Sure, if you want to engage your audience, it helps if you’ve got the mechanics of writing down. For example, as discussed in Write Engagingly 101, spacing, punctuation and having a strong opinion make your articles more readable. And since ease of reading relates to how engaging text is – you need the former for the latter – that’s important. Similarly, as covered in Write Engagingly 202, storytelling, senses and similes will engage your reader on different levels and draw them in. And let’s not forget about the importance of experimentation.
At the same time, you can use all those strategies and still have a text or story that falls flat on its face. Equally, you could use none of them and have a story draw your audience in like a whirlpool of emotional intent.
That’s because of the element I’d like to talk about in this specific entry of the series. With it, you’re going to be able to connect with and move your reader. Without it, your texts and stories will always remain mediocre and unmemorable.
Continue reading Write Engagingly 303: The Secret Sauce
Anybody that’s traveled for a while knows the feeling. You arrive at some stunning location that should have you slack-jawed in wonder and you find it barely moves you. You meet yet another fascinating person with great stories to tell, but you can’t muster the interest. You feel lonely in a bar full of friendly people who are just dying for a conversation.
You get somewhere new and all you can think about is the place and the people you left behind.
Continue reading Lonely in Paradise
On the road you see some beautiful places, but really it’s the people you meet and the stories they tell that really stay with you. I thought I would immortalize some of the best ones I come across here on VagabondWriters.com. We’ll begin with Phil Buck, who I met in La Paz, Bolivia, where he is building a reed boat and plans to sail it from Chile to Australia.
“I wasn’t going to climb that mountain in Nicaragua,” Phil tells me, “But then I found this guy who specialized in landmine removal and he said he could take me to the top. He still had all his fingers and his toes, so I followed him. He set out a route with red flags but I still made sure I put every foot where he’d placed his. Man, that was scary.”
Continue reading Road Interview: Phil Buck, Professional Adventurer
I hope you’re ready for the second installment of my write engagingly series. I thought long and hard what I should write about in this one. And though I’m blowing my own horn by saying so, it’s a humdinger!
And yes, you’re absolutely right. In my write engagingly 101 article, I did say you should avoid the exclamation mark. I was just making sure you were paying attention.
A gold star if you picked up on that.
Do note that I wasn’t implying you should never use it. That would be overkill. Instead, I meant that it should set off warning bells (or perhaps exclamation marks) in your head when you do hit that key.
Continue reading Write Engagingly 202: Storytelling, Senses and Similes
It’s hard to be working on projects while you’re folded up around your laptop on a 24 hour bus ride without a wifi signal. Similarly, you’re going to struggle to work when one eye is watching your bags and the other is scanning when your plane boards. For that reason when you freelance abroad, you’ve got to stop and go.
The question is: Where can you go to stop a while?
For if you just pick at random chances are you’re going to end up in some horrible dingy motel without any windows. The veteran travelers know the kind of place I’m talking about. Those locales where the internet is even flakier than the paint on the walls. The kind of places where it is a running question if you’ll manage to finish your article before the bedbugs have finished with you. (When I’m in one of these places, I always worry all they’ll find of me after a night is a mummified husk).
Of course, you can follow the suggestions of other travelers. Sometimes they’ll point you true. The thing is, they don’t freelance abroad. Instead, they are therefore focused on completely different things like hikes and adventure. And so, they often steer you wrong despite their best intentions.
Continue reading Freelance Abroad From Sucre, Bolivia
If you can’t write engagingly then it doesn’t matter how many words you can produce in a sitting. Nobody is going to sit down to read them. And what’s the point of spilling ink, be it on a story or to reflect on your existence, when nobody cares about the blotches you made? You might as well just throw it at the wall for all the good it will do. Modern art museums are dotted with canvases of a similar ilk.
If modern art is not the path you want to walk, however, and the goal is to write a book or launch a freelance writing career then you’re left with a question. What does it actually mean to ‘write engagingly’? It’s a bit like saying you should paint beautifully, or smile endearingly.
How do you do that?
Continue reading Write Engagingly 101: Simple Techniques You Can Apply Immediately
Sometimes you meet them on the road – the anal retentive travelers. These are the people so obsessed with schedules and making sure they see everything that they spend more time charging around than actually looking. They dash around to make sure they see every sight and get home more tired than they left.
I don’t blame them. Some people need that kind of thing. They’ve got to be in control and a schedule worked out to the minute makes them feel that way. It’s great that they found enough reasons to travel in the first place.
Still, I would never want to be (with) one of them. For their way of travel is no way to travel. Of course, this is particularly true when you’re freelancing from the road as you need time for your work. But even if you’re just traveling without a worry in the world, slow travel is absolutely the way to go. That’s how you find happiness
Why? Read on.
Continue reading 7 Reasons Why Slow Travel is Good Travel
If you’re already regularly reaching out to help those less fortunate than yourself around the world, then this article probably isn’t for you. If you already give to charities and donates your time and effort to those less fortunate half a world away, then good for you, but this article might not help you much.
This article isn’t aimed at the converted.
Continue reading How to Really Keep the Immigrants Out
Two things together form the holy grail of writing: Writing better and being able to write more when you do write. In a seperate article I’ve handled writing better (and expanded on it here and here), while yet another post covers making your words fly. Today I’m going to focus my attention on writing more, as in the last year, as I’ve launched my freelance writing career I’ve made some very big strides in my productivity.
I remember how it used to be.
I would struggle to get more than a few hundred words down a day in the beginning. On most days, the first book I wrote was trench warfare. It was a war of attrition with me against the written word. Every battle was hard fought. On those I came out victorious I would be able to add just a few inches of territory, while those where I lost I ended up deleting whole stretches of text in self-disgust.
I’m sure we’ve all been there; your inner critic like a hard wall against which you repeatedly have to bang your head.
Continue reading Want to Write More? Here Are My 5 Secrets.
One of the big dangers when you’re out and about in foreign countries, with all your belongings packed into two bags, is that somebody decides to take what is yours. That can put a real crick in your holidays and your travels.
This is particularly true if, like me, you live on the road and freelance from the world’s corners. As then your livelihood, as your work depends on having your gear. Losing it means a double whammy of replacing it and not being able to work while you do so. And that’s a hard thing to survive, no matter how many of the characteristics of a successful traveling freelancer you have!
For that reason, over the years I’ve learned a number of strategies how not to get robbed. I thought I’d share a few with you.
Continue reading How Not to Get Robbed While Abroad