How To Write : Poetic Writing

Poetic prose requires brevity, but when written well it has longevity.

Emotion and imagery, meter and rhyme. Take my advice, be a pro in no time.

Not all poetry has to rhyme, or have a certain iambic pentameter. While poetry isn’t as prominent as it once was, but it is much easier to incorporate in day to day life than you would realize once you know what to incorporate.

  1. Short and Sweet. When writing a novel, there are certain requirements on length depending on the genre you are working on. The same goes for poetry. But when you’re trying to simply be more poetic in your everyday writing, keep the “short and sweet” method in mind. Think of it like this: an unlimited character Facebook status, vs the 280 character maximum on a Tweet.
  2. Brave the Elements. Do some research in what poetic elements are out there and think about what you can incorporate. Rhyme scheme and alliteration won’t fit effortlessly into any kind of writing, but metaphors and imagery absolutely can. Think about how the structure of your writing flows too. Where lines break and how many sentences are in each paragraph can definitely change the way a piece is read.
  3. Avoid clichés. I personally hate reading the same clichés over and over. Nothing will take me out of reading something faster than seeing “think outside the box” or “keep your eye on the ball”. I’m not in a box, nor do I play sports (because I have horrible hand eye coordination). Instead, you should think about the meaning of what you’re saying. If you want someone to be creative, tell them to use their imagination. If you’re trying to up the focus, tell them to pay better attention. Simple language is better than an overused piece of filler text.

I enjoy channeling my inner Shakespeare and Dickinson when crafting something informal as a way to keep the mood light. It gives an air of humor that I quite enjoy. But the use will 100% depend on the type of writing you are working on. Think about it during your planning stages, maybe it will work, maybe it’ll stand out in your professional blog and make the reader ask why you’re baking a cherry pie with oranges. It will be your call. Choose wisely dear poet.

Spring Cleaning For Your Website

Spring is approaching, slowly for some of us, but it’s on its way none the less. Time to bust out the carpet steamers, power washers, and wash the windows. But hey, quick question. How does your website look? Just think about that while you’re ridding the spider webs from the corners in your ceilings. That’s just from one or two seasons right? How many seasons has your website been through?

First thing you should do, is look at your website storage to see how much you might NEED to sweep under the rug. If you have a lot of space left, you might not need to delete too much. But if you have an olde….more experienced site, you may have less space to post new ideas. This is when you decide if it’s time to upgrade that storage or delete a bunch of things.

Personally, when I ran a quick content audit on my website after nearly a year of being MIA, I removed 6 posts. Now how does one decide what needs to be “cleaned”? I put together a few ideas of my own for just my site.

Your website looks great now! How’s social media? Anything that links back to what you deleted? Or references something out of date? Did you change your logo? Your color theme? It’s easy to lose track of what is where and what may need to be updated. This process could take a while. It’s like a content audit really. But at least this one isn’t looking at the mechanics. Just looking at to keep or not to keep.

Got questions? Leave them in the comments below!

What is Skyscraper Content?

In Google’s webmaster guidelines, it is stated that links should be earned as the result of a grounded link building strategy. In order to “earn” your popular links, you need to make sure there is value in the work the link leads to. You need better content than your competitors, something in demand because your readers love it.

Skyscraper content comes from a strategy technique rather than just a topic. It helps you get those high ranking link placements by using insight from other high ranking content.

Step 1: Find existing content that you can make better. If there’s room for improvement, there’s room for you.

Finding popular content to make a skyscraper opportunity from can be done through keyword research, or browsing the competition. In my research, I found that a lot of people use tools like Site Explorer to do the research for them. From the results you get, you can decide which of the sites has the best content. Site Explorer has a tab to help you with this called “Best by links”. This will pull the sites with the most link authority, aiming for anything with more than 50 other sites linking back to it.

Content Explorer will help you zero in on the most mentioned keywords and phrases in your niche. It will help you search the internet for sites with lots of back links, and even gives you the filters to help you find the BEST references. (Set your “referring domains” filter to 50).

Step 2: Now that you found the content you can make better, make it better.

If you found something that has a lot of authority and knowledge to share, ask yourself if you can actually make it better. Or is this your goal? There are four key ideas to look at when you’re trying to decide if you can elevate a piece.

  • Length – Did you find a top 10 list? Cool, make it 20!
  • Up to date – How old is the article you found? Are there newer studies? Newer statistics? Is the picture showing an author with an afro and a jumpsuit? Update everything! Make sure everything you have is within 2 years of your current date. This way you stay relevant for a while longer.
  • Visual – How is the design? People say you eat with your eyes. Guess what else you do with your eyes, you read. Can you read the page well? Do the colors not match? Make sure your updated epic version is easy on the eyes.
  • Authority – If I can name 5 ways to fill out your character profile with a paragraph to detail every way, and you say I can do it in 10 ways!; I better get more than a sentence for each. Make sure you’re showing your authority and knowhow, not just getting in a size battle.

Step 3: You have knowledge, share it.

This will take a little sweet talking, but if you can swing it, it’ll be worth it. Instead of sending your piece to family and friends to share on social media, reverse the search and talk to the sites that referenced the article. If I used a guide to self publishing article from four years ago, and you found a better way to do it with more recent tools, don’t you think I should link to YOUR article?

The idea here is that you would use that Site Explorer from earlier, and search the link to the article you found. You’ll get a list of people that linked that article on their page, that maybe should link to yours instead. Reach out to them, let them know you have updated information for their post and see if they’ll send some traffic your way. Remember to point out that all it takes for them, will be updating a hyperlink in their post.

Long article short, if you find something you can make better, make sure you’re really making it better. Don’t outdo the numbers just for kicks and giggles, really aim for your value here. This is your brand. This is your business. 20% cooler is an improvement. Don’t aim for 50% better if you can’t deliver the support to back it up.

What is Cornerstone Content?

A cornerstone in masonry is the first stone set during construction. It is the initial foundation of the rest of the building, and what the rest of the stones rely on.

Cornerstone content is the foundation for the rest of your content. This is the core of your website, and consists of the best and most important articles on your site. This is often the pages or posts that rank highest in the search engines. The purpose isn’t to content dump in your field and overload your readers, but to define your brand and become an authority. The length of an article shouldn’t be dragged out for no reason, and it is especially true for cornerstone pieces. The function should be the focus so you can build your voice off of it.

Follow the steps below to help your cornerstone content stand strong.

  1. Optimize for your readers.
    • Make sure your keywords are optimized. This will get your readers to you.
    • Answer the questions your readers will have. If your page is about your book, give them the information on your target audience, book length, genre, and the blurb.
  2. Don’t content dump your market.
    • You want to be an authority, not a know it all. Don’t overdo it, aim for 3-5 solid pieces that you can spin off of.
    • It’s easy to run away with your topics, so make sure you’re only adding the important pieces.
  3. Organize your site navigation.
    • Internal links to your supporting content cut down on tangents, and you should use them. But again, don’t overdo it. If your articles are 50% internal links, you need to edit some things.
    • Make sure your site navigation is functional and simple for your audience. If you have to click here to click there and find the subheading, that’s too much. You’ll lose your audience.
  4. Do your research.
    • Know your market, and what is popular. Find out what people are searching in your niche, what are the most frequently searched terms? Use them!
    • Break your market down into the main topics and the subcategories that naturally come up. This is how you plan your content.
  5. Map your support.
    • Your main topics should be your cornerstone content. This should cover the general idea briefly.
    • The depth of your knowledge should come in the form of your support. If your page has “Publishing”, your posts on the page should be “Traditional”, “Self Publishing”, and anything that you need to do at this stage of your novel.

There are many different perspectives on cornerstone or “evergreen” content, but once you understand what it is used for, and what it is made of, you’re on a good path. Your priority? Your audience. How do they find you? Can they trust your content? Is it easy to find and navigate? Your cornerstone content is the pillar of your website, and should stand on the supporting information you create.

Any questions? Leave a comment below!

Book Review: Ready Player One

IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within the world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win – and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

-Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (Goodreads)

Ready Player One captures the challenges that emerge from new and ubiquitous technology and is an exciting work of science fiction — it gives us a peek into the future of current technologies but also is heavily influenced by our past pop culture. While the novel’s context is a dystopian world — for me, it is a challenge to us to hopefully create a better structure for deploying future technologies — one that truly uplifts the human condition instead of just allowing us to escape our real challenging realities.

Though Wade Watts and his motley crew wins against the evil corporation IOI in the end, thereby, taking control of the Oasis and the company behind it— serious questions remain — can their young team truly manage this global online meta-verse and hopefully help humanity rebuild the physical world? Or will they become victims of their own success, amassing wealth at the expense of continuing a legacy of helping humans escape reality using VR technology?

Halliday’s Easter egg isn’t the only symbol of ultimate power in the novel either. Halliday also built an exit button into the code of the OASIS that would wipe the game completely at his will. The handing over of so much power to his successor is a potentially life altering action for everyone in the year 2044. The game is a commonly used escape from the crumbling world they all live in that allows anyone to do and be anything. Better education, entertainment with zero gravity, and quests for those who wish to be heroes balance on the button being ignored. The exit button is glimpsed, but it’s never said whether Wade has decided to use it or not.

But the fact that the button was built, means that Halliday himself was unsure of the value of the game. Does this reflect the uncertainty of technology? Or just how addictive the game could become? It did make him a virtual god (see what I did there?) in the game and in real life. Perhaps Halliday was provoked by the absolute power, and the desire not to abuse it, to create such a button.

We will have to read Ready Player Two to be sure what happens with Wade in charge. But in the meantime, this is a great read. Personally it is one of my favorites. The movie is also one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen from page to screen. I first read the book in 2014, so the dystopian theme was at it’s height. Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner. So when RPO was announced, and finally released as a movie in 2018, I was stoked. I loved this book. I’m pretty sure I only sat down to open the book three times before I finished it. I re-read it for this blog, and in preparation for Ready Player Two, and I still love this book. If you haven’t experienced the world created by Ernest Cline, you need to find it now. Or, whenever you have time.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline / 384 pages / YA / Science Fiction / Dystopian 

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