Just Write: A College Degree is Not Required to Have A Successful Career in Writing

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. This post reflects my honest opinion or suggestions about the products that I mention. I own or have used most of the products mentioned.

 
I visited a writing forum and one of the members said something that concerned me: She said that she wished that she had went to school to learn how to write. She had received several harsh and negative comments and criticism on her writing skills.

 
Well, my stance on her sentiment is that you don’t need to go to college and earn a degree in writing in order to master the craft of writing. If she continues on her present path, then she will eventually improve her writing skills, without investing thousands of dollars into a potentially worthless college degree.

 
People have a misconception that a formal education is required in order to become a professional writer. A formal education where the writer has receive extensive training in writing is very helpful, but it is definitely not requisite. There is no such thing as perfection in writing. What is required most is competence and an audience.

 

How to improve your writing:

Get started with writing. Purchase some pens and a couple of durable wire bound notebooks and just start free writing anything that comes to your mind. Even if your writing does not make sense in the beginning, that’s fine. The idea is to get something down on paper in rough draft form. You can always go back and build upon your original ideas and then revise and edit as needed.

 
Keep writing. Set aside a time during the day, specifically for the purpose of writing. Do it at a time when you are well rested and have some peace and quiet. I find that I am the most creative when I wake up in the morning. So, I freshen up and have a cup of coffee and sit down with notebook and jot down my ideas. Sometimes my initial ideas are very fragmented and written in stream-of-consciousness style. I do this for a few hours every day.

 
Set a writing goal. Determine what your objectives are. What type of writing are you most interested in? How long do you want your pieces to be? My personal goal is to write at least 1000 words per day for either my blogs or other writing platforms.

 
Edit and Proofread. Keep a dictionary and thesaurus handy as you write. There are free resources available on the internet to help you check for misspellings, word contexts and synonyms. When you are ready, type up your writings into word processing software. Don’t forget to use the spellchecking features of any word processing software that you use. You should also proofread your writing to ensure that it makes sense and properly conveys your message. Have a friend or colleague proofread your writing. Another person may catch the mistakes that you overlook.

 
Read other authors’ works. This will give you inspiration and ideas on what to write about. You don’t want to simply mimic other people’s writings, as this is plagiarism. Read from the perspective of learning what you can take from their writings, to help you develop your own voice and style of writing. Reading will also help you to improve your vocabulary and expand your knowledge.

 
Join a writing group or take writing workshops or webinars. The leader and members of the group will give your writing constructive criticism and feedback. Successful and published authors may attend writing workshops and can provide valuable insights and tips into the world of publishing and writing. This is also an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and professionals.

 
Use style guides. These are reference books which provide guidelines on the acceptable grammar usage, syntax, format, citation and styles of writing in different genres. The type of style guide that you need will depend on the type of writing that you pursue. Many style guides are revised annually. Each publishing company or organization has its own standard and rules for editing and writing. Webmasters make their rules available for internet copy writers and editors to familiarize themselves with them.

Free writing resources available on the internet:

www.dictionary.com
www.thesaurus.com

Grammar Girl

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl

Infoplease

http://www.infoplease.com/homework/writingskills1.html

Writersdigest

http://www.writersdigest.com/

 

Examples of Style Guides:


The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition: This is a well-known, concise, general writing guide. It can be purchased on Amazon.com or read for free over the internet at Bartelby.com.

 

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
:
It is a reference manual used in social sciences, humanities, and general writing.

 

The Associated Press Stylebook 2013 (Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law)
:
The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law is produced by the Associated Press and is used mainly in journalism and public relations.

 

You can read a free, truncated version of the AP Stylebook here:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/735/02/

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition
:The American Psychological Style Manual is used mainly for social science research paper writing.

 

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition
: This reference is geared towards writers of academic research papers and scholarly works in the humanities.

 

© Copyright 2014  Susan Broadbelt

Getting Started With Building A Website or Blog-Part 1

Disclaimer/Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through on a link and decide to make a purchase, I may receive a commission.

Choosing A Domain Name and Web Hosting Service

Building a website or a blog is a bit intimidating in the beginning, and there is a learning curve when it comes to this topic. Before your start to build your website there are some things that you will need to take into consideration.

 

You should spend a fair amount of time planning what your website will be about. Another point, It is more effective to stick to a specific theme or a niche rather than jumping all over the place with different or very broad, general topics.

 
For instance, let’s say that you want to create a blog about the martial arts. Unless you hire a staff of writers working in your behalf, you’d probably find that this is an overwhelming subject to tackle. Perhaps, sticking to a more narrow topic, like kung fu techniques and jiu jitsu would be more feasible to work with. Also, choose a niche that you are passionate about and one which is in demand.

 
Also, what will you name your website or blog? The name of your website will be the domain name or web address. Domain names usually end in .com, .net, .org, or .edu. This is what people will need to type in to the web browser to arrive at your website. It will be your “www.whatevernameyouchooseforyourwebsite.com”. I know that is a little long, but you get the drift.

 
You should also choose a domain that is related to the website niche and includes key words for that niche. This will help the website to rank better in the search engines. It also helps if the domain name is easy to spell, easy to remember, and is not too long. You can purchase a domain name fairly cheap at hundreds of different web hosting companies like, Godaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, and DreamHost.

 
After purchasing a domain name, you will need hosting for your website or blog. The website can be hosted for free or it can be self-hosted (paid). I get into some of the differences between these two services in another post. Some web hosting companies offer free domain names with the purchase of web hosting. On average, a domain name costs $15 or less for a year.

 
A web host stores the website or blog on a server (high powered computer that remains connected to the internet 24/7). So you are paying for the space that your website occupies on the server. There are many types of self-hosting service available. For the sake of simplicity I will list the three main services used by new website owners:

 
Shared Hosting: The website is stored on a server along with thousands of other websites. This solution is usually sufficient for small websites with small to moderate amounts of traffic. Shared hosting is the lowest cost hosting service available.

 
Virtual Private Network: This is similar to shared hosting, but is more suited to websites with huge amounts of traffic. A greater level of access to the server is offered to clients. This service costs more than shared hosting.

 
Dedicated Server: Your website (or websites) is stored on its own server. Some people prefer this option, because of concerns about potential malware infection from other websites, which can occur with shared hosting service. These servers are capable of handling massive amounts of traffic. This is much more expensive than the other two services.

 
Shared web hosting is available for as low as $7-9 per month. Some web hosting companies offer billing on a monthly basis. Others offer the option to pay yearly or semi-yearly at a lower cost than the monthly billing option.

 
I purchase my domain names from Godaddy. This blog is hosted with Blue Host hosting service. So far, I haven’t experienced any major technical problems with either company. Both companies have a c-panel dashboard for easy installation of software, like WordPress.

 

I received good customer support with GoDaddy when I first started with blogging.   I can’t speak to the quality of Blue Host’s customer service, since I never had to contact them. Their Knowledge Base was pretty helpful to me when I sought out information on how to set up and transfer hosting.

 
Horror stories are prevalent from people who had problems transferring their domain name and hosting service over to a different company. This happens most frequently when the domain name and web hosting service is purchased from the same company. So, it may be better to order these services from separate companies.

 
Make sure that you do your research and shop around for the best plan to suit your needs. The level of customer service and technical support that you will receive are very important things to consider. Ask for recommendations from other website owners.

© Copyright 2014 Susan Broadbelt

Yes, You Can Make Money on YouTube

I joined YouTube several years ago, but didn’t start making and uploading videos, until 2012. The reason being is that I was afraid of speaking on camera, and was afraid of rejection. I learned to overcome much of my fears and decided to take a chance with it. I am happy that I did, since I have enjoyed the learning experience and interactions.

 

At this point, I do not make enough money on YouTube to have a full-time income, but there are plenty of people who do. Take for instance YouTubbers like, Ray William Johnson, Jenna Marbles, and NiggaHigga. These people have channels that attract millions of subscribers and generate millions of views daily. So, I think that it is pretty safe to assume that the they are earning six figures or better from YouTube. By the way, I use the term “YouTubber”. This is a person that creates and uploads YouTube videos and/or watches videos and actively participates on YouTube.

 

Top Ways That People Earn Money on YouTube:

 

  • The Google AdSense Program: This is an advertising program set up by Google, which allows the video creator to partner with YouTube. Partners can monetize their YouTube channel by allowing ads to be placed on their videos. Sometimes clickable ads are overlaid on the video or appear in the sidebar of the video. Sometimes, instream video ads play before or during the actual YouTube video. Each time that someone views or clicks on the ads, partners earn money in their AdSense account. The amount that partners earn depends on different factors including, the eCPM (effective Cost Per Mil) and CPC (Cost Per Click).

 

  • Affiliate Marketing: You can do a product review or suggest products to your audience. By adding affiliate links to your video (or in the description box), you may earn a commission when someone clicks thru the link and buys the product. Some of the most popular affiliate programs to join are Amazon Associates, Commission Junction, Viglinks, and Click Bank. This money making method works best for people who have a huge amount of viewers on their channel.

 

  • Sponsorships  YouTubbers who have many subscribers, are popular and have influence. Therefore, companies will sometimes approach YouTubbers that they feel are great at generating buzz and promoting products. They will pay these people to feature or mention a product during their video presentation.

 

  • Networks: By partnering with a network, like Machinima or Maker Studios you are paid a certain amount of money per thousand views on YouTube. Some people benefit from joining a network because they get much more exposure and are promoted by the network. If you choose to go this route, be careful as you are required to sign a contract.

 

  • Sell Your Own Products: This may be the best way (most lucrative) to earn money on YouTube. This is because you have a greater control over your earning potential. You create your own product or service to market to your viewers. You direct the viewers back to your own website or platform so that they can buy your products. There is a description box located below the video. A link can be placed in this space to your website. You can also watermark your videos with your own logo or website address. So YouTube videos can function as an excellent, free marketing tool.

 

  • YouTube Paid Subscriptions: YouTube subscribers are required to pay a fee to the channel on to watch videos, which aren’t made available to the general public. Most of the channels are informational and instructional in nature.

 

Now, if you decide to upload videos to YouTube, make sure that you carefully read their policies and terms of service before doing so. You don’t want to end up getting kicked off the website due to unknowingly violating any of their terms. Make sure that you are submitting your own videos and not anyone else’s, to avoid copyright infringement claims and strikes.

 
Don’t expect to make any money right away. It will probably take a good 6- 12 months of consistent, good quality videos in your catalog in order to start seeing any earnings in your Adsense account. The earnings will be minimal in the beginning stages;  perhaps a few pennies here and there. But, in time, as you build up a following and produce more videos, your earnings from Adsense and other related income streams will increase.

© Copyright 2014 Susan Broadbelt

Six Ways to Make Money From Amazon.com

1. Amazon.com is one of the largest online retailers in the world. This company was started in 1994 by Jeff Bezos (and his first employee) from a garage. It grew from such humble beginnings, to earn great trust from consumers and brand recognition. I am an avid shopper of this website and it has certainly gained my trust and admiration! Amazon.com sells products to consumers but it allows regular individuals and companies to sell on the Amazon platform. They take a commission for every sale made through individual sellers. They also offer Amazon FBA, which stands for Fulfilment by Amazon.com.

 
This website is comparable to ebay’s website, but the last time I checked, Amazon.com was considered the largest online retailer in the world. Whenever a customer buys something from a merchant, amazon.com processes the payment and deposits the money into the merchant’s amazon account. The payment can then be transferred by the merchant to a bank account.

 
2. You can earn commissions through the Amazon Associates Program. It is their affilliate program, which basically allows you to earn money by promoting other people’s or company’s products. You would sign up for the program at Amazon.com and once approved you can put your affilliate links on the internet. When a person clicks through your affilliate link and makes a purchase, you are then paid a commission. Their commission starts out very low at only 4%, though.

 
3. Complete Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) at Amazon Mechanical Turks at www.mturk.com. This is a crowd sourcing section of Amazon Web Services, where someone places a request for workers (or Turkers) to perform tasks for a set amount of money determined by the requester. The tasks are usually low-paying, tedious and easy to complete. A human being must be available to complete the tasks, so that the tasks can’t be automated. An example of a task that might be requested on M-turk, is checking for incorrect addresses in an internet listing. Workers are paid after the requester deposits funds which go to the worker’s Amazon payments account.

 
4. Create an e-book and sell it through Kindle Direct Publishing: You can self publish a book on this platform and sell it as a digital downloadable copy for Amazon Kindle e-reader. This is an inexpensive, great route to go for a little known author. The author keeps more of the profits compared to royalities that an author would receive through traditional publishing. You can also sell your e-book through other methods and portals (i.e. Facebook, your own website, etc. ).

 
5. Get your book in print on Create Space: This is a website owned by Amazon, which allows authors to design, print a book on demand and distribute it at a reasonably low cost. It is free to register for this website and there are both free and professional (paid) tools and services available to print a book on demand. Authors earn a royalty when a copy of their book is sold. There are also services available for musicians and film makers to sell products through CreateSpace.

 
5. Set up an A-store: You pick the Amazon products that you want listed in your customized A-store. When a customer purchases a product through the store, you earn a comission. This feature works best when incorporated as part of a niche website, rather than standalone.

 
6. Set up your own e-commerce website using Amazon Web Services for hosting. You will not be paid directly through Amazon.com. It is a platform that allows you to earn money through your own ingenuity, by designing your own website.

 

There are a number of other ways to make money with Amazon.com, but these are the ways that I can think of at this moment. I will post more about this in the future.

© Copyright 2014 Susan Broadbelt

Earn Some Extra Cash Writing For Bubblews

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  If you decided to join this website through the link, I may receive compensation.

I stumbled upon this website in December 2013, while doing Google searches for ways to make extra money online.  It is a revenue sharing website and social blogging platform that allows people to express their thoughts and ideas on just about any topic (within their policy agreement).  Bubblews is open to people in the United States and all over the world.

What are some of The Pros of Using Bubblews?

It has a very user-friendly interface.  You aren’t required to learn any HTML coding or be a professional writer to make money there.  You can write about almost anything that comes to mind, and make money off it.  The website design is very clean and uncluttered.   Most of the other “Bubblers” or people that participate on Bubblews, are cordial and will make helpful suggestions to other users.

Bubblews is a revenue sharing website, meaning that writers are paid some of the advertising revenue generated from Bubblews.   Members are credited a penny for each unique page view to their posts. You are credited a penny whenever someone “likes” a comment or post that you wrote.  You are credited when someone shares one of your posts, too.  Members are permitted to make up to 10 posts per day.

Each post must contain a minimum of 400 characters (not words).   You could easily come up with something to write about as there are no assignments, and the webmasters don’t tell anyone what to post.  Their rules appear fairly straightforward and  simple to follow.

Members can redeem earnings once “The Bank” reaches $50.  The earnings can be redeemed by e-check or PayPal.  I takes about 72 hours to receive an e-mail notification from them that your e-check is on the way.  After that, it takes another 3-5 business days for the e-check to clear in a PayPal account.

It seems that the more posts that you make, the more page views and earnings you make.  Also, the more “Connections” and interactions you make there, the greater your earnings.

The average member making posts occasionally, will make a few pennies or dollars here and there.  Nothing to get excited about.  There are quite a few members who claim to make several hundred dollars per month (or more).  These are very active members, with thousands of connections on Bubblews.  You need to put in a lot of work and remain active in order to reach regular payout thresholds.

What are Some of The Cons of using Bubblews?

Bubblews is glitchy at times.  On many occasions, I have attempted to log on and got a “504 error” or some other message that the website was offline.   You can end up wasting time browsing through the “Notifications Page”.  For example, I am not very fond of the so-and-so ‘commented on your comment” notification.  This notification appears each time that someone comments on a post that you left a comment on.  It is not very clear whether any person even commented on a comment that you made.

Also, there is no control over who is allowed to leave comments on your posts.  In other words, you can’t moderate your posts.  So, anyone can leave offensive remarks on your post and you can’t remove them yourself.  However, you could make a complaint to the staff at Bubblews to have spam and offensive comments removed by sending an e-mail and clicking on the “Flag this” button.   It is rare for people to harass others there, as it is against their policy and could result in account removal.

There is no editorial oversight on Bubblews. So, anything that you write can be submitted instantly.  Although there are members who submit very engaging and informative posts, many of the people writing posts there tend to submit posts which are very dull and uninteresting.  Others submit posts filled with spelling,  grammar and syntax errors.

Another thing is that some of the writers there have complained that either their payments were delayed or that they did not receive some of their payouts.  It is possible that some of these people violated Bubblews terms of service agreement in some way.  Several others whom have run into this issue say that they followed all of the rules to the letter, but still had the problem.   Some people complain that their accounts were deleted for no apparent reason.

I have never had these issues and most of the people who have been using the website for a number of months haven’t had any of those issues, either.   So far, I have been able to cash out once for a little over $50.  I will continue to make posts there and participate unless I start to have the same problems.

Some people “connect” with other members in the hopes that the other members will connect back and start reading their posts.   Many of them have no intention of reading your posts.  It can be annoying when you catch on to this tactic.  I usually stick to reading the posts of members who submit educational or interesting content.

Overall, I really do like Bubblews and I recommend it as a way to earn a few dollars here and there, while having a little fun.  But, remember not to put all your eggs in one basket.  Join today!   www.bubblews.com

 

 

© Copyright 2014  Susan Broadbelt