How Writers Can Use Helium To Strengthen Skills And Get Published
Don't run off and start inhaling the noble gas that makes you talk funny!
The element I'm talking about is Helium.com where knowledge rules.
This virtual playground for writers is safe and accessible to people of all writing levels.
As Helium's former Arts & Humanities Channel Steward, I've mentored many writers and helped them develop skills that made them more desirable in the writer's marketplace.
Here are my top tips for writers who want to raise the quality of their work using Helium:
What Does The Team Want? Jeff Herman Knows
~ Use Helium To Expand Your Writing Community
Helium has a strong and vibrant community of new and experienced writers, and professionals who love to share.
In the forums, not only will you find all the tools you need to make you a success from writing workshops to archived interviews with agents and editors... you'll also gain to access to writers from around the globe.
I have personally picked the brains of historians, college professors, and parents of kids with special needs for material because Helium has provided a haunt for every topic from autos to travel in their Passion Forums.
Helium also has a network of volunteers who moderate the forums. These dedicated New Member Guides offer 1:1 mentoring and provide fantastic daily and open critiques of articles you've written on the site.
Writers looking for a foot in the door will not only find the door is open at Helium but there will be someone there to guide you in and help you become a better writer.
New at Helium are Betaville and Zone groups.
You can get in the Zone or join a Beta group to create and promote content about things you love. Right now, there are Zone pages and Beta Groups about gardening, book reviews and more. Check it out.
Need A Lift?
~ Use Helium For Inspiration
Many writers hit a wall at some point and temporarily run out of ideas.
This is known as writer's block. The dangerous thing about writer's block is while you're waiting for new ideas you're getting rusty.
To break the cycle, back away from the computer for 24 hours, get some fresh air outside then reboot with a little Helium.
Helium has hundreds of titles you can flip through where you're bound to think... ‘Hey, I know something about this, and I can do a better job than the last guy!'
Even if you only participate in Helium's ratings system, eventually a topic is going to pop up that makes you want to contribute to it. This is why the creators of the site put a Write to this Topic button right in the ratings box.
Need more inspiration to write?
Helium has a number of publishers who buy Helium articles submitted in the site's marketplace.
Not only can you write to keep your brain lubed, you can earn more than pennies while you do it. Marketplace articles with word counts between 200 and 1,200 words can bring in $10-200. There are also kill fees for certain articles.
Publishers looking for specific fill content are also purchasing existing articles as stock content. These go for around $7 a piece. So if you write to hot topics, you just might wake up and find some extra cash in an email announcement.
~ Use Helium To Write Faster
It's important for freelance writers to write not only well but fast and fluently because in order to make money, they have to produce as many high quality articles as their minds can craft and fingers can type.
Each week there's a contest at Helium with a variety of topics in 25 new titles in each category. With the clock ticking it's easy to get into the spirit of things,...but I always keep in mind quality counts.
Since articles remain on the site forever, you'll want it to get top billing with good material because that's where your pennies add up over time.
Yes, you can edit articles, but the edited article will drop in its ratings until it's re-rated.
~ Use Helium To Learn How To Self-Edit
Learning how to self-edit is a must have skill for any writer... and the rating system at Helium is one of the best ways to understand the principals of self-editing.
It doesn't take long to see you can learn a lot from the mistakes of others.
How many times have I seen the words your and you're used incorrectly?... Enough to tell you that I now watch out for the error in my own writing.
Sometimes the mind gets lazy...reviewing someone's work with a critical eye is certainly a wake up call for all writers.
~ Use Helium To Empathize With The Publishing Team
I'd like to introduce you to a few people writers often fear.
These guys are agents, editors, and publishers, but from now on we're going to start addressing them as "the team".
The team has one goal: To Make Money.
It's no big secret in business ... time is money ... but it's a rarely spoken fact that many members of the team feel taking on new and unpublished writers is a waste of time.
The biggest mistake a new writer can make is not knowing how the team thinks, and the only way to achieve this is to walk a mile in the team's shoes, so no one's time is wasted.
What is Rating?
Chew on this ... if the team wants to be successful, they must be quick and competent judges because they only have seconds to decide who stays and who goes to the slush pile.
If you want to impress the team, you must have a deep understanding about why and how they use this kind of pass/fail system when it comes to queries.
By using Helium's rating system, you become the judge, and as you rate, you will start to see patterns of what makes great eye catching material, and what makes you automatically disregard an article.
Once you've internalized the process of judging at Helium, think of things you can change to keep the team's favor and interest long enough for your query letter to stay out of the automatic reject pile.
Use Helium To Build A Writer's Tool Shed
A lot of people are looking to make big bucks by becoming a writer.
I believe it's only possible only if you have time, talent and an exceptional work ethic. However, I also believe any writer with a decent tool shed will at the very least find publication in some medium.
So the two big questions I'm sure will arise from this article will be:
- Can you make big bucks at Helium?
Anything is possible in the universe.
- Can you use Helium to build a well-stocked writer's tool shed?
A writer with a well-stocked tool shed has what it takes to build a writing career on the Internet and in print from the ground up.
Start your writing career with a solid foundation, and you'll have fewer problems when it counts.
New Note: Purchased "Marketplace" articles are considered to be published clips. You can add appropriate clips to your queries.
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