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8x NATJA prize winner; #TBINchat host; pericarditis patient. Found on: Newsweek, Cruise Critic, MSN Travel. Writer’s Toolkit https://melindacrow.substack.com/

Writer’s Toolkit

Give your reader more choices to keep them coming back

Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

We’ve all been told the importance of putting our work out in multiple formats, but when your focus is on your writing, learning new skills like audio and video production can seem overwhelming.

I have an ongoing vision problem that has recently made me painfully aware of the accessibility of my own writing as well as that of my favorite writers. In an ideal world, every blog post or website we open would have multiple options for consuming the content. …


I had a nice surprise hit my inbox today

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With all the negative stories floating around about Medium lately, I thought it might be nice to have a morale booster. I just got the most amazing email. Medium added a $500 bonus to my April Partner Program earnings. And I’m not the only one. Here’s what the email said:

Medium members are discerning readers, drawn to great writing — like yours. To recognize the writers who made the most impact on members this past month, we’re rewarding 1,000 writers with a $500 bonus. Congrats, that’s you!

You made it here because the stories you published in April received the…


That bonus was certainly NOT about what I wrote during the month

Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

I was one of the lucky writers who earned a $500 bonus from Medium in April. This is what the letter they sent said:

“Medium members are discerning readers, drawn to great writing — like yours. To recognize the writers who made the most impact on members this past month, we’re rewarding 1,000 writers with a $500 bonus. Congrats, that’s you!

You made it here because the stories you published in April received the most member reads, claps, and follows. So, nice work! It’s writers like you that…


Writer’s Toolkit

If nothing else, it might shake up your creativity

Photo by Nihon Graphy on Unsplash

Listen to an audio version at the end.

If you’re like me you’ve read stories about people who speed through article writing by dictating. I’ve always viewed those people with a bit of skepticism. Quite frankly putting words on a page via dictation feels like typing with my toes.

As a matter of fact, I’m dictating this story. I have a timer running to see how long it takes. I’ve already stopped and started four times. I’ve brainstormed six different titles. And I must admit I’m excited that I now have two paragraphs completed. Woo hoo.

First, the reality

I started this experiment…


Writer’s Toolkit

It’s like mining for gold, you’ve got to move a lot of brain matter to find the good stuff

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

You’ll find an audio/visual version of this story at the end.

Over the course of your writing career, you’re going to write a lot of useless material. Get used to that. It’s a fact. I’ve spent the morning scrolling back through some of my older work and found some less-than-perfect stuff — even stories published here in the Writer’s Toolkit series. It seems to me that my best work is almost always sandwiched by pieces that leave me scratching my head, wondering what went wrong.

But here’s the thing — those sandwich pieces often indirectly lead me to the better…


Thanks to Anthony Melchiorri of Hotel Impossible

Photo courtesy of Pacific6

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA — Long Beach’s long-closed landmark hotel on Ocean Blvd, will undergo a $150 million renovation. Built in 1926, and originally one of Conrad Hilton’s original hotels, The Breakers served as a go-to destination in the early 20th century.

Set for completion in 2023, the 15-story hotel will include 185 guest rooms and suites, the town’s only rooftop terrace with 360-degree seaside views, a jazz club and whiskey bar, a new pool on the third-floor terrace, and Long Beach’s only luxury hotel spa, featuring nine high-end treatment rooms and a two-level fitness center. …


Writer’s Toolkit

Use old posts to keep your idea list stocked while keeping readers engaged

Photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash

Last week we talked about idea hoarding. This week, let’s talk about a specific method for mining ideas from things you’ve written before. The mining process itself is easy and puts you one step closer to having an ever-ready supply of ideas.

And for those who write freelance articles or even fiction, the concept is the same. It works for almost everything you write. Let’s dig in.

Spin-offs from a popular post

The easiest mining tactic is to start with a popular post. It doesn’t matter if you wrote it last week or last year — there was a reason it resonated with your audience…


Writer’s Toolkit

I’m talking reality TV level hoarding

Photo by Sear Greyson on Unsplash

Read this paragraph, then close your eyes and envision it. Picture yourself standing in the center of a mini-warehouse-type storage unit. You know the kind — metal walls and ceiling with a big roll-up metal door. It’s ten feet wide and twenty feet long with a concrete floor. Now picture it filled to the rafters with stacks and stacks of paper — each page representing ideas you might write about one day.

Crazy ideas. Things you may never actually write about. Weird things that pop into your brain in the middle of the night. Thoughts that trigger your good intentions…

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