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30-year freelancer. Found on: Newsweek, Cruise Critic, MSN Travel. Writer’s Toolkit weekly series on The Writing Cooperative https://melindacrow.substack.com/

Writer’s Toolkit

I’m falling-off-my-chair-drunk on all the monetization options available right now

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So we’re clear, there’s really no such thing as “missing out on the big payouts.” Do platforms, publications, media outlets, and social media channels change the way they pay contributors? Pretty much every damn day.

What was generating huge income streams yesterday might not work for the exact same content or type of content today. Oh, wait, you thought you could do a total repeat of what worked for someone else six months ago and earn the same five figures they told you about?

Um, nope. It’s a new day today, my friend. And that’s going to happen every single…


Unless you can put your own needs aside while you write, you’re missing the most important thing your readers want from you

Photo by Mike Szczepanski on Unsplash

Repeat after me: It’s not about me. Readers don’t care if I write a viral story or not. Readers don’t care if I get paid or not. Readers think about themselves. Every part of my job as a writer should be reader-centered.

Until you start to repeat that in your head every time your fingers hit the keyboard, you are going nowhere as a writer. Once you master that, then you must keep the three writer jobs in mind: informer, entertainer, helper.

Providing information is the easiest writer job, but bots are stealing those jobs this very minute

To beat the bots, you must be able to combine the roles of informer with entertainer, helper, or…


Just a few of the things I found to be highlight-worthy last week and the stories where you can find them

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Do one thing well and watch it compound. ~ James Clear Quoted in The Paradox of Choice When It Comes to Entrepreneurial Projects by Madison Schott

One day, the algorithm on one platform will defeat you.

But if we join every single platform, and produce content for every single one of them, we’re never doing any of them very well. ~ From Content Creators — Diversify Before It’s Too Late by Ellen McRae

So let me spell out what it takes to become a successful writer. There are three elements. The first is that you’re highly intelligent. Don’t even begin…


Writer’s Toolkit

Your real lifeline is learning to match the platform or publication

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There are some useful tools available for analyzing headlines. We’ve talked about them in the past, and I strongly recommend using analyzers if you are struggling with headlines. But before you do that, consider a self-check first. The more you work on your headlines yourself, the easier they become to write naturally.

What are you writing?

Let’s talk first about the two words headlines and titles. In the online writing world, they often are used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences. …


Because travel is life’s real education. Without it we remain broken and ignorant.

Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash

It’s hard for me to separate life from travel, although the pandemic has forced that upon most of us. Since March of 2020, I have traveled exclusively out of necessity. (I include spending safe time with family as a necessity and hope you are able to do the same.)

My first international trip in 21 months is fast approaching. I am fearful. I am joyous. I am trying to remain calm. Where is the fearless traveler I have always been?

I spent time digging back through some of my own stories about life as a travel writer searching for the…


Because words matter

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You think you can string together any old words that pop up into your head and get results? News flash: Word choices matter. Every single word you put on the page has meaning, intonation, power. Use them wisely and they are the keys waiting to open the doors to your writing life.

I went searching for the best advice on using specific words to boost your chances of manipulating your reader through your work. Wait, you do know that’s your job, right? (Hmm, I may have stumbled into my next headline. Love it when that happens.)

Anyway, here are the…


Here’s what I found

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What a letdown. I thought for sure that the top ten writers listed under the Creativity tag would be putting the new list feature to well, um, creative use. No so much.

Here are the top ten writers under the Creativity tag and what they have done with the grand opportunity to create lists.

  • Jessica Wildfire, 82K followers, 8 top writer tags, no lists.
  • Eyal Zuri, loads of design inspiration, not using the list feature.
  • We’ve already seen Tim Denning’s lists.
  • You had to know that Ash Jurberg was going to have a list about sex, right?
  • Tom Keugler, no…


You damn well know you’re going to at least look at this list

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash

Like the most of the rest of us, Tim Denning is tinkering a bit with the new list feature we were recently gifted. Thus far, he’s created four lists.

I bet you’re wondering right now why you haven’t already gone snooping into Timmy’s lists yourself. It’s a little voyeuristic, this whole public list thing, is it not? Interestingly enough, Tim’s first list includes a story about a voyeur.

The real point of this story, though is that Tim Denning is one of the highest paid writers on the platform and the rest of us want to know what the heck…

Melinda Crow

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