At least once a week, I receive a message from a writer who enjoys writing, and would love to make money from his creativity. But his fears get in the way. Let’s look at five tips to help you to overcome your fears, and develop your own creative business.
1. Develop a “baby steps” mindset: do one thing at a time
Mindfulness is all the rage these days. You don’t have to practice meditation to get the gist of mindfulness — although meditating couldn’t hurt. Basically, mindfulness is just common sense: it’s focused concentration. You stay focused on what you’re doing at this precise moment, and nothing else. When you do that, your fears can’t overwhelm you.
Is it a challenge? Yes, and no. Yes, because we live in a crazy culture and aren’t used to paying attention to just one thing. And no, because when you’re distracted — and you will be distracted — you simply bring your attention back to what you’re concentrating on.
For example, in our second tip below, you look at what you’ve written in the past year (or more, if you’ve been writing for a while.) You attempt to match your writing with what buyers are looking for.
Here’s what will happen when you do this. You’ll open a folder on your computer, and before you’ve looked at a single document, you’re distracted by your inner editor, who kvetches: are you mad, no one will ever pay for your writing… you don’t know what you’re doing… etc.
Expect these kinds of distractions. Most of your distractions will be from your inner editor.
People will distract you too. Someone will knock on your office door, or your kids will ask you to do something, or your partner will announce that it’s time to take the dog for a walk.
Tell them: “Not right now. Later.” Then just go back to what you’re doing.
Chunk every project down into small tasks, and whenever you’re distracted (distractions will happen many, many times at first), acknowledge each distraction, and go back to your small task.
If you take baby steps, one small task after another, you’ll strengthen your ability to concentrate. This eliminates fear, because your fears never get a chance to grow.
2. Match what you like to write, with writing services for which buyers pay
Let’s say that you’ve been writing short stories. No one will pay for them, will they?
Yes, they will. You can upload your short stories onto Amazon. Alternatively, you use the writing skills you’ve developed writing short stories, and can create Web content. Content marketing is hot today. Companies buy content to use as promotion.
3. Shy? Sell products, instead of writing services
Perhaps you’re shy. Many writers are. The thought of facing clients and doing presentations makes you quail. That’s fine. Create products, and sell them.
You can sell Web content, short stories, novels… Amazon’s Kindle Store is a boon for writers, but you can go beyond the Kindle Store too, and sell your products on the Web.
All that’s required is that you write, and focus. (See our first tip. Concentrate on one thing at a time. Baby steps.)
4. Make connections, and get paid more
The more people who know you, the more your creative business will grow. For example, early in the 1990s, I wrote for several tech magazines. I loved it, because I loved playing with computers and software — I still do.
My byline appeared in magazines, so acquisitions editors at publishing companies approached me. I contributed chapters to several tech books. Then I was hired as a ghostwriter on several projects. And then I was hired to write business books.
The more connections you make, the more you’ll be approached by people who see your name. That’s always been the case.
Making connections is simple. Approach people, or get your name out there, and wait for them to approach you.
5. Approach businesses, rather than publications — and don’t allow manipulation
Apropos of making connections — approach businesses, rather than publications.
Publications tend to manipulate writers.
Several writers have shared their experiences with publications. Not only do some publications expect you write the article you’re assigned, you’re also expected to promote the piece: through your social media accounts, and by asking for links from other websites.
Read your contracts carefully. Your social media accounts are valuable. They’ve taken time and energy to grow. Charge for promotion on your accounts; don’t promote for free.
Generally speaking, companies won’t try to rip you off as much as publications will. If you’ve got social media accounts, they’ll pay you for promotions.
Today, if you love to write, you can develop your own creative business. All that stands in the way is you. Ignore your inner editor. Focus on baby steps, and you’ll overcome your fears.
Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits
Want to turn your writing into a creative business? Over the past few months, we’ve had many queries asking when the Your Creative Business coaching program would return, and we’re happy to announce that it’s back. Get started today: put your creativity to work.
How to profit from your writing: online store.
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