Web Explored: Failure, Motivation, and Research

Web Explored - Exit by Kev Seto CC0 Public Domain on Unsplash

Failure, and motiv­a­tion can certainly be reasons to do something. Most of us hate failure. Those state­ments like “it is better to try and fail than never try at all” are irksome. It is far better to succeed, but failure does come on the path to success and it is motiv­a­tion enough for many. Research is something most people have little motiv­a­tion to do, but again is a corner­stone to success. This web explored collec­tion should allow you to succeed in your goals.

Failure, Motivation, and Research

This collec­tion is opened by Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. In “Character Motivation Entry: Trying Again At Something One Previously Failed At” she follows the philo­sophy that we should try and try again in order to achieve success. Sometimes this is about return­ing to previ­ous high points, like the injured athlete who seeks once again to achieve their person­al best. Another example is return­ing to school, after once having dropped out. I guess the point is we can take on board person­al lessons, know what skills we can improve at. Do better next time.
Google Street ViewHelena Fairfax provides the next gem. “How to Research a Location you Haven’t Actually been to” answers a question that many writers have. You are writing a novel and you want it to take place in a city you have never been to, what do you do? Fairfax has some answers for that question. She recom­mends the use of Instagram, Flickr, maps and many other resources. I was writing a factu­al blog page recently and was using Google Street view to remind myself of what the area looks like. The limit of street view is that there are places that have never been photo­graphed by the Google car. It is great in cities, but very poor in the countryside. Truth is, today we have many tools at our finger­tips, it is simply a case of using them as a part of expand­ing our writing.

Birth of Tragedy

Exit or Failure? by Kev Seto CC0 Public Domain on UnsplashIn “The End of History Is the Birth of Tragedy” Hal Brands and Charles Edel remind us that “the ancient Greeks took tragedy seriously”. They point out that this “tragic sensib­il­ity was purpose­fully hard-wired into Athenian culture”. The intent being that Athenians looked tragedy face on and used it as a form of commun­al account­ab­il­ity. But the challenge “after more than 70 years of great-power peace and a quarter-century of unrivalled global suprem­acy”, further “Americans have lost their sense of tragedy”. An inter­est­ing thought.
This article makes an inter­est­ing read. David Corbett also thought so and added his own comments in “Reflections on the Next American Tragedy”. He asks the question “So, if tragedy didn’t save the Athenians, how could it possibly make any differ­ence to us?
These are inter­est­ing questions that are worthy of much thought. As a non-American I have never accep­ted that the USA is as great as some Americans think it is. That is my right to think that way and is a part of the duty of free speech to point out the oppos­ite. Now I am not saying that there aren’t great Americans, there clearly are. But, there are great people and great ideas from other cultures as well and we must always remem­ber that great­ness in human­ity is not centred in one nation. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all had to learn this lesson.

Company Blogs

Does you company have a blog? Should it? These are import­ant questions every business owner should be asking. Freelance Business Writer Jennifer Mattern asks Should Your Company Run a Business Blog or a Niche Blog? She then talks about build­ing relation­ships and the increased visib­il­ity the blog brings. I agree, which is one reason I also wrote on this topic some time ago.
I am a great believ­er in businesses having a blog. The blog should compli­ment their website. The latter being relat­ively static inform­a­tion about the product and/or services offered, while the former can talk about the challenges of the industry sector as a whole or can show ways products can be used.

Guest Blogging

Seasonal Guest By Lydia Harper (CC0 Public Domain) from UnsplashDarren Rowse always has some great thoughts. This month was no excep­tion in How to Craft an Outstanding Guest Post. He states, “As a guest poster, you want to provide a great post that readers love … but also one that helps you achieve your own goals”.
One crucial question about guest posting is, what value can you provide? Will what you have to say change reader’s lives? I am not saying that have to in a big way, but they should provide some small inspir­a­tion that connects the guest blogger with the new reader that they encounter. The reader is hoping to get something new, then so is the writer. For a moment their goals are aligned. When it works well they stay in align­ment and you as a writer can pick up fresh readers. Certainly a part of my current thinking/planning — publish­ing guest posts on a variety of popular sites.
I am currently making enquir­ies about guest blogging at a number of sites, the aim to widen my horizons and reader­ship and to learn from the whole exper­i­ence. I plan to publish guest writers as well.

The Big Tease


On Writers Helping Writers I found the thought “suspense is one of the storyteller’s biggest teases”. Although it will apply largely to fiction­al writing there is no reason why it cannot simil­arly apply to factu­al writing. Many stories will consist of raising questions, it is a natur­al thing to do. Suspense is a device that a good writer will use to delay the answer, perhaps making what they have to say more dramat­ic. It provides a sense of uncer­tainty.

This is a great post about the use of suspense. One of the aspects this article points out is that although some suspense is predict­able, it is best to make the outcome something unexpec­ted.


Closing Emails

In “What’s Wrong With This Complimentary Close?” Lynn Gaertner-Johnston takes a look at the compli­ments line you may use on an email or letter. Business Writing is a blog that special­ises in the helping readers become more effect­ive business writers. There are all manner of weird things said in emails, often because people are being inform­al, trying to write as if they were speak­ing to a friend. Email has a lot of power, and the compli­ment­ary close is so import­ant. Take a look at this closing, then look at her post for analys­is:

Thanks, and Best Regards,”

This takes us right back to the begin­ning, the ability to learn from failure.


Web Explored


I hope you have enjoyed these gems that I have included in this month’s column. Failure, motiv­a­tion and research are neces­sary compon­ents of everything we do as writers. Other Web Explored contri­bu­tions include:

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