All writers have challenges, whether they’re new writers, or are long-established professionals. The difference between beginning writers and professionals is that the professionals have a writing process which helps them to work through their challenges.
Although professional writers’ writing processes vary in the details, there’s one constant. We’ll get to it in a moment.
Your writing process answers the question: “What Did You Write Today?”
A writer we’ll call Ryan contacted me. He’s been writing for online publications and the pay is minimal. He’s paid around $100 for a well-researched article. He’d make more per hour if he took a cleaning job. Since his day job is coming to an end, Ryan wants to know how to make more money from his writing.
I asked him: “What did you write today?” He told me he hadn’t written anything. He’s sent out a few queries, and he’s waiting to hear from the editors.
I suggested that to get paid like a professional, Ryan needs to develop a writing process which focuses on writing.
Writers like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Jack London have a writing process which may vary in the details, but has this constant: writing.Write! If you’re not writing, you have nothing to sellClick To Tweet
All the professional writers I know focus on their writing. Selling is secondary; it has to be, because if you’re not writing, you have nothing to sell.
When Dean Koontz finishes a novel, he brainstorms titles for the next one. As soon as he has a title, he starts writing. Jack London wrote a thousand words a day, every day. Somerset Maugham wrote every morning, as soon as he finished his breakfast.
Writing Process: Stop Thinking, Start Writing.
You may be thinking that “start writing” is all very well for writers of fiction. However, it works for every writer, no matter what you’re writing. You may be a copywriter who’s writing for businesses, a blogger, a nonfiction writer – it doesn’t matter. You need a writing process, and it needs to be focused on writing.
Your writing will always enable you to resolve any challenges you may have.
Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages have been popular with writers for 20 years. Morning Pages are three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing, written first thing every morning. They’re brilliant for writers who’ve never established a writing process, because they take the pressure off. You don’t have to think about anything, you just need to transcribe the words which appear in your mind.
I encouraged Ryan to try Morning Pages, because they’ll help him to think through his challenges. A couple of days after starting Morning Pages, he contacted me and asked about writing for businesses. I suggested he work with the copywriting mastery program. No matter what kind of writing you do, experience with copywriting – writing to sell – is always useful.
A week after that, Ryan told me that he was blogging for a company. The idea occurred to him while he was writing his Morning Pages. He contacted several companies with which he did business in his day job, and he’s now got an on-going blogging gig. He told me that not only do his Morning Pages help him in his writing, they also made him more confident.
He said: “I just got the idea, and I contacted the companies, without thinking about it. Before Morning Pages, if I got an idea like that, I would have convinced myself that the idea was stupid.”
Writing Makes You Brave: You Think Like a Writer.
As Ryan discovered, you get ideas while you’re writing. Then you put those ideas into action. Without thinking about it. Writers write. That’s blindingly obvious, and to writers who struggle, it seems TOO obvious. 🙂
Consider this. Your writing is always a collaboration between your conscious and your subconscious mind. It’s your subconscious which does all the work. As you may know, in addition to my stable of copywriting clients, I have ghostwriting clients as well. This means that I need to write – I’ve got many deadlines.
I’d never be able to meet those deadlines if I didn’t free write every day. I start and end the day with free writing, and I spend ten minutes free writing before I start a new project. If I get stuck, I set a timer, and write. Writing will always solve all the problems you have with your writing, and it manages to solve many of your problems in your daily life, too.
Developing a writing process is simple: write. That’s the one and only big secret.
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