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Writing for the web – 3 tips about presentation

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I’ve been writing for the web for many years both for work and on my theatre blog, making some of the common mistakes along the way.

But I’ve learned from those mistakes and I wanted to share some of the tips I’ve picked up.

My first three bits of advice don’t actually relate to what you write but how your content is presented.

If your carefully crafted words aren’t easy to read then it will put people off reading them.

And, there are also very good SEO reasons for making sure your content is presented well.

1. Mobile-friendly

Remember that people could be reading your blog post or website content on a phone or tablet, not just a laptop or desktop.

Current trends show that the number of web searches on mobile devices is rising and, depending on which stats you look at, has overtaken laptops and desktops.

So it’s important to check how your content looks and reads on all devices and make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Continue reading “Writing for the web – 3 tips about presentation”

New Year’s resolutions

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I’ve never been one for setting New Year resolutions which limit or restrict, instead, I’d rather draw up a list of things I want to do more of – spending time with friends, for example.

This is my first New Year in business so the temptation is to come up with a huge list of goals but one thing I’ve learned in the past seven months is that it is something that needs to be reviewed regularly.

I started using a Trello board for keeping tabs on ideas and leads which I’m constantly updating and adding to.

In those moments when things feel like they aren’t moving the way I want, I’ll scan through to see where I’ve come from, what I’ve already achieved and take inspiration from the ideas and leads.

So this (short) list is part resolution, part well-being reminder and part motivator, all of which will no doubt have wider benefits.

1. Blog regularly on my website

This isn’t purely because it’s good for profile and SEO but because I really enjoy writing, which is why it is a big part of my work. Continue reading “New Year’s resolutions”

Fledgeling freelancer – reflections on the first months of self-employment

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When I left my journalism job of 20 years in March all I had was a bunch of ideas and a financial cushion which meant I didn’t need to worry about the mortgage for a while.

I didn’t know whether I wanted another full-time job or to freelance – and freelance as what?

What I did know is that I wanted new challenges.

Friends told me to take my time, try stuff out and see where it led.

What does ‘exploring options’ mean?

You hear people saying they spent time ‘exploring options’ but I never really understood what that meant in practice.

However, I found that my days quickly filled up meeting contacts and former colleagues, researching, reading and going on courses to enhance my existing skills and learn some new ones.

Continue reading “Fledgeling freelancer – reflections on the first months of self-employment”

Overcoming writer’s block

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Search Engine Journal has produced a really useful list of techniques for overcoming the inevitable writer’s block.

It can be agonising when you just can’t find the words and an occupational hazard for anyone who has to write.

I’m definitely an advocate of a change of scene, sometimes just switching from desk to sofa can help me or I’ll head out to a café – I wonder if a short stroll in fresh air is part of the reason why that works?

Also researching around the topic can sometimes reveal an unexpected inroad into a subject.

And then there is the looming deadline. I know a lot of journalists who need the pressure of time to get fingertips tapping the keyboard.

Do you have a tried and tested technique for overcoming writer’s block or just to get you past prevarication?

Health advice from 1890 that is still pertinent today

IMG_3875At the launch of Stride Treglown’s 10 Essays To Shape Future Places yesterday Duncan Cadbury, chair of the Bournville Village Trust, gave out a copy of George Cadbury’s ‘Suggested Rules of Health’ dating from circa 1890.

Among the often sage and surprisingly timeless advice, it contained this pearl of wisdom:

“Anger and worry will wear you out much more rapidly than hard work. Cultivate a cheerful and thankful spirit.”

It was really interesting to hear Duncan and Iain Tuckett, chief executive of Coin Street Community Builders talking about creating sustainable and viable communities and I’m proud to have had a small role working on this thought-provoking book.

Continue reading “Health advice from 1890 that is still pertinent today”