As many have discovered - and many more are learning each day - InfoBarrel is an amazing opportunity to share your knowledge, earn passive income for your writing, and participate in the great exchange of information and ideas that is the internet.  Signing up, uploading your avatar, and exploring the articles that others have written is exceedingly easy.  You arrive at the first bump in the road when you sit down to draft your first article.  What should you write about?  What would others find interesting?  What hasn't been done before?  And once you've written it, what will InfoBarrel make of it?  

If this is where you find yourself, rest assured, you're in good company.  It has taken me nearly a week of reflection, consideration, and conquering self doubt and indecision to sit down and write this article.  So, without further adieu, here are five tips on writing your first article for InfoBarrel, straight from a fellow writer who understands the difficulties - because he's in the middle of writing his first!

1. Write From Your Passions

Write about the things for which you yourself are passionate.  What do you think about when you first wake up, or as you're lying down to go to sleep?   Odds are, if it's interesting enough to captivate your attention, many others out there are interested in the same thing.  Consider the online fora you frequent, the niche blogs that you read, the clubs or societies that you've joined.   What sort of advice would you give to someone who's just stumbled upon that community?  What topics would interest someone who is also a part of that community?  What important things should people outside those circles know about them?  When you write about the things that genuinely interest you, your enthusiasm can't help but be infectious. 

2. Don't Get Hung Up On the Details

Each of us wears two hats when we write something: a creator's hat and an editor's hat.  Both are equally important, but it's easy to become so fixated on one that you forget the other even exists.  Spend too much time with the creator's hat on your brow, and you'll write a lot but never quite come up with a polished article ready to go live.  Wear the editor's hat a bit too long - my habitual poison - and you'll barely string together a line's worth of words before you're slamming your finger on the backspace key.

3. Look For What Isn't There

Looking through InfoBarrel's archives can serve a number of purposes for a beginning writer.  They'll provide examples of the style of writing that readers will expect.  The topics that others have covered will give you an idea of the sorts of information people look for here.  An article you encounter might spark an idea for a follow-up or complementary article that takes the discussion to another level.  And, most importantly, you might notice a void in the coverage of articles - one that is crying out to be filled.

4. Give Them What They Want

If you're writing about the things you're passionate about, you already know a great deal about your audience - their needs, their desires.  Identify what they want, then give it to them.  In doing this, remember that writing is a solitary art with a social aim.  While the act itself might give you pleasure, its ultimate purpose is to serve as a kind of communication.  In truth, it is one of the greatest forms of communication the world has ever known.  What other medium allows you to discover the words of an author who lived hundreds of years ago, who passed away long before you were even born?  What other method allows you to compose a single message that may be received by an audience you've never met, in places you've never been, from times you may never know?  Your writing can bridge gaps in time and space so vast that you'd need a degree in theoretical physics to fully envision them.  But it's always the writer who has to extend the first hand.  And if you're handing something they want, odds are your audience will take it.

5. Remember to Have Fun

Ultimately, writing your first article on InfoBarrel should be both challenging AND fun.  Doing something new is always a little scary...but it's exhilerating, too.  And just as your readers will feel your enthusiasm for the topics you write about, if you're having fun writing it, odds are they'll have fun reading it right along with you.  If they're having fun, you know they'll be back for your next article.  (And if you're having fun, you know it won't be long before you write it!)

It's a safe bet that it won't be long for me.  And if you want in on the fun, don't forget to sign up on InfoBarrel today!