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The Best Gift To Give A 60 Something Is A Laptop!

The Best Gift To Give A 60 Something Is A Laptop!.

The Step By Step Way: “How Not To Start Writing”

Whether you are writing an article or an eBook or just about anything else, you hope to gain recognition, fame or money for, or perhaps all three, the exact way not to start, is to choose a topic you are interested in!

You may know a great deal about a certain topic, the truth is, that every human being know how to do something really well, so you start feverishly writing your article or eBook, then you pray that it will be read or that it sells really well. Unless you are extremely lucky, It’s not going to happen.

Any person who does this planned to fail dismally. Many eBooks that have all the characteristics of a good seller, have have failed massively, simply because the writer just assumed that other people would surely want to read about their topic. This could be vastly different from what people actually want to read about. Without research to back up your subject, your project is “dead in the water.”

Simply Give People What They Want

If it were that simple, then how come every writer hasn’t written a best seller? Well it is a whole lot harder to do, than all these so called Gurus are claiming it to be. No one is sitting around out there in cyberspace waiting for a chance to throw money at you, I mean logically speaking why isn’t everyone doing it? The real deal is that these Gurus know that much of what they push or peddle, is yesterday’s big thing and minus the bells and whistles stuff, they’ve got nothing significant to sell you but a pocket full of dreams, stuff which probably never worked in the first place.

What I am saying, is that there are ways available online, to sell out dated, incomplete and even useless stuff to prospective buyers. You see, they are selling an idea of something as opposed to selling an actual working product. this is not a new concept and is not unlike the selling of a “salted Mine” or worthless “mine” back in the days of the gold rush. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, I will explain it like this,  all that is needed is to scatter a few grains of gold dust around inside the so called Mine.  Then find a newcomer or newbie, with cash and sell him the idea of gold.

You will most likely end up with trying desperately to mine a useless piece of land, and when you eventually give up, the perpetrator is usually long gone and busy setting up his next victim or fall guy.You will be exceedingly more wise and successful if you write about a subject that people will really want to read about. This sounds so simple, but happens to be so diabolically true. as the hundreds of thousands of writers of articles and books have discovered to their detriment. Here is an example of what I mean. There are millions of people who want to loose, but, what a huge portion of them really want, is a way to look slimmer. That may not be a great example, since I haven’t actually done the research, but you can see what I’m getting at.

How To Research A Topic

Before you decide on your topic, there are two things you will have to do:

1. now what people want to read about and will be prepared to actually pay money for.

2. Know which of those topics you are an expert about, or can research enough to write about.

What Do You Know Most About?

Believe it or not, as I mentioned above, we are all experts at something. To many, the topic would be obvious, but to others, it just may not be that obvious. So then, how do you start?                        Write down everything that you have an interest in, or know a lot about. For me that would be copywriting and sales etc., and some of my hobbies would be knife-making, fishing, swimming and reading.

If you are battling to get started on your list, ask your family members and friends what they can come up with, regarding what they feel you are particularly good at.

It may just surprise you to see what they found. They could even possibly give you some new ideas, like you know how to put a keen cutting edge on knives and scissors, or you really have an inspiring way to motivate people.


Just What Do People Actually Want?

Here now, is the tricky part, how to match up what you can write about, with what people want to read.

In the first place, you need to find out what topics sell. Usually, the how to topics sell. They are the ones that motivate and inspire people to reach a goal. The goal might be to make some money

A popular choice could be, How To Make Money Mastering New Skills or Losing Weight or another improved or better way to do A, B, or C.

Right at the top of your list of tools is Word This great tool has been at the start all of my successful articles and eBooks, because it shows you exactly what people are searching for on Google at any given time. It is a paid for tool but allows you some free initial searches before they expect you to open an account with them. I use their paid for version now, but I started off with the free searches when I started out with my writing career. Needless to say, this is not the only available research tool as you will eventually gain a better understanding of how to fine tune you writing efforts.The information you will be getting from it, will be priceless.

To start with, type only the word “tutorial” into the keyword space bar and do a search. Remember to type the word tutorial only at first. This will give you a wider search result.

Search results of 30,000 daily searches for of the items is good. In actual fact, there will a lot more  than that, but because we are using the free version of  W.T. you only get to see the top 100 results. Now you have a list of topics, that you know for sure, that people want to read. Like I said, Word Tracker is not the silver bullet for writing top class articles and eBooks, but it is an exceedingly better place to start.

You also need to see what the competition for your choice of topics is like, for example, if one of your topics shows 120 daily searches, that is an ample amount of people interested in finding more about your topic. This would be a clear indicator, that an article or eBook is needed.

Next, do a Google search, (not a Word Tracker search) for that same topic, and see what comes up.

What To Check For On A Google Page 

Look at the top of the list of webpages, and in particular, the first ten (top 10). You need to check if any of them are offering an eBook or Pdf. Using an example again, Look at the top of the page just below the search bar, it may reflect a total of thousands or even millions of searches and no books written on the topic. This is good, but I prefer to work with lower figures, say up to 500,000.people searching for the topic globally.

Next, open each one of those top ten websites, one at a time, and see what their overall quality is like and ask yourself, if you could possibly compete with them or not.

Finally, check to see if any of them are:any “.edu” sites among them. if so, do not use that topic, but choose another topic from your list and start writing with confidence. Above all have fun.

Warm regards,

Andre’ Hartslief.

How To Quickly Get Your Story Written in 3 Lessons






Welcome to Lesson 1 Endless Story Ideas! 

In this 3-day course, you’ll generate lots of story ideas that you can use later. And, more importantly, you’ll learn techniques for getting new story ideas whenever you need them.

Today, we’re going to focus on generating ideas for fictional characters. 

Elements of a story

There are three elements that a story needs: a character, a setting, and a conflict.

A piece of writing is not a story unless something happens in it.  If nothing happens, the piece might be a description or an article or a philosophical discourse, but not a story.

In a story, something has to happen.  It happens to someone (a *character*), and it happens somewhere (*a setting*). 

A *conflict* — or problem — is what makes something happen. We’ll talk more about conflict, and why it’s necessary, in tomorrow’s lesson.

How story ideas are born

Authors generally start with one of three elements (character, setting, or conflict) and use the one chosen to come up with the other two.  There’s no right or wrong order to this process.

An idea for a conflict (for example, high school bullying), can lead both to character ideas (Who’s the bully?  What motivates him?  Who are the victims?  How will they respond?) and also to setting ideas (What kind of school do these characters attend?  Where is this school located?  Is it a rough public school, a snooty private one?).

An idea for a setting (for example, a Mississippi cotton plantation just before the Civil War) can lead to conflict ideas (slaves forcibly separated from their children), and character ideas (a pregnant slave willing to risk her life to keep her unborn child).

Or an idea for a character (for example, a woman who is obsessed with neatness) can lead to conflict ideas (In what situation would the character’s obsession with neatness become a problem?  In what situation would she face a mess she couldn’t control?), and setting ideas (the woman’s ultra-organized apartment with its elaborate systems of cabinets, compartments, and labeled containers).

Now, let’s start coming up with some character ideas that you’ll use over the next two days of the course to get ideas for conflict and setting.

5 ways to get character ideas

How do you get ideas for characters?  Here are five different ways.  EACH ONE of these is a gold mine.

***** Method # 1: People-watch. ***** 

Observe people who pass you on the street; go to a mall or a café and watch the people around you. Look at how they dress and present themselves, their facial expressions, their gestures, how they move, how they interact with each other. Try to imagine their lives. 

Watch people in line at the supermarket — listen to their conversations, pay attention to what they’re buying.  Do they live by themselves or with children?  Do they have pets?  Do they cook a lot, or do they keep precooked food in their freezers?  Are they planning a party?  Or, are they possibly drinking too much alone?

Every one of these people can become a fictional character in your stories.

***** Method # 2: Get ideas from the newspaper. ***** 

Newspapers are a rich source of character ideas. 

When you read about ordinary people in extraordinary situations, try to imagine the people behind the headlines.  What might have caused a particular woman to shoot her husband?  What kind of person might she be, and what might her husband have been like?  

The people you imagine are likely to be very different from the real people involved in the news item.  That’s fine.  They’re fictional characters that you have invented.  Now you can use them however you like in your stories.

Wedding announcements and obituaries are another great place to look for character ideas.  Use your imagination to fill in the blank space around the information the newspaper reports.

***** Method # 3: Get ideas from names. ***** 

A name triggers a complex set of associations, based on its sound and the way it looks on a page, based also on the people we have known or heard of with that name or similar names. 

Take a moment to picture a woman named Gertrude, a woman named Donna, a woman named Veronique.  What images do these names bring to mind?  I imagine three very different women.

The name Gertrude makes me think of a sixty-year-old woman with graying chin-length hair pushed back behind her ears.  She wears no makeup and has deep lines along the sides of her mouth.  She is tall and lean — she takes long walks every day, and she has a swift, determined stride as if she’s always on her way to solve an urgent problem.

Your Gertrude is probably completely different from mine.  That’s great.

Whenever you need character ideas, write down three names.  Choose the names at random from a phone book or another directory, or just write down the first three names that occur to you.

Try to picture a person with each of the names you’ve chosen.  Take notes on what you imagine.  You’ve just come up with the seeds of three characters! 

***** Method # 4: Mix and match. ***** 

Often, writers base characters on real people they know.  That sometimes works well, but in other cases, it can be limiting.  It can be hard to stop thinking of the real person and imagine the character separately.

Here’s a different method to try: create a character that mixes aspects of several people you know. 

For example, you might invent a character who is partly based on your father, partly based on one of your high school teachers, and partly based on your boss at work.  Or, you might base a character on your father, but make that character a woman.  You could base the character’s physical appearance on a waitress you saw at a restaurant. 

The result of each combination will be a character who shares similarities with all of these people but, at the same time, is different from all of them, unique. 

***** Method # 5: Turn characters into more characters. *****

Each character you create can be the seed of more character ideas. 

Who is in your character’s family?  What are your character’s parents like?  Who is your character’s best friend?  Who is your character’s enemy?  What kind of person gets on your character’s nerves?  What kind of person attracts your character romantically or feels attracted by your character?

Brainstorm on questions like these, then develop the answers into new characters.   

How to develop a character

Once you have an idea for a character, you can start developing the character by imagining more aspects of this person and his or her life.

Here’s a questionnaire that you can use to create character profiles.  Feel free to change any of the questions or add new ones:

– What’s the character’s occupation?

– What’s the character’s family like?

– Is the character in a relationship?  What’s his or her partner like?

– What is the character’s home like?  His or her neighborhood?

– Does your character have hobbies? What does he or she enjoy doing?

– What are your character’s greatest strengths?

– What are his or her greatest weaknesses?

– What is his/her deepest desire?

– What is his/her greatest fear?

– What is something this character desperately wants to change about himself or herself?

– What is something this character doesn’t know about himself or herself?

Most of this information will not actually go into your stories, but it will help you to flesh out the characters in your own mind so that you can write about them in a convincing way.

Your answers to these questions can also become an endless source of story ideas. I will show you how that works in tomorrow’s lesson.


1) Start your Idea Journal.  This is simply a place where you save your creative writing ideas so that you can come back to them later.  Your Idea Journal doesn’t have to be in any special format.  It might simply be a file on your computer, or you might prefer to use a blank book or notebook.  If you’re already keeping a writer’s journal, you can do the Idea Journal exercises there.

2) Try at least *two* of the five methods we’ve discussed to get character ideas for your Idea Journal.  Come up with ideas for at least *three* characters.  Use the Character Questionnaire to write character profiles for all three of these characters.


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A Mid Life Crisis

I have been approaching midlife for several years now; so naturally, it only follows that I have been approaching midlife crisis as well. Last week, midlife crisis and I collided head-on.

I don’t know whether it’s worse to approach midlife crisis as a single male with no dependents (as am I) or as a married father with three young daughters (as is Tom, my former college roommate). Tom loves his family with all his heart. But he tells me that watching all three daughters reaching puberty at the same time is like watching a tremendous left-hook coming at you in slow motion – with absolutely nothing you can do about it. (Wait till they reach college-age, Tom!) Nonetheless, my experience last week transcends all that.

I was visiting the campus of my alma mater, the American University (AU), in Washington, D.C. I hadn’t been there in several years, and I must admit, I was easily lost amid the ivory towers and massive parking lots. So while I was at the campus store to buy some T-shirts, I asked the cashier to where they had moved the college of business. I wanted to drop off a note to my old Business Law professor, Mr. Brenner. I wasn’t a business or law major, but I took Business Law anyway. I forgot why. Anyway, the only thing that I remember about Business Law is that Sonny Jurgenson is the best quarterback in the history of the Washington Redskins. (We talked a lot about football during Business Law.)
Actually, all these years later, I do remember a lot about business law; Definition of fraud: “Intentional misrepresentation of a material fact, leading a person to suffer as a result.” And the legal components of a contract…. (too much detail, huh?)
Anyway, Mr. Brenner was terrific!

The student behind me in line offered to show me where the college was now located. So out the door we went: me and Chris, my new campus escort. While walking across campus, I told her that I had been a student at AU many years ago. She asked when, and, being somewhat self-conscious about how long ago it actually was, I told her that I had been a freshman at AU “Oh, back in the fall of ’32 or ’33 – I’m not sure – it was the year of the drought.”

She nodded her head, understandingly. She believed me! Ouch – one heavy blow to the heart.

No, I told her, it was the tail end of the Vietnam War. Her eyes lit up; she said, “Oh yeah? Tell me about it!” Now, I love my old college stories, so I eagerly relived for her the days of the riots and demonstrations. I attended some, but I never organized any. I never smoked pot, nor did I ever inhale. (Hey, I’m trying to maintain my political viability here.) I told her about the demonstrations down at DuPont Circle and right up the street at the edge of campus. “Pigs off campus! Pigs off campus!” we yelled – as if we actually had any control over what the police would do. I worked for WAMU, the student-run, campus radio station. We issued all our staff members tear gas masks so that we could continue to report the news no matter how bad it got. We looked real strange walking across the campus with our books in one hand and our tear gas mask in the other. Come to think of it, I remember the tear gas masks, but I don’t remember the books.

As I looked across at her, she was clinging to my every word! I was on a roll, and nothing could stop me now. I told her about the all-night vigils at the Washington monument, and the endless petition drives before, during, and after each class. It was exhilarating!

All of the sudden, I looked at her eyes, lost in fascination and bewilderment, and I realized that I wasn’t telling her “what I did for summer vacation”; I wasn’t describing some ordinary personal episode of my life. I was telling her about… history. She exclaimed, “Oh wow! I had heard about some of that, but I was only three years old at the time.”

Ouch – one more painful blow.

This polite, mature, seemingly adult contemporary, every bit as tall as I was, was telling me that she was still in diapers while I was attending college. Can this be true? Is anyone walking around a college campus really that young? Grinding salt into the wound, she said, “I think my parents were around then, but I guess they’re not old enough to remember much about it.”

Ouch – that was the final blow.

“Gee, this has been great fun, Chris, but come to think of it, Mr. Brenner is probably dead and buried by now. I think I’ll just head on back to the nursing home where I belong.”

When I got back home, I looked in the mirror and noticed a whole patch of gray hair that I swear hadn’t been there that morning. I decided that I’d finally reached the stage in my life when it was futile to try to pluck them out one by one anymore.
Midlife crisis had overtaken me.

Easier Invitations Mean More Followers and Blog Contributors

Easier Invitations Mean More Followers and Blog Contributors.

This is so utterly descriptive and iconic of hands.

How to Write Magnetic Headlines


Your headline is the first, and perhaps only, impression
you make on a prospective reader. Without a compelling
promise that turns a browser into a reader, the rest
of your words may as well not even exist.
So, from a copywriting and content marketing standpoint,
writing great headlines is a critical skill.
 Here are some interesting statistics.
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy,
but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the 
secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly
determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.

Remember, every element of compelling copy has just one
purpose to get the next sentence read. And then the
sentence after that, and so on, all the way down to your
call to action. So it’s fairly obvious that if people
stop at the headline, you’re already dead in the water.

The better your headline, the better your odds of
 beating the averages and getting what you’ve written
read by a larger percentage of people.
This 11-part series will provide you with concrete
guidance that’ll have you writing better headlines in
no time.Read on...

New Theme: Twenty Ten

New Theme: Twenty Ten.

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