fun


Congratulations to our new Member of the Week!

Member of the Week: Len Morse

“Don’t be afraid to tactfully speak up.”

Helium Member Since: April 2007

Articles on Helium: 186

About Len

What do you write about mostly?  Why do you write about this subject?  Do you consider yourself an expert in your field?

While I enjoy learning about new subjects, I always enjoy writing about music, having played various instruments and musical styles for many years. I believe it truly is “the universal language” and is also a great stress reliever.

How do you promote your work?

Grassroots. Word of mouth. Facebook.

What motivated you to become a writer?

I write for two basic reasons: mostly to educate (others) but also to relax (myself). Sometimes I feel that folks need to learn about a particular subject, whether it be a specific detail, or a basic reminder. Other times, I use writing as a bit of therapy when I just need to get the words from my brain to a blank document.

What advice would you offer new Helium members?

  1. Be humble.
  2. Learn from those who have gone before you.
  3. Always think of your audience.
  4. Don’t be afraid to tactfully speak up.

What are your future goals with regard to writing?

I’m finishing a choose-your-own-adventure novel and plan to publish it electronically. I also plan to continue writing articles, editing newsletters, and creating web copy for folks who need those services.

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

Do what you love.

Articles by Len

Writing tips: How to write a choose-your-own-adventure story

Every Wednesday, Helium’s blog will feature a new Member of the Week. Member of the Week is chosen through a process of nominations and assessment by Helium community members and staff. If you know a great writer you’d like to nominate, send a link to that member’s About Me page along with an explanation of his/her accomplishments to sh.helium@gmail.com.

Congratulations to our new Member of the Week!

Member of the Week: Michelle Wilkinson

“Simply write. The more you write, the more confident you become. “

Helium Member Since: February 2008

Articles on Helium: 4548

About Michelle

What have you gained from being a member of an online writers’ community?

A sense of belonging! I’ve also picked up tips that I think have helped my writing. I’ve definitely learned more about promoting my work, as well.

What do you write about mostly?  Why do you write about this subject?  Do you consider yourself an expert in your field?

I write quite a lot of articles about weight loss and issues that relate to weight. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I definitely have a lot of experience of trying to lose weight! I’m also interested in how weight and self-esteem issues are interlinked, and what social attitudes towards weight are. Since I’m a keen cyclist, I also enjoy writing about cycling and keeping fit in general.

What motivated you to become a writer?

My social ineptitude! Being introverted and introspective seemed like good enough reasons. I’m much better at expressing myself through the written word than orally!

What advice would you offer new Helium members?

Simply write. The more you write, the more confident you become. When starting out it might be worth sticking to topics you feel comfortable writing about, as this will enable you to develop your own voice, rather than worrying about small, irrelevant details. If you specialize in a particular area, you may find that it becomes easier to promote your work to readers who will come to trust what you have to say and will actively seek out articles you have written.

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

I’m quite a contrary individual, so the chances are that any advice given to me has encouraged me to do the exact opposite!

Articles by Michelle:

Accepting your body the way it is

Finding that work-life balance

How to tell if you are an emotional eater 

Every Wednesday, Helium’s blog will feature a new Member of the Week. Member of the Week is chosen through a process of nominations and assessment by Helium community members and staff. If you know a great writer you’d like to nominate, send a link to that member’s About Me page along with an explanation of his/her accomplishments to sh.helium@gmail.com.

Congratulations to our new Member of the Week!

Member of the Week: John Welford

“My motivation, as ever, is to bridge the gap between sources and seekers of information.”

Helium Member Since: January 2008

Articles on Helium: 779

About John

Who inspires you?

It’s more a question of what than who. I write Helium articles because I want to unlock the knowledge that is trapped between the covers of the books and journals that I own and to which I have access as a librarian. The millions of authors whose thoughts, knowledge and ideas have been entrusted to paper are therefore my inspiration.

What do you write about mostly?  Why do you write about this subject?  Do you consider yourself an expert in your field?

I go through phases of being interested in certain subjects. These have included birds, antiques, Roman emperors, works of art, cricket, and places to visit in the UK. At present I am mainly writing analyses of poems by British poets, especially those that are on UK school exam syllabuses as these are likely to gain most page views. I have a degree in English Literature, so if I am an expert in anything this is likely to be it!

How do you promote your work?

I use Twitter – a lot! I try to get an article link posted once every 20 minutes, alternating with quotations. I have a huge stock of the latter to which I add constantly, so my followers don’t get bored. 3,700 followers to date – and rising!

What motivated you to become a writer?

I have always wanted to write but have also been aware of how difficult it is to succeed as a creative writer. The closest I ever came to the latter was writing scripts for the Beano comic in the early 1980s – I was the voice of Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, et al! The opportunity to write factual pieces and get paid for so doing was one that I was happy to grab with both hands.

I am a librarian by profession. I qualified back in 1976 and have therefore spent 35 years linking learners with sources of information. I still work at a university library helpdesk one evening a week, with the book stacks on one side of me and several hundred computer terminals on the other…. My motivation, as ever, is to bridge the gap between sources and seekers of information, and I can do this via “the medium of Helium.” My articles are therefore mainly digests of information for which printed material is the source – summarized, commented on, and updated where necessary.

What advice would you offer new Helium members?

Don’t set yourself too many goals to start with. Experiment, find out what works best for you, and adjust accordingly. Above all, take full advantage of all the help that is on offer.

 What are your future goals with regard to writing?

My first goal is to reach 1000 articles by the time I’m 60 (in August 2012)! I also want to do what I can to make life easier for international writers, as I am concerned that too many writers are being discouraged by their lack of good written English. I have some ideas that might help Helium to be more welcoming to writers from places like Africa and South Asia who have much to give but are currently being held back.

Articles by John

A visitor’s guide to West Leicestershire

Poetry analysis: First Day at School, by Roger McGough

Bird facts: Spoon-billed sandpiper

Every Wednesday, Helium’s blog will feature a new Member of the Week. Member of the Week is chosen through a process of nominations and assessment by Helium community members and staff. If you know a great writer you’d like to nominate, send a link to that member’s About Me page along with an explanation of his/her accomplishments to sh.helium@gmail.com.

Congratulations to our new Member of the Week!

Member of the Week: Susan Klatz Beal

“I finally realized that I’d never know whether I could succeed as a writer, if I didn’t try.”

Helium Member Since: July 2007

Articles on Helium: 1700

About Susan

What do you write about mostly?  Why do you write about this subject?  Do you consider yourself an expert in your field?

I have probably written more articles about plants, gardening and garden related things than anything else. I write about it because it’s something I love to do. I have been actively gardening and collecting and growing plants for over 40 years. I would never consider myself an expert in that field, simply because I’m always learning. I enjoy writing about anything. Lately, I’ve taken an interest to writing articles about breakthrough studies in the medical world.

What motivated you to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child. I never believed that I could actually become a writer, much less earn money doing it. I finally realized that I’d never know whether I could succeed as a writer, if I didn’t try. The rest is history.

What advice would you offer new Helium members?

Commit to producing the best written, most accurate and well researched articles you can write. Set goals for yourself and make sure that you have an environment that will allow you to meet those goals. Then once you meet each goal, set a new one that pushes you to surpass the previous one. The sense of satisfaction you get from accomplishments, regardless of how small they seem, will inspire you to continue writing.

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

Not to give up, not to doubt myself, and to believe that I’m capable of doing more than I think I can. In addition to that, not to put all of my eggs in one basket because writers need to diversify.

Articles by Susan

Creative “green” gift wrapping

Musical instrument classifications

Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion

Every Wednesday, Helium’s blog will feature a new Member of the Week. Member of the Week is chosen through a process of nominations and assessment by Helium community members and staff. If you know a great writer you’d like to nominate, send a link to that member’s About Me page along with an explanation of his/her accomplishments to sh.helium@gmail.com.

Congratulations to our new Member of the Week!

Member of the Week: Carissa Johnson

“Never let one person’s negative opinion pull your spirits so far down that you give up.”

Helium Member Since: June 2009

Articles on Helium: 135

About Carissa


What do you write about mostly?  Why do you write about this subject?

I find myself writing non-fiction, informational pieces most of the time because of my news journalism background. I tend to write about anything relating to being a teenager, in which I would say I have considerable and relevant expertise; religion–namely Christianity, which I am passionate about; books that I have read; and a combination of other topics that I find interesting or about which I have a hint of experience or knowledge. I enjoy the research process and the depth that one must learn about something in order to write about it.

How do you promote your work?

There’s nothing like social networking to ensure that your work is seen by many eyes — and the eyes that you want to see it. I post links to my articles on my Facebook and Tumblr feeds when I know that the topic is one that my friends and family are most likely to enjoy, and I often get reactions.

What advice would you offer new Helium members?

Listen more than you talk! Read articles from well-established writers, pay attention to the advice in forums, and take note of what works and what doesn’t for the rest of us.  But never let one person’s negative opinion pull your spirits so far down that you give up.

What are your future goals with regard to writing?

I plan to incorporate writing in whatever career I pursue. Whether it entails blogging about my experiences traveling or using my passion to teach and encourage young students who love language as well, writing is a huge part of my life.

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

“If money was no object, what would you be doing with your life? Go do that.”

Articles by Carissa

The pros of mandatory school uniforms

Poetry: The Holocaust

Reflections: Everyday heroes who make a difference in our lives

Every Wednesday, Helium’s blog will feature a new Member of the Week. Member of the Week is chosen through a process of nominations and assessment by Helium community members and staff. If you know a great writer you’d like to nominate, send a link to that member’s About Me page along with an explanation of his/her accomplishments to sh.helium@gmail.com.

Congratulations to our new Member of the Week!

Member of the week: Ganelle Davis

“Adversity really does build great character.”

Helium Member Since: September 2007

Articles on Helium: 466

About Ganelle

What do you write about mostly? Do you consider yourself an expert in your field?

I’m no expert.  As a disabled person, I have learned that we all are challenged to some degree. I may be an expert at facing challenges. I find myself writing mostly on the spirituality channel. I’m a people person. I love the characteristics and the motivations of human beings.

What motivated you to become a writer?

I have spent my entire life trying to connect with my maternal family. Writing has been the catalyst for me to connect with people that don’t really know me. They have gotten to know me through my writings. Writing  is my introduction. I hope more and more people get to know the real me. I have always wanted my favorites (people) close by. Writing brings me closer to people.

What advice would you offer new Helium members?

Be open, be honest, and be committed to do your best work. Helium is here to help you.

What are your future goals with regard to writing?

Someday, I would like to write a memoir dealing with forgiveness.  I think the F -Bomb is the key to open all doors in our society. The 3F PRINCIPLE really works: forgive, forget and find new joy. So far it has worked for me.

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

Adversity  really does build great character. My grandmother and living life has proved  this advice to me.

Articles by Ganelle

The power of positive thinking and attitude

Anger management tips for teens

Looks, money, or character: Choosing what’s important

Every Wednesday, Helium’s blog will feature a new Member of the Week. Member of the Week is chosen through a process of nominations and assessment by Helium community members and staff. If you know a great writer you’d like to nominate, send a link to that member’s About Me page along with an explanation of his/her accomplishments to sh.helium@gmail.com.

Congratulations to our new Member of the Week!

Member of the Week: Richard Hogsflesh

“Leave behind any preconceptions about your own abilities.”

Helium Member Since: July 2011

Articles on Helium: 126

About Richard

What have you gained from being a member of an online writers’ community?

Context. Other sites I’ve written for are useless at letting you know how good or bad you actually are. Helium gives you a far better idea by giving you more good writers to compare yourself to.

What do you write about mostly?  Why do you write about this subject?  Do you consider yourself an expert in your field?

I’ve written more articles about old horror films than anything else, and I am a bit of an expert. I’ll admit that I did them mainly to take advantage of the ‘10 squared’ promo that was running when I joined. I’m more interested in writing about things that take me away from my comfort zone a bit – that was one reason for joining Helium – so probably won’t do many more horror movie reviews.

What advice would you offer new Helium members?

Read around a lot, and leave behind any preconceptions about your own abilities.

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

I vividly remember being told not to swing on the coat hooks at school. If I’d listened, I wouldn’t have broken my arm. It’s the first time I remember understanding that sometimes grown-ups had good reasons for spoiling my fun.

Articles by Richard

Top 20 vampire movies

Exit Stage Left: The most spectacular deaths in Shakespeare’s Plays

What makes a good zombie film?

Every Wednesday, Helium’s blog will feature a new Member of the Week. Member of the Week is chosen through a process of nominations and assessment by Helium community members and staff. If you know a great writer you’d like to nominate, send a link to that member’s About Me page along with an explanation of his/her accomplishments to sh.helium@gmail.com.

Congratulations to our new Member of the Week!

Member of the Week: Philip Lop

“I would urge expertise at every opportunity.”

Helium Member Since: August 2010

Articles on Helium: 1237

About Philip

Who inspires you?

Celebrities or well-known individuals do not inspire me. I’m more likely to find ‘ordinary’ people’s behavior inspiring. When somebody gives up their life to go and protect an endangered species, for example, or returns home from war with terrible injuries, only to go on and try and run a marathon for charity, then I think it’s pretty hard not to be in awe of those people.

What have you gained from being a member of an online writers’ community?

I’ve gained a lot more than I had ever expected. Helium has really sharpened my writing skills. I learn things all the time, including technical things (like SEO) and social things (like all the advice that Helium writers have to offer about everything in the world). This is probably the first large online community that I have joined where I genuinely feel that the members really care about what they are doing.

What advice would you offer new Helium members?

I would urge expertise at every opportunity. Write about the subjects you understand really well, so that your articles reflect your insight and expertise. Find the channels that make you tick and stick to them. Promote based on your expertise and interact with like-minded individuals. Expertise is a sure path to high quality, and EVERYTHING is about quality.

Favorite quote

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” -Dr. Seuss

Articles by Philip:

How to be a team player

How to deliver great customer service

Diversity in the workplace: Its meaning

Every Wednesday, Helium’s blog will feature a new Member of the Week. Member of the Week is chosen through a process of nominations and assessment by Helium community members and staff. If you know a great writer you’d like to nominate, send a link to that member’s About Me page along with an explanation of his/her accomplishments to sh.helium@gmail.com.

Congratulations to our new Member of the Week!

Member of the Week: Sandra Piddock

“If anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

Helium Member Since: September 2007

Articles on Helium: 1630

About Sandra

Who inspires you?

Personally, I am inspired by my father. He died when I was 16, but I try to do everything I tackle in a way that he would have approved of. Professionally, I am inspired by Shakespeare. He’s a one man master class in constructing a plot and getting to the heart of human emotions. He’s the greatest inspiration any writer could want or need.

What have you gained from being a member of an online writers’ community?

Apart from an outlet for my work, I’ve gained the friendship of diverse people from all over the world. I’ve also learned a lot about writing from Helium, either directly through advice from fellow members, or indirectly by reading their work and their comments about writing. And I’ve expanded my knowledge of all aspects of writing by working as an editor and Channel Manager.

I have a thirst for knowledge, and my writing at Helium helps to slake that thirst. I find the research for articles at least as interesting as the writing, and I feel I’ve learned so much about life in general from my time on Helium.

What advice would you offer new Helium members?

Read all the help pages before you dive in and write. Always write the best article you can, and check for errors before submitting. Reach out to the other members – we’re here to help and encourage you. You’re never alone on your Helium journey.

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

If anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. It was one of my mother’s favourite maxims, and it fits every situation. If you always do your best, you can do no more.

Articles by Sandra:

10 symptoms you should not ignore

Anachronisms in Shakespeare’s plays

When you love two people at once

Every Wednesday, Helium’s blog will feature a new Member of the Week. Member of the Week is chosen through a process of nominations and assessment by Helium community members and staff. If you know a great writer you’d like to nominate, send a link to that member’s About Me page along with an explanation of his/her accomplishments to sh.helium@gmail.com.

It’s certainly been an interesting and challenging year for writers, and for Helium. It’s the holiday season, and we all look forward to celebrating.

In that spirit, we’re announcing our Happy Holidays Promotion. Beginning Monday, December 5 at noon Eastern Time, and each weekday until Christmas, we’re going to be offering a large number of paid titles to the community. In order to make it fair, we are limiting the number of titles a writer can claim to one per day. There will be $2.50 titles until the 25th!

UPDATE: Beginning 12/14/11, we’re going to change the number of titles a writer can take to two, instead of the current one. And, we will shorten the time it takes to transition, meaning that writers will get paid faster. We would like everyone to be nice, and please don’t be greedy or grinchy.

Think of this as our daily gift to our writing community! Happy Holidays!

Please note:  This update was also announced earlier on the Helium forums.

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