The acai palm tree grows the acai berry, so famous for diet supplements and energy drinks. Could the Acai Berry Diet Fad Help Save the Amazon Rainforest? presents the tree behind the berry.
In a shortened work day, I began a very specific quest for perfection...or, at least, for improvement.Suite 101 had been adversely affected by Google's Panda update in late February. They just published new guidelines for articles.
Perhaps thanks in part to an opinion I expressed, any article may have no more than three explicit links to other Suite 101 articles. The draft suggestion had whittled this down to two links. My argument was that even a chain of articles needs a "first", "previous" and "next" pointer. Otherwise a reader has to work too hard to find the start.
My actual concern was that I had written a mesh of articles about Mennonites. One reason is that Suite 101 has a category for Mennonites, and it had been achingly empty. Another reason is that I wanted to cash in on the January and July furniture hunting opportunities. Can we spell "Amish Furniture", boys and girls?
Based on the guidelines and suggestions available back in December 2010, I had written articles about Mennonites with many internal links. Besides first, previous and next links, I had cross-links among history, beliefs and products.
I agree with the theory that articles should not shamelessly self-promote the author. They should also stay relevant to the reader's intention as indicated by the search result.
On the other hand, it is quite a bit of work to decide how to reduce my inter-linking. The biggest problem comes in the introductory articles where I wanted to give my readers a chance to jump to their specific point of interest.
Having fixed some easy articles, I then tackled the worst offender. I think I shall leave the second-worst alone for now, and see whether an editor flags it.
As I note in my recent DeHaan Directory post on "expanded projects", any fixed-price project needs to deal with changes in scope. My recent experience with one client provides an example that ghost-writers may face.
My client had asked for work on a small book. Later he asked for a new chapter, beyond the changes we originally discussed. I allowed that to slide along.
Then he asked for the new chapter to be spun off as a separate article. Again, I agreed, because the chapter already was fairly self-contained.
When he asked me to re-work the article, in order to convey a different perspective entirely, I pointed out that we were experiencing "scope creep" and asked how the payment would square with the work.
The good thing is that he agreed with my analysis and offered extra pay. The unfortunate thing is that we should have preemptively dealt with this issue in the original contract.
The business TIP: Agree on how to deal with changes before they are requested. Ensure that it will be fair to both parties.
Yesterday I mentioned the need for patience while waiting for articles to be vetted by editors.
Today my patience was rewarded by having "Can Taking a Vitamin D Supplement Help Prevent Breast Cancer?" edited and published on Suite 101.
I researched and wrote that article because a sister-in-law is a patient, undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She had e-mailed me last week, surprised that her doctor had not discussed Vitamin D as a possible risk reducer for breast cancer.
A medical note: I suspect the reason why doctors don't publicize the use of Vitamin D in avoiding breast cancer is that there is no perfect dosage. The study in favour of Vitamin D came up recommended a blood concentration level. The USA National Institutes of Health recommend a lower level to avoid other health risks. Neither can speak to recommended daily doses, because that ties in with diet and exposure to sunshine.
The big deal: read "Can Taking a Vitamin D Supplement Help Prevent Breast Cancer?" so you know what to discuss with your doctor.
The writing TIP: take what life sends you, do the research and write it up.
This past weekend, I wrote and submitted an article to Environmental Graffiti (EG) and another to Suite 101.EG has always deferred publishing, pending an editor's approval.
In response to the Feb. 24 change in Google's search algorithm (called "farmer" or "Panda"...don't ask here; research it yourself), Suite 101 also decided to insert an editor into the process. I applaud the intention to improve quality, but I do notice that I am anxiously waiting for news.
Will my article be published without flags? Will it be bounced back for revisions?
When any article is published, my next step is to publicize it at social bookmark sites and, of course, in my blogs. I find myself inhibited from getting on with other work until this is resolved.
Patience is a virtue.
Possess it if you can.
Seldom found in woman.
And never found in man.
Thank you to the anonymous author of the above poem.
'Image of Large Periwinkle (Vinca major)' by Franco Folini
Now Published: My Periwinkle Flower Article
Much to my joy, The Periwinkle: A Welcome Invasive Plant has been published this afternoon.
Although rightly called an "invasive" plant, the Periwinkle was politely introduced to North America by European settlers. Was it the blue flower? The excellent evergreen ground cover? Or the mystic powers the Periwinkle plant was believed to possess?
The only way to know is to read my article.
News from Squidoo
Much to my surprise, my Squidoo dashboard says that I have "an estimated $0.52 in your Reserve Hopper".
I have had so few visits, I cannot imagine that anyone has done anything to earn me a dividend.
Presumably someone bought something via an Amazon link...or perhaps clicked on some other advertisement.
"Whoo-hoo and ca-ching", he said in a tone dripping with irony. On the other hand, maybe I should start making new Lenses to push the new articles that have not yet been published.
Thomas Alva Edison is reputed to have said that "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration". This blog is about "results" rather than "genius", in the field of writing...but the quote still applies.
The inspiration side of writing is fairly easy. I get ideas from news items and from e-mails from friends. I make a point of asking myself "Could this turn into a useful article in Suite 101? Could I blog about that feeling? Would Environmental Graffiti readers enjoy learning about the ecological side of that plant or animal"?
Sometimes the perspiration side is not too difficult. Chase down "commercial re-use" images: check. Find two or three reliable sources of information: not usually a problem.
But trying to spin a ghost-writing article for a client can be difficult, especially if we are spinning in different directions.
At those times, I remind myself that this is why it is called "work"...and why clients pay.
Is Orlistat effective and safe? Whether known as "alli weight loss capsules" or "Xenical", Orlistat had good case studies but comes with health and safety concerns. My new Suite 101 article, Are Orlistat Weight Loss Capsules Effective and Safe?, addresses four important questions about this popular diet medication.
Fat Pork is not in the Orlistat Diet Plan; Photo by linh.ngâ
My favourite photo from the article!
I finally felt that I had some breathing room to research, draft and publish another freelance article in Suite 101. That was five hours of research, drafting, and finally putting it out there.
As always, I will wait a day before publicizing it. Come back tomorrow for the link. That should also give the editors a few hours to read and suggest improvements. In part, it was an experiment in keyword usage in a very crowded field.
As well, Suite 101 has been working hard to make improvements to the editorial process. With rules and procedures in transition, I want to see how my style gets along...or not...within the evolving structure.
As I finish this task, however, I remember that I still have to apply one client's changes to at least two articles. I need to check whether another client has sent any updates. Plus, I just thought of an approach to a WordPress puzzle for a third client. Busy times are good times.
I have been writing a set of articles for one client's web site. The subject matter is interesting, but it was tricky to find a way to convey the information...especially in multiple-article sets.
One approach that worked was to build a pattern in one article, then follow that template for the next. It was legitimate because the four articles had to explain the four steps of a process. The natural progression was to do "A", then "B", "C" and finally "D" to each object that the person would find.
Writing Tip: If there is a pattern in the subject matter, then use that pattern in writing.
Counter-Tip: Do not follow a pattern if the subject matter does not.
I had ignored this blog for a few days, mainly because I had somewhat of a writer's block about one client's articles.
The amusing TIP is to just start writing. At least for me, it turned out to be the kick-start I needed.
On the other hand, those articles had required a fair bit of research, as well as a theme or approach. So perhaps I could just as easily claim that the spark of "genius", or at least "creativity", cannot be rushed.
Since I prefer to think of myself as pro-active, I will claim that I should simply have started writing sooner.
On another topic, my Experimental Blog here on Weebly has yet another discovery. It came from simply slogging along, noticing a feature, trying it out and noticing something interesting.
Can this become useful? Time alone will tell.