We have so many opportunities to make money writing today that it’s scary. With so many options, writers procrastinate, either because they want to make the right choice of what to write next, or because they’re overwhelmed. Unfortunately, you won’t meet your writing income goals if you don’t write and produce salable material consistently. This means that you need to eliminate procrastination by choosing quickly, and writing.
Choosing is challenging for my students. I check in with them, and ask how they’re doing with their blog posts, or Kindle ebooks, or query letters, and find that rather than writing, they’re thinking about writing. They can’t choose what to write first, or next.
Let’s look at how you can meet your writing income goals, with a couple of simple nonfiction tricks. You’ll get more written, and with more to sell, your income will go up.
1. Draft! The More Drafts You Have, the Easier It Is to Choose.
Here’s a paradox. It’s easier to choose what to write next, if you have more to choose from. 🙂
Here’s why broadening your choice works. Your biggest challenge with writing projects is inertia. You can’t get started on a project, because you’re not sure where the project is going. So you try to work it out in your head. This never works: so as I keep nagging you… stop thinking, start writing.
Here’s an example. Guy, one of my writing students, has started a new blog. He needs to write ten blog posts to get the blog established quickly. “Ten” looms large. He’s paralyzed. He’s researched his audience, the marketplace, and the products he wants to promote. He has a list of categories. But he’s thinking, rather than writing.
I explain about draft posts. WordPress and the other blogging services let you create draft posts. You create a post, with a title, and a few sentences – as much content, or as little as you please – and hit the Save Draft button.
Whenever you’re not sure what to write, create a draft post or three. Just choose a topic, and create a title. The title doesn’t need to be clever. It’s a working title, and you can change it at any time. Then write a list outline, or a few sentences. These sentences won’t be golden prose, they’re placeholders.
The more drafts you create of anything, the better. You can do something once you’ve started. If your computer screen is blank, it will stay blank.
Guy wrote five draft posts: titles, and several sentences for each post. Then the dam burst. He wrote a long post, and published it. The post gave him ideas for three more draft posts… he now has eight draft posts.
Within a week, Guy published four blog posts, and drafted another ten. Guy’s finding that the more he writes, the more ideas he gets. Writing begets writing. Thinking too much begets writing blocks.
2. Create a Business Plan to Get More Value From Your Nonfiction.
Professional writers meet their income goals because they know what they’re writing today, and tomorrow. They have a business plan, even if it’s an outline on the back of an envelope.
Let’s look at Brandon, a new writer, who’s writing Kindle nonfiction books. Brandon’s in human resources, and wants to get into coaching. He’s aiming to create a series of “get that job!” ebooks, which he’ll use to build credibility and trust for his new coaching business.
Brandon’s a new personal coaching student. We clarified his goals, and developed a business plan for his new business, which included a marketing plan.
It’s vital that you see your business as a whole. So, if you haven’t created a business plan for your writing business, please do that first. Your plan gives you perspective, so you can see where today’s writing fits into the overall picture.
After creating the business plan, we planned:
- Brandon’s series of four ebooks;
- The two coaching services he would offer initially; and
- Brandon’s website.
Brandon started writing. Not only did he find writing easy, he didn’t procrastinate. He saw immediately that he could repurpose some of his content from the ebooks into his coaching programs, and into content for his website.
That’s the benefit of a plan. You see the whole, and create the parts. Most writers end up with disparate parts that they struggle to fit into the big picture of their writing goals.
Your Business Plan Isn’t Set in Stone: It Can Be SHORT.
Your business plan is a work in progress. You’ll have many “yes, but…” moments as you create a business plan. All planning is guessing. Once you put your plan into action, you’ll get feedback, so you can make adjustments.
Keep your initial plan short. Create it on an index card. Here’s all you need:
- A description of your writing business: what you’ll write, and for whom you’ll write it;
- A marketing plan;
- A financial plan: estimated income and expenses.
The shorter your initial plan, the better. You just want to see where you’re headed, and it shouldn’t take you longer than 20 minutes to create.
So there we have it. Two simple nonfiction tricks, which will help you to meet your writing income goals.
Updated: December 1, 2016
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