I have been involved in online writing about eight months. I also manage two blogs. I also have a full time job. When I fell into online writing, I thought I had discovered life on a new planet. I had wanted to write for a long time. Here was a venue. I didn't want to write a thick book manuscript and risk rejection from publishers. To be totally transparent though, I would like to do that some day. I could learn writing skills online. Plus, the concept of passive income appealed to me as I am approaching retirement.
After about twelve articles submitted and published on some online sites, I discovered that my intellectual well was not as deep as I thought. I found myself running out of ideas. Actually, it was not lack of material, but rather lack of writer's discipline that would keep the creative juices going. How did I figure this out? I went to sites like InfoBarrel and read articles about dry wells and encouragement. To be honest, money is not rolling in yet but I am having a blast writing and having people respond to what I write. One goal I don't have down pat yet is the number of articles I would like to write in a given time. However my productivity is improving. Here is what I have learned and how it's working for me.
I have established two writing times. I commit a minimum of one hour a day, five days a week to writing something. On my days off and weekends, I block off several hours in a day to write. I may reflect on ideas, work on drafts, or organize material. Sometimes, I have several articles going at once. Occassionally, I will give my mind a rest and skip a day.
I carry a small notebook wherever I go. I jot down ideas and do some writing when opportunities present themselves. I tried to trust my memory but painfully discovered that for the life of me, I could not remember the idea for that fantastic article that I had thought of two hours previously. Additionally, the quickly jotted note on a tissue, piece of newspaper or paper napkin usually was lost.
I have a computer file for each site I write for, and subfolders for ideas, titles and topics. It's all backed up. I have used two online word processing sites, Google Docs and Zoho. Both have lots of good features. There are others but these are the two I use. I rotate between Word and these sites in order to keep the typing fresh for me. I like variety. Sometimes, after writing on one of these sites, I will copy and paste the material in a Word document so I can easily access it offline. If I am going to travel, I may copy from Word to one of these. I can always access it if there is a computer with internet access nearby. It frees me from having to carry mine around.
I read forum discussions and articles by people who are writing well for online sites. I am looking at their styles, their tags, their article structure, and taking their suggestions to heart. These articles are not only full of tips, tricks and insights, they are encouraging. I am starting to comment on their articles and network with other writers.
I'm one of the new kids on the block with lots to learn. Who knows, I my first earnings pay check may come sooner than I think.