Hate “rules”? Me too. Rules are made to be broken, but when something isn’t working, it’s time to go back to the basics. If writing success has eluded you, let’s change that in 2015.
Here we go. Try these rules if you’re stuck, lack motivation, or find yourself procrastinating.
1. Write for yourself, first
You know that I’m big on journaling. There’s a reason for that: it helps you to separate yourself from your writing. Here’s what I mean by that. All writing projects have the potential to engulf you. You’re writing away on your novel, or on a client project, and you’re anxious. So you avoid writing, which makes you even more anxious.
When you journal, you’ll realize that ALL writing challenges and problems have solutions. I read back over my journals to see what I was obsessing about a year ago and shake my head, wondering why that seemed like such a big deal.
Your journal’s also the place to play with ideas, and write down your insights. If you’re stuck in your writing, read back over your journal.
2. Reach out. Set yourself contact goals, and schedule everything
Remember the old saying, to have a friend, you need to be a friend? Be friendly, and approachable. Social media can help.
Stay in touch with past clients, and woo companies with pitches.
Decide that you’ll make contact with five companies, or individuals a day. It doesn’t matter much what that contact is — a text message, an email, a “plus” on Google+. Your choice. Reach out.
3. Write, then promote — do more writing than promoting
I love writers, because when they get over something, they get over it with gusto. A writer may hate promotions, but once he gets over that, he has the tendency to swing too far in the opposite direction. Writing’s forgotten, and it’s all about the number of followers on Twitter.
You’re a writer, so writing comes first. Everything else can wait; do more writing that promoting.
Tip: I know that many writers worry about book marketing, but honestly? If you’ve just uploaded one ebook to Amazon, forget promotions for now. Consider this. Even if people buy your one ebook, what then? What do they do next? Before you promote your ebooks, have lots of material for people to buy.
4. Stretch yourself: go for goals you KNOW that you can’t reach
Over the years, I’ve talked about Wildly Improbably Goals… WIGs.
Grab a pen and paper right now, and jot down FIVE WIGs for yourself. It doesn’t matter what they are. They can be as unrealistic as you choose. I work with writers every single day, and in all these years, I’ve yet to meet a writer who had a clear perspective on himself and his writing. Most writers set their goals way, way too low. You’re doing that too. WIGs are the antidote. Set some WIGs.
5. Create processes: it’s ALL process
Do you have processes in place?
For example, let’s say you’re reading the news, and you spot that a company you’d love to write for has moved to larger premises. So what, right? Wrong. DO something about that. Companies which move to new premises are expanding. Get in touch. Send them an intro, or a pitch.
If you had a process for making contact, you’d have:
- Boilerplate text for an email message
- A PDF portfolio you can attach
- A contacts list you can call up at the press of a key
At the very least, you need to have a “news” folder to which you save news stories, and which you scan once a week. (Schedule that as a recurring task.)
Everything you write has a process. Create checklists, as well as boiletplate material for everything. If you create a document, text, or an image you’ll use again, save it, and ideally have it available as a macro, so you can use it with a few keystrokes.
Happy writing. 🙂
Make 2015 the year you turn your creativity into a profitable business
Writers approach me every week, sending me messages that they “want to write.” That desire is important. Here’s why: if you want to write, you can. Your desire shows that it’s possible for you.
However, your desire to write is only part of it. Many writers write as a hobby. It’s fun, and fulfilling. However, if you want to sell, you need to develop a professional mindset, and put all the puzzle pieces into place, so that you can do that.
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