice recorder might also help.  They are portable and you never know when an idea may creep into your thoughts.  It may become more valuable than your cell phone and it is just as easy to carry.

If you try this exercise of doing an outline for your article, I would love to hear how well it worked for you.  Please leave a comment.  If you have “tricks” you use, please share them in the comment section.

Time Management: 3 Things a Freelance Writer Can Do for You Right Now

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”
-Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)

We wear all kinds of hats when we are in Business for ourselves, don’t we?  Do you find some things are time consumers?  You know the things that are energy drainers and you just can’t get started?  Is the task something that can be “delegated” to someone who makes the task seem easy?  Is that worth your investment in time to find them? There are people in the world that love to do what you hate to do.   We all have things that take us more time than we feel they should, when running a business.  Instead of putting them off, tackling them yourself and spending countless hours trying to figure it out yourself, find someone who has the knowledge and loves to do the task. Perhaps your business will work like a well oiled machine once again. 

Here are three time – consuming things that a freelance writer can do for you today:

1.)     Update your website – Websites can be a large part of your business.  Updates are continually being made to make websites more “user friendly” for your customers.  Freelance Writers are less expensive than web designers and can save you thousands of dollars a month; not to mention time and headaches

2.)    Web content – For a majority of the websites, the content can changed hourly, daily, monthly.  It is a huge time investment.  Many freelance writers can give you updated content specific to your field in a matter of days; sometimes hours.  Many times, freelance writers can provide you with content so you can change website content yourself every few months.

3.)    Proofreading – If all you need is another set of eyes to proofread, a freelancer can be that person.  They can also provide white papers (informational papers on your business), press releases, blog information, tweets promoting your business on twitter, or email auto responder’s to help grow your business. 

 

Delegate in Business

In business, we must be able to delegate things that are time-consuming for us.  If you hate writing, perhaps a freelance writer is right for you.  It is a time-consuming process that some people enjoy. There are many things that must be done daily when running a business; why do the parts you don’t enjoy if you know someone who enjoys them and you can move on to the tasks you do enjoy?

It could be that you feel you have to do all the work or it won’t get done.  Who else is going to do it if you don’t? You have a solo business.  The funny part of such thinking is that you are spending so much time on tasks that are actually wasting your time.  If you do not enjoy a particular task or the task takes more time than infinity, it is a waste of your valuable time.  There are virtual assistants out there, virtual bookkeepers and freelance writers that you can hire once you are comfortable with delegating the task.

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