When you’re writing to sell, your time is literally money. Many freelancers give up because they can’t take the constant pressure.
Unfortunately, inspiration and creativity ebbs and flows. You might not be in the mood to write, but you must because your deadlines loom.
Deadlines loom for self-publishing authors, as well as for freelancers writing for clients. Once you’ve set up an Amazon pre-order, it’s a non-negotiable deadline.
Writing to sell: avoid not-writing stress
Writing can be stressful, but not-writing is even more stressful. We’ve talked about procrastination; you’re avoiding short-term discomfort — but that leads to long-term pain.
My favorite acronym: DDT (Do, Don’t Think) helps many writers to be more productive. As Nike says — just do it.
Try these tips. They may just save your life (or at least, your sanity), if you’re writing to sell.
1. Dump your brain: you know more than you think you do
Do a brain dump. What’s a “brain dump”?
Basically, in a brain dump, you make a list of everything you know about the topic… If you’re writing fiction, you dump down any ideas for characters, plot and conflict which occur to you. You’ll be amazed at how much material you “know”, when you sit down and make your brain dump list.
Brain dumps are immensely useful. I use them during most stages of the writing process, and commend them to you. They help you to write when you think you “can’t”.
2. Each day, focus on your most important project and related tasks
Overwhelmed? I’ve started using Jake Knapp’s “Burner List” strategy for creating a To Do list. I tried it when I found that I was spreading myself too thin.
It’s worth reading the post in which Jake describes his Burner List:
In the top left-hand corner, write the name of your most important project and underline it. Then list the to-dos for your top project — any task you can do in the next few days to move it forward.
Basically, with this strategy, you have ONE project which gets most of your attention. In the stovetop of your mind, it’s on the front burner. You have another project on the backburner. Other tasks are relegated to “kitchen sink” status. They’re there, but don’t get much of your attention.
Here’s why I like this strategy:
- It gives you permission to focus sharply. Concentrating hard on your major project fires up your inspiration and imagination. You’ll get the project done more quickly.
- You’re undistracted by “urgent” tasks. You dump them in the kitchen sink, and refocus on your front burner and back burner tasks.
- You’ll discover that you have more time than you think you do. A sheet of paper holds your entire To Do list, and that’s magical, if you’re someone like me who has enormous project and tasks lists.
Yes, you have other lists with a dozens of tasks, but they’re not on your sheet of paper so you don’t have to worry about them.
3. Speak up: use your voice for small writing tasks
Dictation helps you, when you’re staring down the barrel of deadlines.
We discussed dictation in Write More, Sell More: 5 Tips To Make Dictation Work For You. Initially dictation feels weird:
You’re used to writing using the keyboard. Using a microphone will seem odd at first. You’re more focused on speaking, than you are on what you’re trying to write. Dictate easy material like email messages and blog posts while you’re getting accustomed to dictation.
Yes, it takes time to get comfortable using dictation. However, when you’re writing to sell, it’s well worth investing a few hours in familiarizing yourself with it. The hours you spend today can potentially save you whole days and weeks in the future.
Most of the time, writing to sell seems like the world’s best gig. At other times, not so much. The above tips will relieve some of the pressure.
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