Your career is built on your writing habits. Whether you’re a successful, selling writer or not, your habits are responsible for where you are today. Want to change your writing life? Simple. Change your habits.
Build pro writing habits: start with the most important habit
My favorite question for new students is always: “What did you write yesterday?” It’s a very important question, because if you don’t write, you can’t sell. Writing — creation — always comes first.
As you might imagine, when it comes to building pro writing habits — writing is the most important habit.
1. WRITE! Writing is your most important habit, always
Writing each and every day is an essential habit to develop. I know it sounds like a big challenge, so if you wish, you can choose to write every weekday, and give yourself the weekend off.
Consider this however: if you take the weekend off, you’ll dread Mondays. Writing seems to be a muscle. The more you do, the more you can do. Take a break, and your writing stops and stutters when you start again.
Oddly enough, it doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write. So if you’re in the famine part of a freelancer’s feast/ famine cycle, and have no client work today, write anyway. Inspiration happens while you’re writing.
2. Promote daily, while remembering your marketing mix
I often use this mantra: create, and promote.
You need to write, otherwise you’re not a writer. In addition to writing, you need to promote, otherwise you won’t have readers. Promotion isn’t marketing. If you ever take a marketing course (an excellent idea for writers), you’ll discover that promotion is only a small part of the “marketing mix”, which is: product, price, promotion and place.
Writers often conflate marketing with promotion — this results in confusion. Marketing is much more than promotion.
Let’s look at an example. A popular question for ALL writers is: “How much do I charge?” “Price” is part of the marketing mix, so to determine price, you also need to remember the product, the individual promotion, and the place in which you’re selling.
So, let’s imagine that you have an ebook. How would you consider product, promotion, and place, to determine the price? Let’s say you’re selling your ebook on Amazon only (Amazon is the place.) That immediately restricts you, because you need to take into consideration:
- How much other authors are charging for similar ebooks. This is a VITAL consideration BEFORE you write your ebook, because if you choose a category/ genre with few readers, where authors are giving away ebooks, you may want to choose another category/ genre. If you don’t, you’ll be disappointed in your sales. You may even think “I’m a bad writer” when the fact is that the category/ genre you chose determined your poor sales — it had nothing to do with your writing ability;
- Whether you’ll enroll your ebook in KDP Select (making it free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers). How would that affect sales of this ebook, and your other ebooks?;
- Where and how you’ll promote. You’re giving Amazon an exclusive on the ebook, this limits your options for promotion;
- And so on, and on…
Marketing is a huge factor in your success as a writer. Therefore, do promote something every day, but remember that promotion is only part of the marketing mix for anything you’re selling. When you take product, price, promotion and place into account, many of your questions about marketing will answer themselves.
3. Read, daily, for better ideas, and better connections (and more income)
Writers read. You’re expecting people to read your writing, therefore you need to know what you’re talking about. 🙂
Someone once said that being a writer means always having homework. That’s very true. You’ve always got plenty to read: research materials, client materials when you’re writing for clients, other ebooks when you’re writing ebooks… And of course, the news: both general, and specific news which relates to writing.
Reading never ends, and there are never enough hours in the day. Read.
4. Manage your time: do important stuff FIRST
Time management is an essential habit for any writer. My best tip: do your important stuff first, when you’re fresh, if you can. I’ve noticed over the years that when I do my most important writing before I do anything else, I get more done.
Do you procrastinate? Me too. Sometimes procrastination is a good thing. An example… You may find yourself “blocked” when you’re writing a novel. However, the block turns out to be a good thing, because you realize that your novel’s running off the rails. When you get it back on track, your block vanishes.
Mostly however, procrastination is just a habit. Be aware of it, and aim to build productive habits so that procrastination doesn’t kill your writing career.
Building good writing habits takes time, but it’s worth the effort
We’re always building habits. Sometimes they’re poor habits. If you get into the habit of ignoring deadlines for example, you’ll lose clients. Aim to build good writing habits, and you’ll automatically eliminate bad habits.
How long does it take to build a habit? That depends on your consistency. Just keep up your good writing habits, until they become automatic, and then you can relax. You no longer need to think about writing daily for example, because it’s just something you automatically do.
Happy writing. 🙂
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