How To Solve Your Biggest Writing Problems

How To Solve Your Biggest Writing Problems

Every writer has writing problems. Many of them. This is good news, and bad news. The good news is that your writing problems help you to grow as a writer. The bad news is that you may be intimidated by your challenges… AND you’ll always have challenges. When you see challenges as insurmountable, or think that there’s something wrong, your output will slow, and this makes your problems worse.

Each and every writing problem you’ll ever have has a solution. All you need to do is keep writing.

Tip: everything you write will have challenges, so work on a couple of projects at a time. If you get stuck — you need to talk to a specific person and he won’t be available for a week — work on something else. Make sure that in addition to client projects, you’re working on your own projects.

Let’s look at how to solve your problems step by step.

1. What’s the Problem?

Start by defining your problem, in writing. Yes, write it down. Often, you’ll see the solution immediately.

Let’s say that you’re stuck on a project. Write it down. “I’m stuck on this white paper, because_” Do you know the reason? Perhaps you do, or you don’t. With white papers, and many other writing projects, you may get stuck because you haven’t done enough research.

So, that’s your next step.

Big tip: DO NOT go directly to research. Write down your problem.

2. Research the Problem

If you’re working on a client project, call the client, and let him know where and how you’re stuck. Has the client given you enough materials? Perhaps you’ll need to interview someone: a subject matter expert.

You may need to research online, or at the library.

Have you started writing yet?

3. Write — Make a Start

If you haven’t started writing, do that now. Remember, shitty first drafts. A first draft’s sole job is to clarify your thinking. No one will see this draft, so be happy to be writing rubbish. At least you’re writing. :-)

Write as much as you can, as you continue to research. Write down any questions you have, right in the draft.

4. Get Help

Still got a problem? It’s time to get help. Make a list of people who can help you, and call them one by one.

If you’re having challenges with your fiction, brainstorm. Find someone to brainstorm with you. Beta readers are good for this, because they know your genre.

Maybe It’s Time to Let It Go…

STILL got a problem? It may be time to toss in the towel. This happens very occasionally, and it’s not a bad thing. Maybe a project just isn’t for you. There’s no shame in this. It happens to many writers. Let the client know as soon as you can, and back out gracefully.

Be aware that sometimes you can’t complete a project, and it’s no one’s fault. A client wants you to write something, but he’s unsure of exactly what he wants. He gives you an unclear brief (description of the project), and you don’t have the experience to see that it’s unclear.

Never allow this kind of project to linger on. It steals energy from you. If you haven’t done enough to earn the deposit the client’s paid, return it. Focus on projects you CAN complete. All you can do is the best you can.

5. Write MORE!

Most writing problems are solved at the first step: “what’s the problem?” Writing down your challenge clarifies it, and the solution is obvious. I’m fond of saying that writing solves all the problems you’re likely to have, and that’s true. Make sure that you’re always working on your own projects, as well as client projects.

Writers write. So keep writing. ;-)

Could You Get an Idea, and Sell That Idea, Within 30 Minutes? of Course You Can

Create your own writing opportunities: get paid before you start writing.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Make Money Writing Blogs: 5 Ways to Income

Make Money Writing Blogs: 5 Ways to Income

You want to make money writing blogs, but you’re not sure how. There are endless ways you can monetize a blog, so please experiment. Blogging became mainstream from 2004 onward; I’ve been blogging since 1999/ 2000. My early blogs have long gone with the wind: I let them go for one reason or another.

The moral: no word you write is ever wasted. Every blog you create teaches you something. You can create a blog in minutes; there’s nothing you can do that’s “wrong,” except to feel that there’s a “right” way to blog. What and how you blog is up to you. Follow your creativity.

That’s said, let’s look at five ways you can make money writing blogs.

1. Blog for Others: Surf the Content Tsunami

Today, every company is either blogging or wants to blog. There are endless clients waiting for you. If you’re blogging for less than $40 a blog post, stop doing that. Get better clients. Pay attention to what’s happening locally.

Big, big, BIG tip: if you’re blogging for a company, sell them additional content. Use the process I outline in Opportunity Writing. I’ve yet to meet the writer who’s truly making the most of his or her blogging gigs. Everyone’s leaving money on the table, so be aware of that.

2. Blog Your Passions: What Do You LOVE?

I wish I could clone myself, because there just isn’t enough time to create all the blogs I’d love to create. If you love something — no matter how weird and odd — blog it. People make money blogging in the oddest ways. Here are the top blogs, and how they make money.

Mimi G makes money sewing… Who knew?

3. Affiliate Blogging: Make Money Reviewing

Check out Pat Flynn, he’s a master of affiliate blogging. In this niche, you need a schtick. See our 5th way of blogging. Your schtick will come to you. Be yourself — have fun with it.

You can review anything you like; just make sure that the item you’re reviewing has an affiliate program. You can combine affiliate blogging with promotional blogging, as below.

As with blogging your passions; I wish I had more time for this. It’s a very lucrative field — don’t be afraid of having opinions.

4. Promotional Blogging: Your “Name” Blog

Do you have a “name” blog? If you don’t please set one up today. Your name blog is your name, of course, and you can use this blog to promote anything you choose, including yourself, or just use it to share your opinions. Either way, your name blog acts as a writing sample.

Your name blog is your way of differentiating yourself from every other blogger in the world, and of course, it helps you to market your own products, whatever they may be.

5. Creative Blogging: Allow Your Creative Self to LEAD

We’ve talked about ignoring your creative inspirations, and why that’s a sure way to block and worse. I see writers doing this every day. Your challenge is fear. You want to do things the “right way.”

Please allow your creative self to lead you, and follow your inspirations. If you get an idea for a blog which won’t leave you alone, blog away. NO word you write is ever wasted. Do I regret all the blogs I abandoned in my first few years of blogging? Of course not. I put a great deal of love and passion into each and every one of those blogs. They gave me confidence, and helped me to grow.

You can start a blog today and abandon it tomorrow. Sooner or later, you’ll either go back to that blog, or you’ll see the lesson in it. (Just don’t delete a blog, ever.)

There are endless ways you can turn blogs into income. Explore, experiment, and have fun. I’m glad that I began my writing career in the days of typewriters and postal mail. Those early years of waiting for the postman mean that blogging — instant publishing — is a constant wonder to me. Love blogging, and make an income. There’s no ceiling on what you can do, and you CANNOT fail, as long as you keep blogging. :-)

Blog Your Fiction: Short Fiction Wins

Blogging short fiction? Remember: you can blog anything, and short fiction sells. Explore Story Power, and get started writing fiction.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Easy Freelance Writing Gigs: Profit From Local Clients

Easy Freelance Writing Gigs: Profit From Local Clients

Several times a week, readers contact us about getting freelance writing gigs. The substance of their worries boils down to: “no one wants to pay for quality writing.” That may or may not be true.

However, everyone has problems, and businesses and publications want to make money. Help them to solve problems, and/ or make money, and you’ll have great clients who pay you well. (You’ll need to know what you’re worth, but you know that, don’t you? :-))

Here’s a solution, which most freelance writers overlook.

Think Local: Help Your Local Businesses

We’ve often talked about introducing yourself to companies. That’s an effective strategy. However, if you want to be paid right NOW, you’ll need to do a little more. You’ll need to show that you can see that a business has a problem, AND you can solve it.

I just typed “my-local-city dentist” into Google. What did I see? I’ll tell you. I saw Google ads, and ads from various other companies trying to make money from local search results. BUT I didn’t find ANY websites from local dental surgeons on the first page of the search results.

Your mileage will vary. You may well find that a local dental surgeon comes up in your local results. Google personalizes search results, and geo-targets.

No matter. Here’s my point: it’s very hard for local businesses to get found. Which brings us to the first suggestion for profiting from local clients.

1. Offer Reputation Management Services to Local Clients

What does “reputation management” mean? Usually it means white-washing the search results for someone. Let’s say that your client got into a little bother, so now when her name’s entered into Google, the mishap is displayed in all its horror, for ever and ever.

In that case, you’d create content showing your client in many different situations — volunteering at the local school, and animal shelter, having fun at local eateries (with images of what she ate), attending a wedding, etc. Your content would crowd out mention of the mishap, so over time, no one would see it, because it’s buried on the third or fourth page of the search results.

When you’re managing the reputation of a local business, you’d create lots of different content; on a blog on WordPress and Tumblr, on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram… always mentioning that your client is a local dentist, or whatever he happens to be.

In a sense, you’re creating a publicity campaign for a single audience: Google and the other search engines. Whether your client has his own website or not, soon when someone from the local area types “my-local-city dentist” into Google, your client’s name would appear.

2. Offer Product/ Service Reviews to Local Clients

Reviews of products and services are very hard for companies to get. Offer to interview some of their customers, to get them some decent reviews, and you’ll make friends (and clients) for life.

Next, offer to promote those reviews on social media.

3. Offer a Social Media Updating Service to Local Clients

The keyword for social media updates is consistent. Companies find that consistent posting, and getting results, is a challenge. Mostly because they don’t stay “on message.” In other words, a very junior member of staff posts to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when they think of it. There’s no consistency of message.

See our first suggestions — product reviews, and reputation management — above. There’s a school of thought which says that social media postings should never be automated. That is, they should be made spontaneously, and I totally agree with that, if you’re offering this service to local clients. You need to devote a little time to it each day, and respond as soon as you can to anyone who’s engaging with your client. Think of it as customer service, and you won’t go far astray.

So there we have it: three freelance writing gigs which are easy, and which you can profit from immediately. Remember to create products for your clients too.

From ideas to sales in just 30 minutes

Get an idea, and make a sale, BEFORE you write. Check out Opportunity Writing, to boost your income and spend less time and energy hunting for writing gigs.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Spare Time Short Fiction: How To Build a Career

Spare Time Short Fiction: How To Build a Career

Many writers want to write fiction, but they’re hesitant. They need an income from their writing, even if it’s a small one. Fiction can be speculative, and you’re concentrating your energies on getting freelance work. Why invest time and energy on something which may or may not pay off?

I understand. Every writer struggles with making choices. I do too. :-) Here’s the thing. As well as making money, writers are creatives. If you don’t pay attention and listen to your creative self, it will die.

You can call the death of your creative self anything you like: burnout, or writer’s block. Either way, it’s painful, and it takes time to recover. I encourage you to honor your inspirations. I’ve regretted the times I haven’t. And been amazed at the times I did, such as when I decided to start blogging, over 15 years ago.

Use Your “Spare Time” to Build a Fiction Career

I’m sure you smiled when I said “spare time.” No one has spare time these days. However, if you’re inspired to write fiction, take ten minutes a day. Trust your creative self. Anyone can spare ten minutes a day. However, schedule those ten minutes: make an appointment with your fiction.

How to Use Your Ten Minutes

Let your creative self lead during those ten minutes. When the time you’ve scheduled arrives, ask yourself whether you want to write? If the answer’s Yes, start writing. If the answer’s No, read, or muse about fiction. Ignore any pressure to produce words. Simply be guided, and follow your inspirations. When your ten minutes are up, go about your day.

Resist any inclination to hurry, or to force your creative self. Sooner or later, you’ll start writing. Your creative self won’t be able to resist. Then, your ten minutes will magically expand. This won’t happen immediately, but it will happen, over time.

If you’re used to writing nonfiction, it can be very hard to allow your creative self free rein. It feels as if you’re goofing off. You’re not. Your creative self has a million stories to share with you; you’ll share them with readers. Relax, let go, and goof off. Sooner or later, you’ll write. Your deep inspirations will be better than any forced stories you create from your logical left brain.

Stories Are Emotion: Feel It, Write It

Fiction is all about feelings. It’s entertainment. When your readers feel, they’ll forgive you anything. This is why you allow your creative self to lead. You don’t have a choice.

So schedule your ten minutes a day. Here’s how to know that this process is working to build your fiction career:

  • You’ll start to remember your dreams. Write them down, or not. They’re a sign you’ve kickstarted your imagination;
  • You’ll get ideas for stories and characters. Write these down, but don’t feel as if you must use them. When you receive a true inspiration, you won’t be able to avoid using them;
  • You’ll produce words during your ten minutes;
  • You’ll scrounge up more minutes to write; and finally…
  • You’ll publish your fiction.

In summary: ten minutes is all it takes to build a fiction career. All you need to do is allow your creative self to lead you.

Story Power: Write and Sell Short Fiction — 4-Week Video Tutorials and Workshop

Write with me: over four weeks, you’ll discover HOW to not only write short fiction, but also make money at it.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

NEW: Commercial Fiction For Beginners (free mini-course)

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had many questions about fiction for beginners. The questions are from freelance writers who want to try writing fiction, and from hobbyist writers who want to make money from their fiction.

It would take forever to answer the questions, so I thought I’d answer them with a short and free mini-course.

Free mini-course — “Commercial Fiction For Beginners: Create A Full-Time Income From Part-Time Writing”

I started my writing career writing fiction, many years ago. In those days, you had to be lucky to be able to make a full-time career writing fiction.

Today, luck has nothing to do with what you can achieve. Know-how does. Each week, I receive messages from puzzled writers. They want to know how to make money writing fiction, but they’re not sure how to do it.

Our mini-course, “Commercial Fiction For Beginners: Create A Full-Time Income From Part-Time Writing” clears up misconceptions, and will get you started on a fiction writing career.

Yes, today you can make a full-time income from your imagination, plus a little savvy. :-)

We cover:

  • What is commercial fiction?
  • What will you write? (genre, etc.)
  • Start with short fiction
  • How to make money — savvy ideas
  • Day by day: develop profitable fiction-writing processes

New to writing fiction?

If you’re new to writing fiction, the mini-course will get you started writing commercial fiction. Writing commercial fiction is different from writing literary fiction. You’re writing for entertainment; the mini-course will answer your questions.

If your fiction isn’t selling…

Writers contact me when they’ve written a novel or three, and sales are minimal. They want to know how to sell more.

To sell more, you need consider yourself a publisher, as well as an author. Publishers know how to sell: here’s a pretty painless trick to sell more books.

Essentially however, if an author isn’t selling it’s because he’s failed to plan — remember, you’re a publisher, as well as an author.

We cover that in the mini-course too.

Subscribe now. You’ll receive a free report, as well as the mini-course.

NEW — Story Power: Write and Sell Short Fiction — Short Stories, Serials, and Series

Can you write “snackable” fiction? Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited has made short fiction profitable. Learn more.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Fiction Writing Profits: Strategies and Secrets

 Fiction Writing Profits: Strategies and Secrets

If my email inbox is any guide, more and more freelance writers are turning to fiction writing as a way of increasing their writing income. They want advice and strategies — ways to make fiction profitable.

How to help? Initially I thought I’d create another blog. Neither this blog, nor the Just Write a Book Blog, seemed the right venue. Then I considered whether I even wanted to make fiction strategies public on the open Web.

When I decided that I didn’t, I created a mailing list: Fiction Writing Profits. You’ll receive fiction writing tips, ideas, and news. As well as the strategies and secrets, which I hope you’ll keep to yourself. :-)

We’re Living in a Golden Age for Writers

Writers have never had as many opportunities as they do now. Fiction’s a big opportunity. However, fiction’s a challenge for writers, both long-established writers, as well as new writers. Yes, there are many ways you can self-publish. You can even go the traditional route: literary agent, and publishing contract.

There are many ways you can market your books too. Additionally — what will you write? You can choose novels, series, and serials. You can choose short fiction, as we discuss in Story Power.

You’ve got to make choices, and all the choices lead to confusion. This can mean that you’re paralyzed, as you wait for the right choice for you. It’s enervating. You end up writing nothing.

Fiction Writing Profits: Ways to Profit From ALL Aspects of Fiction Writing

With my fiction writing students, I see ways that writers leave money on the table every day. With very little effort, these writers could increase their income substantially.

That’s why I’ve created Fiction Writing Profits; it will help you to see ways to make choices which are right for you, right now. Join us. When you do, you receive a free report on writing short fiction.

Story Power: Make Spare Time Profits

If you don’t have much time to write, Story Power is for you. You’ll write and publish fast, even if you can only spare minutes a day.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.