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How To Make The Best Use Of A Writer’s Forum

The supportive writer's forumA good freelance writers offers a lot, from a place to drop by and break up some of the sense of isolation you may feel to asking for and getting help with writing and even other issues. In fact, good forums are actually active and lively online communities.

For example, in our 5BuckForum we’ve got a thread labeled in part, WTF!!. It started as one freelance writer’s total frustration with trying to move her blog, a real whine.

But it rapidly evolved into solid technical help from other writers and bloggers who’ve gone through moving a blog explained how to do it and also to answer specific questions. . Priceless.

Another thread is a through discussion of how freelance writers can really make use of Search Engine Optimization – again priceless tips.

Finally there’s at least one thread that encourages folks to post their last blog entry about writing or anything else they’re blogging about – a spot for some promotion if you will.

Here are some tips to make the best use out of any forum you join anywhere.

Getting Set Up

By all means register. There are forums for everything. I actually found one for my 1991 Honda Civic! Register so you can post. In most you can control how much, if any, email you get from the forum and from forum members.

Pay attention to your signature. Almost all forums allow you to have a signature. It will be in your profile or account settings. Fill it in with your websites and let the forum do a bit of promotion for you every time you post.

Follow or subscribe to topics automatically. There’s nothing more frustrating than asking a question and thinking you haven’t gotten an answer when you have. Solve this by checking follow or subscribe to the topics you post in automatically. Again, this option will be in your settings.

Ongoing Participation

Click on icons and links you don’t recognize – you can’t break it. Although there are lots of similarities in forums, there are a ton of differences too. When you see links and icons you don’t understand, click on them and see what happens. You won’t break the forum, I promise. Clicking around is a good way to get to know the forum and, in fact, almost any application.

Be willing to share what you know. Good forums are filled with people who love to share what they know. If you’ve gained some expertise in the forum’s topics by all means share it. I know I love showing off what I know, and if someone shows me I’m wrong or there’s another way to do it or see it (and there almost always is)

Feel free to ask questions. Forums are great places to ask questions, even those you think you should already know the answer to. I can almost guarantee that the question you ask is one others also want to ask. Drop any shyness and go for it.

What other ways do you like to participate in a writing forum?

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Hi Anne – sorry, I didn’t see your comment (is there any way I can ‘subscribe to follow-up comments’?)

    Carol’s forum is a forum with bells and whistles because she is very active in all of the threads e.g. she organizes conversations by theme and gets them moving again if a thread languishes. Also, on a weekly basis she lets us know about the active discussions we might have missed so constantly keeps discussions churning over.

    Most compellingly for me, she provides weekly seminars on relevant topics e.g. how to stop working for content farms, how to make cold calls, how to set your prices. Forum members can pose questions to the speaker before and during the seminar. It is a very rich and interactive process. I’ve said this to Carol before, but as a relatively new freelance writer, I’d be lost without such a resource.

    Carolyn

    • Anne

      Carolyn, just added a way to subscribe to comments – let me know if it works for you. And thanks for your comments re forums. Lori and I are both active daily in ours for sure. And we’re about to launch a weekly newsletter. Weekly seminars are too much for us, but we have started offering them about every month or 6 weeks, but at the $5 a month price for the forum, we don’t offer them free. We do offer forum members a deep discount and often the discount counts if someone joins. https://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/2011/10/discover-the-secrets-of-linkedin-an-about-writing-squared-webinar/ is our next webinar.

  • That would be my blog move, and I’m still whining. 🙂

    What I enjoy most about our forum is the freedom to be ourselves. No judgment, lots of camaraderie. Plus Anne’s a great partner. 🙂
    Lori recently posted..Return of the Demand(ing) JobsMy Profile

  • I agree that a writer’s forum is an invaluable tool, especially if you work from home and or isolated from others in your profession. I’m a member of Carol Tice’s Freelance Writers Den and I honestly think it is the best money I spend each month. As well as all of the things you’ve mentioned above, I’ve recently found 9 like-minded writers to form a blog mastermind group with.

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