There is no better medium of expression from one person to another than writing provides. Taking writing seriously for the last year and a half has changed my life. I’m making good money from this side hustle I love. I’m growing as a writer, gaining confidence from successes, allowing me to reach for more opportunities in the content creation domain.
But really, I’ve always considered myself a writer. Just never paid for my words until I got serious and got up the nerve to share publicly.
Though, I’d still write for free. The creative part of me demands I live a life that makes sense, which includes writing.
I still write letters to friends and family who are important. Writing organizes my thoughts and feelings. I use it as a form of meditation to increase my health — mental, emotional, intellectual, spiritual.
What is takes:
- Attention on one thing — writing — for three months until it became a habit
- The courage to fail in public
Here are 7 strategies I implemented.
1) Bake a cake.
I had no idea what I was doing when I started sharing publicly. The first part was to write. So, I wrote. Everyday. For 30 days straight, publishing one article a day, until that challenge turned into 60 days and then 90. After 90 days of consistently posting an article a day, I gave myself Saturdays and Sundays off.
I was clumsy at first, unsure, unaware of marketing, blogging, and how to churn out content with little friction. Not until I developed my own recipe for writing over 10,000 words a week did things really start to happen.
Find your recipe, bake your cake.
The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll see success. Until you have your own writing recipe, copy others and hone your voice while doing so. Form a template, make it your own through voice, processes, and structure.
2) Steal from the best.
To develop a recipe that works for you, steal the best part of a writer’s strategy. The best part of a writer’s strategy is one that works for you — you’re able to do it with the least amount of resistance. Take from writers who have more experience than you have.
I stole how to develop a writing habit from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.
I stole my routine from Tim Denning for achieving flow state. Flow is when you’re on a writing roll, and nothing can stop you. Hours go by that feel like minutes. Tim Denning schedules in two really long writing days, maximizing his flow state to produce crazy amounts of content. I think he posts like ten times a week. His writing has substance to it — heft — a lot of value for the reader.
I stole how to write better from Joshua Millburn’s writing. I read his blog a lot and took his online class, “How to Write Better.” His writing is a great example of how to write successful blog posts. He is clear, concise, and cuts out the fluff.
Once you steal pieces, make up your own recipe, do it differently and better.
3) Act as if.
The truth is you are a writer as soon as you say you are a writer. All of us are writers. We write emails. Some of us write Instagram or Facebook captions.
As soon as you say you’re passionate about writing, act as if you are a writer and write — you’ll know soon enough if you are really passionate about writing if you continue to write and not stop when you don’t immediately see results.
An affirmation or an incantation said every day can become true if you say it enough. Belief is essential for change. Think of all the negative things you believe about yourself, that your inner critic bombards you with daily, that you have no trouble believing.
If you tell friends, family, acquaintances at parties over and over that you are passionate about writing, then guess what happens? Eventually, you are there. You are passionate about writing.
Cultivate your passions through saying it aloud, “I AM A WRITER,” and then by doing, there’s a lot of action that has to go in to becoming, but belief comes first.
By acting “as if,” you are doing something positive that gets you there faster, along with doing the thing! — writing.
4) Figure out why you want to write.
Does it make you feel good? Do you like the romance that comes from saying, I’m a writer? To communicate and express yourself?
My answer has evolved over time.
First, it was to understand myself and organize my thoughts. After I write for long sessions, I feel lighter, 100 percent of the time.
Now, I write to be read. To communicate and express myself as well.
You need to know the why, so you can figure out what you want to write and to whom.
5) You can be grammatically pristine, but your writing will lack expression.
Good writers are grammatically correct and make few mistakes. Great writers know what the rules are and break them anyway.
A textbook explaining algebra is grammatically pristine but boring as hell to read. It’s lacking expression.
When writers break the rules in thoughtful ways to express who they are, it adds to voice and tone. You also don’t want writing to be 100 percent expressive. Expression for the sake of expression isn’t interesting either.
Have an expressive palate that communicates as well. Successful writers effectively communicate what is on their minds in a powerful, clear and concise way.
6) When you add value, people share.
If people find value in what you write, they tend to share it. If your audience is thinking, “my mind is blown,” they’ll engage. It is the absolute best way to market your work and find an audience. Quality and uniqueness are essential. Blowing someone’s mind usually comes with telling a good story.
Use the internet deliberately, stick with content where you find value. I have my favorite blogs and writers where I go for inspiration. It’s the content I tend to share. The same is true for other readers.
When they find value, they are moved to action — share, engage, follow, buy your products, become a true fan.
Focus on adding value for your audience.
7) Writing is an exchange of consciousness between the author and the reader.
Instead of thinking writing is a lonely gig, remember you are writing to communicate with someone — your reader. Make writing less of a solo gig by including the reader in your mind when you write.
My best writing is when I’m writing to someone. Pick someone. Think of an old friend you have a close relationship with, to whom you can say anything, and they love you anyway. That is how you should think about your audience. Be relatable, let the walls down and express yourself with the authenticity you do to a trusted friend.
Writing expresses the internal life of a human being more than any other art form. Words have impact. Writing can communicate between two people more than any other medium can. Music comes close. But writing is by far the most communicative between author and reader.
That is why we fall in love with some books more than others.
8) Learn what good writing reads like.
Good writing is urgent. It has to make me want to keep reading. There has to be a connection between the author and the reader.
I have to feel some sort of emotional or intellectual connection. It has to resonate on some level. It has to be beautiful, not flowery. But beautiful. The bones of a story can hold the beauty. It can be beautiful in how it communicates or expresses something relatable, profound, or intelligent.
9) There are several different types of writing.
There are many ways to express yourself as a writer. Pick one or all. Good writers attempt all forms, primarily out of boredom or “writer’s block.”
Although, I don’t believe in writer’s block. I have never had it. I’ve had days when I don’t want to write. Those are days when I allow resistance to stop me from writing. Resistance comes in many forms; fear, judgment, self-criticism, you name it.
Ignore resistance and write anyway.
Six types of writing:
- Business writing — corporate newsletters and email.
- Prescriptive nonfiction — life advice in the form of self-help, improvement, lifestyle.
- Journalistic writing — report the news opinion free.
- Narrative nonfiction — the memoir similar to a novel but based on true events or stuff that actually happened to you.
- Fiction — to live the life and emotions of other characters.
- Poetry — literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.
Here is the short take:
- Bake a cake and find a recipe that works for you.
- Steal from the best.
- Act as if.
- Figure out why you want to write.
- You can be grammatically pristine, but your writing will lack expression.
- When you add value, people share.
- Writing is an exchange of consciousness between the author and the reader.
- Learn what good writing reads like.
- There are several different styles of writing.