5 Top Tips for Writers from professional Harriet Hodgson, with commentary

A comment on ezinearticle’s interview with their spotlight author, Harriet Hodgson.

If you are ever going to write something beautiful, useful, or downright interesting then you can sit on your backside for only so long before you actually need to do it.

You can spend ages thinking of the ideas, but never actually put pen to paper, or even finger to keyboard. Yes, that is sadly one of my problems! However a rather wonderful lady who one must say here and now is getting on in years is doing rather well at her writing.

Ok, time to stop patronising her. She wouldn’t like me calling her an old girl and smiling sickly…she is a powerhouse with the brain the size of a planet and does her marketing via Ezinearticles. Harriet is an author and journalist with 27 books in print and hundreds of other articles to her name in print and available digitally (source: Ezinearticles interview 2010).

I just had an email through from ezinearticles who have done an interview with the wonderful Harriet Hodgson, and found out from her what the reasons are that she writes articles and how she goes about it. I have been truly inspired!

So lets get down to it, I am going to quote word for word the bullets that Harriet made in the article, though comments are mine.

When I checked out www.harriethodgson.com one title caught my eye: Alzheimer’s, Finding the Words: A Communication Guide for Those Who Care, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1995 and reprinted in 2002. With my granddad getting worse, I am grateful that someone has taken the time to write about this.

1. "Write about what you know and are passionate about."

Yes indeed.  You see if you don’t write passionately you won’t come across naturally.  Use those superlatives.  Get happy with hype.  A little exaggeration one way or another will actually sound more real.  If you start to listen to what people actually say, then you realise that they spin their own stories so that they will get emotion over in the telling.  If you are passionate you can’t but help be emotional! 

The other thing is, if you write passionately then you won’t have to do quite as much research, which is always a good thing.  Take this post, I know what I am talking about so I don’t need to do any more then say how much I agree with Harriet Hodgson, and why!  

Overcoming writers block

2. “Just write! Sometimes opportunities come from unexpected directions.”

Writing is a creative process.  When I started out as an artist I used to try to draw everything really accurately before I tried to paint it in.  I would get frustrated if it didn’t look just right.  Then I discovered something quite remarkable, and that was that if I spent less time stressing that it was perfect, and more time allowing it to be organic something called ‘happy accidents’ happened.  The rule was no rubbing out.  No paint overs.  Just get on with it and turn the mistake into part of the art. 

And when I did, people loved my work all the more.  I learned to embrace the unexpected directions.  I think this is what Harriet means here – just allow the moment to take you and go with the flow. 

I think though I might add something else.  You might need to jot a note down if it is a bit too far from the point that you are trying to make.  Also, when you have finished your writing make sure that you go back check that one point leads naturally to the next. 

3. “Don't make excuses for not writing articles. Everybody has demands on their time, energy and concentration.”

I have just written a paper which discusses at one point how people don’t like to commit to things these days because we all have demands on our time.  I am never too sure how much this is an excuse to just not do anything – if its important you MAKE time. 

For example, if someone said to you that they wanted to meet you in town because they wanted to give you a thousand bucks/pounds, the chances are you would go, no matter how busy you were, right?  Well you have to decide how important writing is to you.  I personally love it, and that is why I am sat here in the UK at 11pm, after having spent 12 hours working, and was at college this evening.  I came in, my jacket is still on, and my shoes are still damp from the rain.  But when I saw Harriet Hodgson’s inspirational interview I had to sit down and make a comment. 

You can make time for anything that is important.  You can make time for anything you care about.  So ask yourself, how much do you care about writing?  

4. “Strive for quality and read your articles aloud before you submit them.”

This is something that I am not sure I always do.  Perhaps I need to concentrate more on this one.  I guess that one of the weaknesses of much writing is you just don’t get the feedback.  Thankfully I do write for editors sometimes and I write for college tutors regularly (I worked out that I type on average something like 5 thousand words a day!!!).  So it’s a bit second nature to sit and type. 

I also touch type which is a huge bonus because I can type at just under speaking speed.  I do public speaking for a living in one way or another so for me it isn’t too much problem just tapping out what is going on in my head.  I hope. 

Unfortunately I am also dyslexic which means my ideas are sometimes jumbled up.  It takes a lot of work.  And I was given the very same advice that Harriet offers here: read your work aloud before you submit them. 

One thing that I like about hub pages is that people will actually offer comments. So if you have any comments about my writing style or anything, don’t be hesitant in making them! 

Make it as a freelance writer

What will you google?

I just entered into google: what is it called when I google my own name? The answer came back from WikiAnswers: sad. Thanks!

5. “Enter your author name in search engines and use what you find to gain new information.”

Harriet says that if you do this then you will find where people are talking about you, and where your articles have disappeared to around the internet.  I guess for a published author such as Hodgson you will get that, but for us lesser mortals you might be quite surprised to find what comes up.

Funnily enough when I enter my name in the search engines I get a Scottish preacher, and a porn star.  Hmmm….  

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Comments 5 comments

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Harriet sounds like a dynamo of a human, and you seem a committed soul who will soon find the same success. You asked for comments on you style -- like it, natural, flows well, smooth, ideas shift easily from to the other. All round good. Thanks for this interesting and inspiring article.

AndrewGee profile image

AndrewGee 6 years ago Author

Thanks loads immartin. Your comments are appreciated. I like the article you posted about pet ferns!

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Thanks Andrew. I hope you read some of my serious articles and not this quicky little bit about my green pets.

Harriet Hodgson 6 years ago

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for citing my www.ezinearticles.com Author Spotlight. When I was contacted about the spotlight I was surprised and delighted. You may call me an old girl, (which I am)but this old girl is still cranking out copy, a contributing author for the Open to Hope website, a monthly columnist for the new "Caregiving in America" magazine, and trying to sell two books in a tough economy. Personally, I don't believe in writer's block. I do believe, however, in hard work, persistence, and challenging myself. This old girl isn't done yet!

AndrewGee profile image

AndrewGee 6 years ago Author

wahey! the lady herserlf! Thanks loads for making a comment, Harriet. i was kind of hoping that you would find yourself here somewhere considering you google yourself. You are right about hard work - anything worth it is hard!

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