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    Home Columns

    Searching for (Rusty) Fischer!

    Not so long ago, I had a bookmark list that passed through screen after computer screen, ad nauseum. On this list was every article, idea, poem or ditty I'd ever published on Websites that weren't even around anymore! Full of duplicates and broken links, it was a hulking folder I rarely attempted to wade through for very long. As such, when one editor or another requested URL clips to consider for a writing job, it would take a considerable amount of time just to find one that still worked! To avoid such confusion the next time you need to send off URL clips in a hurry, do what I do: Try "searching for Rusty Fischer."

    Okay, skip that, just try searching for yourself! Like something out of The Matrix, today's Webcrawlers do a surprisingly efficient job of locating even your most remote pieces of Web published work. Use this fact to your advantage and avoid a lengthy bookmark list of your own by periodically typing "your name" into your favorite search engine. I use Yahoo! because if not all of my URLs show up there, I can just click on the list of other search engines at the bottom of the page, including AltaVista and Google, and without typing my name and those pesky quotation marks all over again (can you say lazy?), run an all new search instantly.

    No matter how many hits you get on your search, depending on how common your name is, you will be rewarded with an up-to-date list of your current URL clips! You'd be surprised by how many of your older clips still show up. In fact, I continue to get hits for a slew of amateurish free verse poems (call it my Kerouac stage) that I sent into college poetry zines that haven't existed for years. But the links still work, and whenever I go for a poetry gig, which admittedly isn't often, there they are. You can probably say the same for that gardening, parenting, or woodworking magazine you used to work for.

    This holds true for true crime reviews I do for About.com, travel reviews I wrote for Wcities.com, and even my columns from a brief stint at Briefme.com. While I used to bookmark each and every one of these URLs for quick and easy reference, their pesky habit of moving from one corner of cyber space to another made this habit anything but quick OR easy!

    Websites change, URLs reconfigure, dot.coms fold and flutter away. When you run an Internet search engine on yourself, you are instantly rewarded with the most up-to-date Web addresses for those valuable published clips of yours. No more editors whining about broken links, no more "Oops, that Website has moved" messages, and no more bookmarks!

    Okay, I admit it: I still bookmark the URLs I'm most proud of, like those for both of my eBooks and a few author interviews I guiltily re-read whenever I need a quick ego boost after a mailbox full of rejection letters! But consider what just happened with Inkspot: Now some of my best URL clips don't even work anymore!

    And with the speed of today's Internet searches, even the bad links that do pop up when you look for your name will slowly start to fade away. And if they're fading away too slowly, report the bad links to Yahoo! or whoever. They'll be gone before you know it!

    All in all, this tidy tip is just one time-saver in a writing world that's becoming increasingly competitive. While your contemporaries are busy slogging through lists and lists of bad URLs and broken links, you'll be slipping your favorite Web addresses into that editor's in-box before she can say, "you're hired!"

    Copyright © Rusty Fischer

    Rusty Fischer is the author of Freedome to Freelance, available at http://www.writers-exchange.com/epublishing/rusty.htm.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from Amazon.com and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

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