You’re a commercial writer, which means that you write to sell.
Writing isn’t a hobby for you, although chances are that it was a hobby before it became your profession. This means that your income counts, so it pays to be ruthless when it comes to conserving your writing time, and treating your writing like a business.
A little while ago a writer asked me for “writing secrets”. The short answer is: write. Write a lot.
Of course, there are additional secrets for success when you write to sell, so let’s look at them.
Secrets you need when you write to sell
I offered three secrets in this article, Writing To Sell: 3 Secrets You Can Use Today, and suggested that you:
- Make the most of your inventory.
- Be brave.
“Be brave” counts. From the article:
Pay especial attention to tip 3. I nagged one writer to step out of his comfort zone. I suggested that he was pricing his services way too low. I told him which market to approach, and how to do it. A phone call later, he had a gig at 4x his regular hourly rate.
1. When you write to sell, your opportunities are limited only by your creativity and imagination
Today, writers have it made. If you’re not booked solid for at least three months, smarten up. 🙂 The work’s out there.
Amazon is a huge marketplace all on its own, so remember to write books in your spare time. You can write a book in a couple of days and have it pay your mortgage for a year, and it needn’t be a long book either.
2. Develop a writing habit: nothing replaces good habits
Over time, writing becomes a habit. It’s just something you do, you don’t need to force yourself to do it. It’s your default setting.
When you’re building a writing habit you need to:
- Schedule your writing for the same time each day;
- Write in one place, whether it’s your home office or at a desk in your living room;
- Create a word count goal. This can be a tiny 100 words when you’re building your writing habit.
If you focus on building a writing habit, you don’t need any secrets at all. Let’s say that you created a habit of writing 500 words of a novel every weekday. That’s 2,500 words a week. Over a year, 50 weeks (you get two weeks of vacation), that’s 125,000 words — two novels.
3. Create processes, with checklists, to eliminate procrastination
Create processes for every form of writing you do.
Have processes for:
- Creating proposals (use a proposal generator);
- On-boarding clients;
- Writing a client project;
- Maintaining your blog and social media accounts;
- Writing a book, or a novel.
Creating processes saves time.
You know what you need to do, and you go ahead and do it.
4. Journal — please
You know much more than you think you do — the operative word here being “think”. As I said in Journaling To Build A Writing Habit (And Succeed As A Writer)
Neuroscientists look on your unconscious as a super-computer. However, your conscious awareness is limited to what you’re aware of, and this is a challenge. If you restrict your writing to what you think you know, you’ll write little.
Evernote (one of my favorite apps) calls itself your second brain. Your journal isn’t your second brain; it’s an exploration of your real brain, your unconscious mind.
Remember to have fun with your writing, especially when you write to sell
Avoid putting pressure on yourself when you write. Aim to have fun with it. Stress chokes your writing; you’ll write little, and you’ll be miserable.
“Have fun” is a valuable writing secret too. 🙂
Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income
Resources to build your writing career
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