Whether you’ve had a lens selected as a Best Of or you’re still a hopeful candidate, today I’ll give you some tips and advice to help you get the “Best Of” out of your Squidoo experience. Being in charge of a creative project like writing and maintaining lenses give us the sense of freedom that’s essential to doing our very best work and continuing to develop and improve as writers. I want to encourage you to think of your lenses as a constantly evolving portfolio of what you’re capable of creating. Don’t leave your old lenses to stagnate and focus only on the new. Instead, think of every lens as having a shot at being your “Best Of” and try out some of these ideas and tips to get you there.
1. Refine and re-design
I’m sure you’ve noticed that the web is in a constant state of re-design. Every relevant page on the internet today is under construction and your Squidoo lenses are no exception. I think of a static page as a dead page – much like last week’s newspaper, the information it contains still has value but today’s paper will always be a better read – even if they cover the same stories in both.
That’s not to say you need to change the information in your lens. If it’s good, it’s good, but some housekeeping or small refinements to your text are always a good idea. No change is too small – even a reply to a comment or a switched out Amazon item can keep your lens relevant and signal to readers that you’re actively involved with presenting them the very best lens you have to offer.
2. Keep everything…or don’t
I often see lensmasters wondering if they should keep an old lens or scrap one that’s not performing as well as they’d like. You can read my thoughts on this situation is my blog post “Save or Scrap”. My advice for lensmasters gunning for a Best Of, official or just your own personal best is to keep everything that you create. There’s rarely a lens that’s beyond repair or not worth having on your account. That said, if you’re tired of looking at it and don’t want to invest any more time or energy into it, scrap it! The power is yours.
3. Banish passive voice
Writing in passive voice isn’t exactly the worst thing that you could be doing. While passive voice isn’t necessarily wrong, it can be vague. I write in the passive voice often, especially when I’m writing first drafts or journaling. Check out my second sentence for an “in the wild” example. See that “can be”? It adds ambiguity to my statement and is less direct than if I’d said “Passive voice is more vague than active voice.” It’s a habit that’s proved difficult to shake but thankfully, a quick edit lets me convert instances of passive voice into the more direct, clear and attention-grabbing active voice. Here’s an example of sentences written in passive voice and their active counterparts.
Passive: ”My garden was invaded by moles”
Active: “Moles invaded my garden”
Passive: “The old car was restored by us”
Active: “My son and I restored the old car”.
Writing in active voice results in tighter, less wordy sentences that get straight to the point. Compared to passive voice, a sentence written in active voice is clearer about the subject of the sentence, whether it’s the “what?” (MOLES!) or the “who” (My son and I).
I hope these tips help you get the “best of” your lenses, new, old and everything in between. I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment – how do you get the “best” out of your work?