You might be asking yourself - why bother writing a guide? There are many benefits in fact.
- You can indirectly promote your product or service
- Sharing knowledge is a great way to develop community spirit
- It helps you by enlarging your own experience through the process of writing
- You will receive recognition and acknowledgement
- Most importantly, you will feel good! You will have expressed yourself!
There are probably heaps of other good reasons why should take the time and give it a go. Some of traps to avoid in good guide writing are:
- DON'T cut and paste, no matter how tempted you are. I write for a number of magazines and the first time I wrote an eBay guide, I cut and pasted from a magazine article I had previously written. My cut and paste didn't work, no matter how I tried. It took hours for me to realise there were hidden embedded codes in my original document which were carried across to the guide description editor in the pasting. I ended up scrubbing the whole lot and rewriting it again directly into the editor. My effort in saving time was absolutely fruitless and cost me far more time.
- Write about your passion. If you really believe in something, it shows in your writing and even if the reader doesn't agree with your perspective, at least they will be convinced of your sincerity.
- Research your subject. There's no point in writing something that is basically inaccurate. If you can't be sure that you are 100% correct in what you are saying, mention that there maybe other viewpoints or better still, don't mention that point at all.
- There's the obvious writing traps of grammar, spelling, sentence construction, punctuation etc. If you're no good at this sort of thing (which requires a particular sort of thinking), get someone else to read your guide before you display it. You can do a draft copy and leave it in my eBay and then display it at a later date, after it has been checked.
- The biggest trap I find is lack of confidence!!! So many people suffer from this. Inside they are budding writers, but too afraid, or they have writer's block so they don't ever do it. A useful trick I learnt years ago is to sit with a pen in hand and write whatever rubbish came into my head. The idea was to get my hand and brain used to writing even if it was just blah, blah, blah. One time I remember years ago, I wrote several pages of blah, blah, blah. That day, my writers block was bad. Anyhow, after about 3 foolscap pages of blah, phrases began to form. Then sentences, then I was having ideas and away I went. Just trick yourself into doing it.
- Don't be put off by negative feedback. It's GOOD to write about controversial subjects (in line with eBay policy of course). If you get negative feedback, at least you know you have affected someone which resulted in them actually thinking about what you wrote. They were not indifferent, they cared enough to vote! How many guides do we read without actually voting, because we don't have an opinion about what was written.
Have a go, you can always delete your attempt later if you are really convinced that you don't want it displayed. The important thing is to enlarge your experience and to be in it! You might unleash something from within that has just been dying to get out for years.
Regards, Rose Smith, BA, DRM, ATMS