The Secret To Making A Living As A Writer | How To Make Money As A Creative Writer
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The Secret To Making A Living As A Writer | How To Make Money As A Creative Writer
The Truth About Writing Time
Author Amanda Hocking was making $9000 a month on a book she wrote in 15 days four months after self publishing. Four years later she had made $2 million with her paranormal romance books priced between $.99 and $2.99, signed a multi million dollar deal with St. Martins press for a print trilogy, and optioned for movie rights on her first book.
Her first six books were each written in 45 days or less, while she worked a day job.
She has no formal education nor did any marketing in the beginning of her career.
It’s not enough to have a great story idea, nor is it enough to know how to write. You must have a passion, that is a definite, but most importantly: you must write every day.
You hear it all the time! Write every day! But, do you actually make time for writing? You know you have to, otherwise the book will never be placed into the readers hands, so how come you are not taking this imperative advice?
Life gets in the way. Bedtime happens much faster than you imagined. Unexpected distractions dangle their shiny bodies before you… Not enough time for writing is the number one complaint amongst would-be writers.
You must make a decision to write each and every day. Even if it is for 10 minutes. Your day is made up of many choices. You do not have to write- you choose to write.
Todays writing challenge is to commit to a certain time you will set aside to write each day. It’s best to choose the same time of day, that way you train your brain that “it’s writing thirty!”
It’s not enough to find time to write. You must make time to write.
Finding time means squeezing in between activities and realizing how busy your schedule is, making time to write means you’re being proactive. You are setting your schedule around your desire to write as opposed to building it into your schedule.
Feel the difference?
Making time means you are choosing writing. It is based on you determining that your writing is more important than the other things you could be doing. Making time means you are choosing to be a writer because writing is your priority.
We can each take ten minutes a day to dedicate to one thing. If this seems daunting, set aside just 5 minutes a day. Set your timer and just write. Many times you will find your story keeps flowing onto the page long after the alarm has beeped.
Do not allow any distractions! This is your time for your future.
And stick to your choice.
Pick a time and write for 10 minutes today. How about right now? There is no better time than the present 🙂
How to Find Ideas From Your Life
It took a while to start making money when I first started writing. Most of the assignments I received were for pennies if I made anything at all. I studied the books and articles that taught how to write professionally. I examined successful authors to see what they were doing right and emulated some of their ways.
I still wasn’t making much. Writing was definitely more of a hobby than a career at this point. Well, judging by my paycheck at least.
But I was determined to write professionally, full time.
A few months later I was asked to do a column. My first! I was to write two funny but useful articles on survival and apocalyptic stuff per week. I was stoked!
I turned in my first article after working on it all day. My editor loved it. Same for the second article.
When I turned in my third he emailed me with suggestions for a revision. He informed me that he wanted me to write in my own voice, that I was copying the style of the pre-existing articles too much.
But… thats what worked I thought.
So I went in search of how to find my voice as a writer.
The revisions to the third article were a success. “Keep doing what you’re doing,” my editor said, “and you’ll become a great writer.”
This was all the motivation I needed. I stopped modeling after everyone else and started doing my own thing. I broke the rules and made up my own. I used my own experiences to bring realism into my writing.
My own life experiences cannot be replicated by anyone else, and nobody alive has my perspective. Because of this realization, my writing is unique and I have found my voice.
And now I support myself and three teen boys with my writing income alone.
You see what I did there?
I used an experience from my personal life to explain this article.
There are writing ideas all around you, happening all the time. There is always something to write about- pay attention! Once you realize this you will have a constant flow of chatter for your writing.
- Carry a notebook with you wherever you go. You will be amazed at how many tidbits you will be placing in it once you have it with you all the time! Keep it by your bed, too, to record those crazy dreams you forget if you don’t write down! And write your thoughts and observations down immediately.
- People watch. It’s an amazing idea generator! Jot down the interesting or funny things they do, how they act, and words they say. Note the details. Bring your notebook to the park or a coffeeshop and sit and watch. You can make it more niche related by hanging out at the car repair shop if you have a scene that makes sense, or a popular highway rest area. Get creative! Go to the theater and observe the people in the lobby. Hang out by the grocery checkout lines during rush hour to study behavior of both the tired shoppers and overworked cashiers. The sky’s the limit!
- Leonardo da Vinci believed that to truly understand something you must look at it from at least three different perspectives. When you are people watching for instance, look at your subject from their own point of view- put yourself into their shoes so to speak. Then look at them from their partners point of view. Then that of the store owner’s or their dogs. This will give you a deeper understanding of the whole picture.
The more you are aware of and watch the details of all the little things that happen around you all day, the more story ideas you will gather from life.
Why don’t you just try the assignment below;
Write where you are.
Take the next ten minutes and write what you feel, see, taste, smell, hear and think right now. Note the depression in the cushion of the chair beneath you and the slightly irritating tag itching your neck. Feel the temperature in the room, the tightness in your left calf and feel just how heavy your head is. Describe the flavors of the coffee you just sipped. Is that happy bird outside really saying “pretty bird?”
Use as much detail as you can and really tell the story of you as you are right now.
This exercise will do wonders for your awareness and observation skills, and help tremendously in descriptive writing.
Master the Art of Captivating Your Readers!
Q: How do you make your writing alluringly addictive?
A: Seduce your reader with attractive promises so they’ll be enchanted onto the floor to dance with your words all night long.
Unless you only write in a journal you want your work to be read. Believe it or not, placing your story or articles in front of people is not terribly difficult.
But getting those people to keep reading all the way through? That’s where things get tricky.
Consider blog articles: some grab your attention and hold on for dear life. Some are great out of the gate but you quickly click away a couple of paragraphs in, and go off in search of something that doesn’t cause your mind to wander. And you pass right on by other articles which appeared so insignificant that you question if they were even there at all.
You could have the most brilliantly important thing in the world to say, but if your readers aren’t sticking around to read it then all is lost.
Millions of sets of eyes slide by just as many articles every hour. What I want is for those eyes to glide past his, then hers, then that one, but settle and stay on yours. Your work will be the Chosen One; the Viral one; the One Above the Rest.
There can be only one, after all 😉
The following guidelines will show you how to intoxicate the audience so your article or story is irresistible. The browsing audience becomes the addicted reader who will engage,
Seductive Headline or Title
This is your chance to capture the attention of the browsing public and entice them into reading. Your article could be about the most boring subject in the world, but if the headline is captivating you’ve caught yourself a saltwater fish who otherwise never would have dreamed of being interested in a post about the desert.
About 8 out of 10 people will read the headline but only an average of 2 out of 10 will read the rest.
Your headline should:
• Promise your readers something they want or need.
• Tell them what the content is about.
Keep in mind that every component of successful copy has one purpose- to persuade you to read on. Each sentence you write must tempt the audience to read the next sentence.
Similarly, think of each sentence as a promise to your reader that the next sentence will be just as amazing.
Think of your headline as the first impression and your reader as a gorgeous love interest. You want to give them a reason to accept a date with you. The title or headline is your pickup line.
They Eyes Have it
Today’s reader is visual. A beautiful image will catch their eye and give pizazz to the piece. In books it will be the cover- I hate to say it but people do judge a book by its cover.
Your image choice must be clear and easy to see. It should relate to the content- if you are trying to be humorous by placing an unrelated photo in your content, do so in a way where the reader will “get” the joke.
Sharp, punchy photos will add volumes to your content and make it leap from the sea of a million articles just like yours.
Choose images that you can legally use. Pixabay and Creative Commons are good free resources for attribution-free images you can use, and there are a number of paid membership sites for images. Some sites offer photos free to use if you credit the photographer. If the image is not your personal photo and you did not purchase it, be sure you have permission. If you use photos you are not authorized to use you risk breaking copyright and plagiarism laws, and could end up with legal action taken against you. It’s not worth the risk! Don’t steal images!
Satisfaction Without the Fillers
Readers today want their information fast. You must master the art of condensing the content and removing fillers, all while delivering the necessary information.
And you must make it entertaining!
Sound like quite the feat? It is! But it can be done and with practice you will find that you can write more in less time.
Your readers do not need much foreplay, nor do they have time to date around. They want to get right into a serious relationship with a worthy article (or book) that will give them everything they need.
Eliminating the “fillers” can be a painful process. You don’t want to lose substance or the personality of the piece. But when you remove unnecessary words you will find that your writing shines!
The general rule of thumb is that cutting about a third from the first draft of any writing- blog article or book- is likely to improve the piece. But if you’re certain that all the content should stay and the mere idea of eliminating any of it feels like someone is amputating your leg, do not despair. Dr. Kitten has options.
• Turn it into a game. Challenge yourself to reduce the word count as much as possible without losing content. Try rearranging the sentences. Play with it until it is polished and elegant. You will find that by doing this the piece flows better. This practice will bring you an awareness, and teach you to look for and write concisely with great creativity.
• Vanquish the V word. You can usually remove every very. It was very beautiful can be it was beautiful and you haven’t lost meaning. Very is not the only culprit who’s disappearance would go unnoticed.
• Watch for prepositions as they often indicate an area that can be condensed. The word of is the most likely indicator, but for and to provide clues too. For example, resistance to affection can be affection resistant, and evaluation of the talent can be talent evaluation.
Keep an eye out for multi-word phrases.
Look for redundancies. Often, we say the same thing in several ways:
When I was in college at the University of California, where I studied communication and English, one of my most interesting classes I took was investigative journalism.
I don’t really need to tell you I was in college at college! A tight revision:
When I studied communication and English at the University of California, one of my most interesting classes was investigative journalism.
Easier, prettier, and seven words shorter!
There’s no one correct way to edit. Each sentence holds numerous possible revisions.
White space is critical.
People dislike reading huge blocks of text, especially on the web- it’s hard on the eyes and attention. Break up paragraphs into smaller pieces instead. Most editors will not even consider reading if they do not see a large amount of white space upon opening your manuscript.
Engage. Involve. Intrigue. Emotion.
When you can engage your audience, involve them, intrigue or produce an emotional response, you have them hooked. This simply takes practice. Trial and error- you must see what works and write it in your unique voice. Practice and write every day.
Hooking your readers from the very first line and keeping them captivated is your goal. We will never be perfect, but that is the beauty of writing- we are constantly evolving. As is the art. By keeping these guidelines in mind we make it easy for the reader to enjoy and consume our work.
Distractacat: the practice of dangling shiny objects to divert a feisty rescue kitten.
Distractasteem: the act of allowing a popular social media blockchain to divert your attention from the tasks you should be accomplishing.
~He would have written and edited a novel by now had he not been distractasteeming every day!~
Ongoing studies by Prof. Gloria Mark GMD PhD at the University of California, Irvine suggest that we are more distracted from being distracted than we thought.
Let’s face it: distractions surround us. Buzzing by repeatedly like annoying flies, distractions account for hours of lost work-at-home writer productivity.
How many times do you think you are distracted during the average work day?
Multiply that number by 25.
That is the number of minutes of concentration you lose. It takes almost 30 minutes to resume the original task after being interrupted.
Multiple studies confirm this. You can no longer say it’s “just 30 seconds to check Facebook,” because that distraction won’t just kill your productivity for those few seconds, but for 23 minutes after.
And that’s only if another distraction doesn’t appear in that 23 minutes.
Not only do all these distractions sabotage your mental momentum and kill productivity, they have adverse emotional effects such as poor mood and higher stress levels.
Prof. Mark’s research into lost productivity from distractions included sending student observers to multiple finance and tech companies for three 1/2 days each. The researchers logged each employee’s activities and times every task to the second.
For Mark’s research, observers were sent to shadow knowledge workers at multiple tech and finance companies for three and a half days, Mark told Fast Company. Researchers logged each worker’s activities and timed every activity to the second. They found people switch tasks every 3 minutes and 5 seconds on average. And that half of all distractions were self inflicted.
Pausing a task to switch tabs and check Twitter is an example of a self-inflicted interruption. A co-worker coming over to discuss a project is not.
Distractions are one of the biggest productivity killers for writers. The temptation of social media chatter, emails, games, and the daily interruptions of career, house chores, children, television, and relationships will always be there.
There are strategies to help keep you on track!
Exterminate annoying distractions with the following tips:
Back to Basics
If you find the temptations of social media or anything in your computer irresistible, try writing with pen and paper.
Leave the house and write in a coffee shop, or take a walk and sit under a tree with your notebook.
By eliminating your kryptonite and changing venues, you are allowing a sharper focus which is defined for one thing: creative writing.
There are also productivity apps that turn off your internet connection until you have completed your pre determined amount of work.
Freedom is one that works with both Mac and Windows to block your internet connection for an amount of time you specify. Type in the number of hours or minutes you need and the internet will be banished so you can relax and create something beautiful.
Embrace the Enemy
It’s not defeat when it comes to your writing 😉
Instead of fighting and running away from your distractions, schedule them!
You heard right! Put on some coffee, brush off the welcome mat and practice your smile because you’re going to pencil in some time for interruptions to visit.
And why not? You love updating your profile and posting compelling images on social media. Hey, they are great outlets of creativity for writers 😉
By scheduling your messages and posts ahead of time by using a program like Hoot Suite, you won’t be tweeting while you should be writing. Hoot Suite allows you to type up your update or message, add links if you wish, then set a timer for it to be published live.
It’s great for vacations, too- simply type a weeks worth of articles before you go and set Streemian to publish one a day. You’ll be earning rewards while you sip Mai Tais on a tropical beach.
Whatever takes away from the time you have set aside for your writing is a distraction that must be addressed if you wish to be a successful writer.
Get Your Writing Noticed for Free!
The techniques are the same whether you are a Steemit blogger, run a website, or write books.
Steemit gives new writers an edge above other platforms for getting their work noticed. Posting your article here will place it in the feeds of your followers, in the New feed briefly, and in the Hot or Trending pages when it’s doing well. The tags you use help readers search for content they are interested in, and you can promote your post by sharing the link in SteemChat or relevant Discord chat rooms.
But what if you don’t have many followers? You must build a presence and gain a follower base to grow. And you must commit to networking every day.
Perhaps as important as your writing, networking can be intimidating. You have to expose yourself to strangers, worry if your comment is meaningful, and do a lot of self promotion- which many people are naturally uncomfortable with.
Networking and promotion is the same if you are a Steemit user, run your own blog, or write books- it is vital, you have to do it, and the methods are similar.
If you build it, they will come is the most destructive and dishonest phrase to believe if you want to be a successful writer. Nothing great has ever been built in a day. If you want to be successful you must work at it every day. If you are dedicated, consistent, and write original content you will grow.
Promoting and Networking Before You Publish
It sounds silly- you don’t have anything published; nothing to show the audience. But getting your writing noticed before anyone can even read it is not only possible, it’s a killer business move!
Leaving little snippets on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook will get people’s interest piqued. A simple little post like “working on a revealing article that’ll show you how to cut your living costs by 45%. # moremoney4play Stay tuned!” or “who hasn’t had writers block? I just learned a sweet technique to overcome it- I’m writing a post to show you how!” will plant a little seed and arouse interest.
If you are writing a book, do the same on your social media hangouts, “Just finished writing the kidnapping scene Chapter 3- my heart is still hammering my chest!” Or you can post snippets of interesting sentences to capture attention.
Create interest and stimulate an emotional response before you publish.
Register and be active in chat rooms, forums and groups (online and offline) where your audience hangs out. Note that you are a writer in your signature or “about me” area, and include links to already published pieces. But don’t just talk about your work! If all you do is self promote you will not find an audience willing to bother checking out your stuff! Make yourself useful- provide advice, read their stuff, help people with problems, be witty or informative or interesting. Talk! Make relationships wherever you go, and always remember that you are only as good as your worst comment. Do not be offensive or mean and stay out of needless arguments.
After You Publish
When your article or book is published, announce it to the world. Everywhere you can. Ask your family and friends to share to their followers.
Post the link in your signature or about me page on all the social media accounts, forums, and chat rooms you belong to.
Be excited! It’s contagious!
Keep doing the things you were doing before it was published, the wording will just be changed.
Give out free copies if it’s a book, and ask for reviews.
Find new avenues where your writing offers something someone needs and introduce yourself with, and offer a non pushy “I see you have problems with “X”. I used to until I found a cool way to overcome. I wrote this “title” to help others. Check it out!
Find websites that cover related topics. Pitch the bloggers with an article idea and allow them to use your article in exchange for a byline. This is where you introduce yourself to their audience by telling them who you are, where they can find you on the web, and link them to your blog or book sales page. Keep your byline short- you don’t need more than two sentences at most as you want the readers to click to your actual work. It’s like free advertising!
Morning Pages are Your Key for Ideas and Creativity
When I first heard about morning pages I brushed it aside. I mean, I don’t know about you but I can barely find time in the morning to finish a cup of coffee, much less write.
But the benefits claimed to be transformational to more than one’s writing, so the thought kept appearing in my stream of consciousness.
What are morning pages?
Created by writing coach Julia Cameron, morning pages are a creative unblocking tool that if used consistently promise incredible results.
Done first thing in the morning after you wake up and before you do anything else, morning pages are three longhand, stream of consciousness writing that you can complete in 15 minutes.
There is no wrong way to do them. Simply put a notebook and pen by your bed at night and when you wake write about whatever crosses your mind. Document your dreams, list the things you have to do today, write about your goals, health, passions or relationships. Freely write any thoughts you encounter.
The things you find yourself writing will even surprise you. Just go with it! They are for you and only you so do not worry about perfection- or even making sense. Morning pages clarify, provoke creativity and have even been shown to reduce anxiety.
There are numerous benefits reported by writers who use morning pages daily, including:
- Less complaining- you are already complaining to your notebook!
- Problem solving- tap into your subconscious mind.
- Creative “unblocking”
- Reduce anxiety by helping to ground you and clarify fears, vulnerability, etc.
- Focus and clarity, helping to center and clear your mind.
- New ideas- you open yourself to attracting change and ideas.
- Action- by writing about it, your energy follows.
- Increased creativity- you’ll discover things hidden or long stifled inside you.
Morning pages jumpstart your Idea Generator powers and take them to the next level.
Writing by computer is faster than longhand, however it is much more emotionally detached. It allows our inner critic to flourish since we know we can easily backspace and fix any mistakes.
Writing by hand takes longer. It is this slowness that allow us to connect to our emotional cortex and bring a depth to our perception.
Make time for Morning Pages. To be honest with you I do not have much time. As a Mama I cannot take on any tasks that are not improving my or my family’s lives. Morning pages are one of the important tasks that you should make time for, and, believe it or not give you back a little extra time! By making your mind clearer and sharper and “silencing” the noise, you are more productive and move efficiently through your day.
Why You Should Write Even if You’re Not a Writer.
Creativity is not something you’re born with. It comes easier to some people but it’s like a muscle- it must be exercised for it to work.
Keeping your creative juices flowing is an easy and effective way to become more creative no matter what you do without doing extra work. Writing is one of the best avenues for that, plus it’s helpful in many more ways.
One of the best ways to learn is to teach, and if you can’t teach- write.
Writing it down helps you remember things such as test materials and other important items, and it’s the best technique to organize your thoughts and ideas.
The act of writing forces you to think deeply about a subject from more than one angle as you have to express your understanding in a well-constructed way rather than swim through a jumble of thoughts in your head. This leads you to discovering more about the subject from sheer curiosity and the need to present it with value.
Writing also boosts your self-confidence.
Writing gives you a moment in time to reflect and digest, and to think deeply in the present moment. It allows you to focus, and with regular practice you have more and better ideas and your thoughts are clearer and more concise.
To quote one of the most successful businessmen of all time, Richard Branson:
He states blogging is good for you in more ways than one:
Writing every day boosts your creativity, health, happiness, and even lowers anxiety and stress levels.
Do you need any more reasons to write? Just write 🙂
How to Personify an Object
This activity will help you bring depth to your characters.
Take a simple object such as a rock, a toy, or a pencil, and bring it to life.
If the object could talk what would it say? What does it think and feel? What does it do all day, is it helpful or discarded, what does it observe, and what are it’s reactions?
Develop a character profile and perhaps a back-story. Write an inner monologue for this object.
The act of personified an object will stretch your imagination and trigger you to recognize often overlooked traits, thereby training you to develop your characters on a deep level.
Today’s task is to do just that- Personify an object. See my example Shoe. Note how Shoe has feelings much like any human.
After you have a few of these under your belt it’s time to step it up. Brainstorm a list of the most detached, impersonal, and dispassionate objects you can think of and challenge yourself to bring life and character into increasingly difficult inanimate objects.
How to Use Writing Prompts Right.
Staring slack-jawed at the computer screen while drool meanders down your chin will not make words magically appear. If your mind is blank you might have a case of Writer’s Block that demands treatment, STAT.
You won’t need a shot or swallow dreadful concoctions because writing prompts will help cure you!
By spending ten or 15 minutes creating a story around a preset theme you reset your brain, which is usually all it needs!
Prompts can also lead to bigger ideas when you get back to that thing you were writing before being attacked by The Block, build confidence, give a new spin or perspective based off of the prompt material, build your stamina with practice, and allow you to master techniques.
Your prompt can be anything- a line from a song or poem, a myth, a photograph or painting, the park you are sitting in while your toddler conquers the slide; anything that inspires you and gets your writing juices flowing.
The writing prompt itself doesn’t even matter! It’s what you do with it. So choose something interesting, or challenging.
Why You Need an Email List and the Super Easy Way to Do it
Are you a writer of any sort? An artist? Craftsman or photographer? If you answered yes you need an email list.
Right now you are reaching your audience on Social Media outlets like Steemit, facebook and twitter. But I wouldn’t count on facebook, for instance, in the long run. With all their breaches and shenanigans, they may soon be a thing of the past.
Not just for business owners and salemen, email lists allow you to connect with your ever growing fan base and have a guaranteed way to reach them.
If you are thinking you don’t have anything to say, you may be only picturing using your list for sales. But the growing trend is for transparency- people want to hear about what is going on, whether you have something in the works, been publishing daily articles on Steemit (your list can help bring in a greater audience here, too) took a much needed vacation, or already have something to sell.
I recommend monetizing your emails. If you do not have something to sell yet, get plugged in with an affiliate marketing platform and place a pretty ad at the bottom of your emails. This is a great way to get the feel for it, and a small ad is not pushy so it will not cross the uncomfortable threshold.
But your list belongs to you and you alone, and nobody can take it from you. Your list is how you will communicate with your audience. Besides, research studies have been conducted on this and they all prove that a much higher percentage of people open and engage with emails and the contents and links within over social media- where it’s easy to get lost in the noise. An email is more personal- it’s like you knocked on their door and left a written note.
What happens when a platform goes away or becomes obsolete? It’s not going to matter to you because I will share an easy plan to build an email list.
Find a Service
There are free and paid email services, and some of them have a free version so when you are famous and your list becomes huge you can seamlessly switch over. Keep in mind that moving your list from provider to provider is a lot of work. You will want to do some research and compare the services to find one that is right for you. Be sure that you read reviews, too.
The services have built-in analytics so you can see who opened your email, how long they read, and if they clicked on links. This will help you determine what works and what doesn’t.
First Come First
Add your family and friends. A simple text will work wonders here- “I’m starting an email list for (business or hobby here) would you like to be on it?” Be sure to verify their email address.
Give to Receive
To grow your list you must offer something of value.
They are giving their email address to you. This is a commitment to receiving your correspondence at least once a month. You must offer something in return.
You do not want to mail them less than once a month, or more than once a week.
Think about what you can offer the world. Brainstorm something small but useful. Something that fills a need, answers a question people have or solves a problem. Make it about them.
For email templates, you can find multiple examples on the internet, but Upscri.be is a super inexpensive option to make forms that I totally love. It also works with most email services.
Quality not Quantity
Now it’s time to start creating bad-ass emails! Take some time with this, this is after all your brand and the first impression your audience will have of you and your craft.
It will take time. Do not expect a mad viral outbreak in the beginning. Just like with business, writing and art- it takes time. Do not give up! You will realize yoru email list is the best thing you have done for your success by far. If you spend time in one area of your business it should be your email list.
Try not to feel overwhelmed. Ask people to join your list. Put your signup at the end of blog posts.
Those who want will happily sign up. And those who don’t will not think any different of you.
Do not overthink this, just ask 🙂
There IS a Best Time to Write!
Did you know that under certain conditions you’re less ethical? How about losing your problem solving skills or appearing stale and unimaginative?
We are well aware that there are preferred times of day to write. For many of us creative types this happens to be at night because our circadian rhythms are “off.” It’s often mis or undiagnosed and can be frustrating: we can be super tired in the morning, lag all afternoon, have to force ourselves like a zombie through dinnertime but when bedtime finally rolls around we are wide eyed and bursting at the seams with energy!
Everyone has an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm which regulates when we are awake and when we feel tired. People with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) have a shifted or longer circadian rhythm. Having a longer than normal circadian rhythm is particularly exasperating time because the body is operating on a 25 hour- or more- day. Each morning you fancy sleeping in a bit later and want to stay up longer at night. Life is moving too fast for your internal clock (and perceived reality) to catch up so you’re always running behind.
There is a way to reset your circadian rhythms. I’ll touch on that in a moment…
Red eye flights are popular options for business travelers. But research shows red-eyes disrupt your sleep cycle and make you less creative, less attractive, and even less ethical.
If you need to be present and in top form for that business trip consider opting out of red eye flights.
Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on alertness, awareness, problem solving skills, and innovative thinking to name a few. A recent study showed that sleep deprived individuals displayed more rude, unethical and inappropriate responses and even lost their moral compass making them more likely to cheat and steal. The sleep needy are also less likely to recognize these things in others. Basically, the drowsy public allows and indulges in immoral acts because they are not conscious of them. And interesting to note- the more morally conscientious you are, the more you are affected by lack of sleep.
It’s not me. It’s my circadian rhythm.
This translates into your writing, too. If you write while sleep deprived you run the risk of publishing unethical material you would otherwise never write. The scary part is you do not even realize this!
The best time of day to write is in the morning, after you have had a restful sleep. I admit this seems bizarre to those of us “night owls” who seem to gain energy from the moonrise rather than the sun. But studies prove time and again that the am hours are the writers’ creative “sweet spot.”
You have a limited reserve of willpower each day. Once it’s gone it’s gone.
Willpower is a necessary component of writing, primarily during those times when we just don’t feel like writing. Since it’s depleted with each task we do, it makes perfect sense that the best time to write is first thing in the morning- when we have the most willpower.
Science confirms that creative activity is highest during and immediately after sleep when the prefrontal cortex is most active. Studies comparing morning and night MRI scans note that mornings show more connections in the brain, which is a primary element in the creative process.
So what can we do about this?
Light therapy is the answer.
Getting a decent dose of sunlight in the mornings after waking up is the best way to reset your circadian rhythms. But if this is impossible due to weather or working in an office, then full spectrum lightbulbs are going to be your wake up writing buddy!
But most importantly- get enough sleep!
Your Future Path
They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a number of people to inspire and influence a writer and help them grow.
So why not;
Write a letter to your future self thanking yourself for all the things you did to get you where you are. Thank yourself for those you sought help from, and those who guided you. Be creative!
This fun little exercise helps supercharge your drive and motivation in a different way- instead of motivating yourself from the present forward, your motivation comes from a set path leading backwards.
Do You Know How to Eat an Elephant?
In order to raise hope and inspire his troops during a particularly tough battle at war, a General gave a speech which included the now famous phrase, “the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”
This phrase is now used as universal motivation for large or seemingly impossible tasks. Businesses and entrepreneurs alike incorporate the solution. By “taking one bite at a time,” you are breaking the project up into smaller, easily done pieces, so it is not so intimidating. You still have to accomplish the whole thing, but by doing little bits at a time you have a feeling of accomplishment and it does not seem so imposing. Simply by changing perspective and looking at the smaller pieces that make up the whole, you will not be so overwhelmed and the project feels more “doable.” This subconsciously raises your productivity level and morale, allowing an easier completion of the task.
Take the last two days for me. I have been overwhelmed by a number of unfavorable events caving in at me all at once. All negative, all adverse, and all brought upon me by forces beyond my control. I have been dealing with all of these at once, plus my normal daily activities such as earning a living and raising a family. Two days ago I had a nervous breakdown. Because I have felt overwhelmed by the sheer size of the obstacles, I have been attacking them at their full size in a desperate attempt to eradicate them as quickly as possible. But I am just one small human so I was crushed. Had I had the foresight to break them up into digestible pieces, I would have been able to slice the monsters at their Achilles and still have energy to continue battling. But the subsequent burn-out was so severe I suffered physical complications and could not accomplish even one little thing.
I tell you what: I learned my lesson. No matter the obstacle, no matter the size, if you break it down you can conquer and accomplish anything!
You have a career changing project due by Friday. When things are large sometimes we don’t know where to begin. By breaking up the to-do’s and making a list you take control and have tasks that can be accomplished. Monday: research. Tuesday: outline. Wednesday: type rough draft, etc.
Writing a novel is a big task that leaves many manuscripts gathering dust. But by breaking it up into do-able pieces- say 800 words per night or 30 minutes per day. Or outline by this Friday and character descriptions by next Friday then first chapter by the Friday after- you set yourself up for success.
Spring cleaning and organizing is an often put off project. Break it up into small chunks by focusing on one room at a time.
Do you know how to eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
So why not;
As a writer, what have you been putting off? What feels so daunting? Decide what it is you want to accomplish and break it up into small, easily accomplished tasks. Make a list and post it where you will see it every day. Be sure to cross off each task as you complete it- it’s amazing how satisfying crossing things off a list can feel!
Soliloquy Speaking: Bring Depth to Your Characters.
So much happens behind the scenes of every decision and problem. The inner dialogue you have in your head when you are faced with an important choice is a soliloquy.
Soliloquies let the audience know what the character is thinking. This is different from the dialogue as it never spoken to other characters- its purpose is to let the audience in on what that character is thinking. Identifying and recording your characters soliloquy during key times will drive the story and bring a depth and human aspect to your creations.
Not all soliloquies must be written into your story! Even the ones you don’t publish are extremely important to you the author.
I make a descriptive outline for every character I create. I list their physical details, give them hobbies and styles, and even a bad habit or two. We’re all human and habits come along with that. The more real and relatable you can make your character the easier your audience will accept and become emotionally invested in them- even the bad guys.
Inner dialogue is an ever-present part of being human. Our inner voice plays in the background frequently, as it would for your character if he were alive. Utilize this dramatic tool and note your characters soliloquy. This will do amazing things for your story, including:
- Depth. Your created characters will feel more real to the readers. It will open the character’s soul and speak the words that have been universally played in the heads of each of us all our lives.
- Drive. The plot will drive itself when you know how your character reacts.
- Understanding. Both you as the creator and the audience will have a deeper insight into the personality of a character, his or her emotions, and how and why they react.
- Empathy. It is important for the audience to feel empathy for characters. Emotional investment drives the reader to turn the page.
- Honesty and vulnerability. When people talk to others they can omit, sugarcoat, or completely change information. When you talk to yourself you tend to tell the whole, raw truth.
So why not;
Choose a dilemma in your plot where your character has a difficult decision and write a soliloquy. Place yourself in their frame of reference and really get into the mind of your character and use the appropriate fears, unease, angst, agonies or uncertainties they would be facing.
If you are not currently writing a story, choose a character from your favorite book or television show and imagine them having to make a difficult decision
This is a helpful exercise for life, too. When you become aware that internal dialogue is present in dramatic situations, you will realize that there is so much that happens that you will never know, and you will gain a more patient understanding that helps form a deeper compassion. In an argument for instance- when you have a fight with a loved one, you are only hearing a small portion of the “truth”, plus both of your “egos” are vying for attention and overriding the issue at hand. This will help you understand that there is so much more going on and give you a chance to delve deeper and see the real root of the issue and why their argument is important and valid to them. Rarely is anyone “wrong” in an argument.
Soliloquies will open your mind to the truth, in your writing and your life 🙂
The Japanese are a people rich in history and culture. They believe human life is precious and something to be cherished without a moment wasted, and their level of dedication to whatever they are doing at the moment is unparalleled. They believe that human relations are predestined and linked by a red string that the Gods tie to the pinky fingers of those who will find each other in life. Legend tells that the two humans who are connected by the thread will share an important moment in history. A story which will play out regardless of when, where or circumstance. The thread connecting them might get stretched or tangled, but it will never break.
This belief of the Japanese is not limited to couples or that “one” single individual a person is destined to find. The red string is linked finger to finger with all those whom we will make history with and all who we will help in some way.
The myth of the red string helps us to understand the whole of human experiences; romantic relationships, chance meetings with someone, and the small stories which flitter by during our days are neither accidents nor random happenings, but rather part of the whole human experience which we weave each and every day in each and ever seemingly random encounter.
According to this legend, you and I are linked by a scarlet thread. I found it important to share these words with you, and you found it important to read. Pinky to pinky you are linked to every one of your readers.
Do not fret over your writing. Never worry if it’s “good enough” or if anyone will ever read it. The ones who need it will- they are connected to you, and thus your story- by the red string. Your audience is there, and they will reach you when the time is right.
So why not;
Write something for you today. Not for pay, or fame, or your job. Just for you. Write what makes you happy. And write it with all the passion and beauty that it deserves.
Pardon Me, What Did You Say?
This legend tells an important tale about perception: how your audience interprets your writing, and helps you understand the human experience.
All the residents in a small, remote village in India were blind due to a rare disease.
One day while taking a walk, six of the residents met a man riding an elephant. They were intrigued, they’d heard stories about such beasts but never encountered one, so the rider allowed them to touch the elephant so they could tell the rest of the blind villagers what an elephant “looked” like.
The six men approached the elephant and stood around it touching a different spot to understand the beast. When satisfied they thanked the rider profusely, then rushed back to the village.
When they arrived home they called for their fellow villagers to gather, excited to tell them about the elephant.
“What is an elephant like?” Asked the curious blind residents.
The first man, who’d touched the elephant’s chest, explained, “It is built like a giant and sturdy wall!”
“No way!” Interrupted the second man, who had been holding the beasts tusk,” the elephant is short and stumpy but smooth to the touch, and it had one sharp end! More like a fat spear than a wall!”
The third man, who’d handled the elephant’s ear, interjected, ” No no, you are both wrong. The animal is like a giant leaf made of a thick wool which bends to the touch and in the wind.”
“Nonsense!” Cried the fourth man, who’d felt the elephant’s trunk. “An elephant is actually like a huge snake.”
“What is wrong with you all?” The fifth man shouted, addressing the other five men. He had touched the elephant’s leg. “Was it not perfectly clear to you that the beast was round and thick like a short tree stump?”
“This is absurd. I can’t believe not one of you got it right!” said the sixth man, who had climbed onto the animal and sat on it’s back. “The elephant is much like a fat, moving mountain!”
All of the villagers were confused. Legend has it no one in the village actually knows what an elephant looks like to this day.
This is the very same thing that happens to anything you write- be it a novel, article, short story, song lyrics or poetry.
Every person who reads your writing has a different perception and gain something different from it than anyone else. Each person on this planet has had a different upbringing and set of experiences, was conditioned with differing pre-conceived notions, and grew up with separate belief systems. My truth is a different flavor than yours. This does not make either of us wrong, just different. And because of this we approach information in dissimilar ways.
The same goes for arguments. Each person has their own brand of the truth and how they view the world. During an argument, both parties each have a small part of the whole picture but believe only they understand it fully. Frequently it takes the combination of all the viewpoints and opinions to show the true picture.
Keep this in mind when you are writing for an audience.
This will not change the way you write per se, but it will allow you to understand that every person who reads your work will get something different out of it, but know that they each got what they needed. And if you are writing something important, consider if your piece has enough information in it to be able to get your message across to various viewpoints.
And remember that Steemit has community members from all walks of life who live all over the world!
So why not;
Take something you are currently writing, or if you have no projects at the moment look at one of your recent published articles. Choose a viewpoint which differs widely from yours while keeping in mind the subject matter- if you are a 19-year-old computer science student choose a viewpoint such as a retired construction worker.
Now, if you write for a select audience- say you publish history articles for high school students, then you do not need to vary your perception too much. In that case you could look at your piece from the eyes of an exchange student to ensure the language is simple enough yet appropriate for the age group. Alternatively, if you write a piece on a medicinal plant which only grows in your homeland of Madagascar, you will want to provide plenty of information for those in your audience who do not live in the area as well as info on how the plant is used.
If you consider the audience when writing, you will help them understand the subject and view you as a trusted source, and come back for more knowledge.
Make Dialogue Work For You.
I used to think dialogue was one of the most difficult parts of writing a story. But the more I wrote, the more natural the dialogue felt. Now I’m able to write a much as a client asks for without sounding forced or trite.
Dialogue, or the natural conversation between characters, is one of the most important parts of a story. It propels your story forward (think: show, don’t tell) and is the biggest thing that causes your readers to have an emotional reaction. Publishers rarely even consider a fiction manuscript without a heavy portion of dialogue.
To help master writing dialogue, you must do two things:
- Listen to conversations. When you go to a restaurant eavesdrop on your fellow diners. Pay attention to the natural flow- the give and take of a conversation between two people.
- Practice. Write dialogue. All the time. Especially if it’s your weak spot.
SO why not;
Write a story entirely in dialogue. Make the readers feel the story just by what the characters are saying (and not saying) and how they’re saying it. See how long you can keep the story going using only dialogue.
Actions Speak Loudly.
We hear it all the time- show, don’t tell. Instead of telling your readers the man was angry show how he was shouting and swearing and speeding down the road with his foot pressed fully on the accelerator.
It’s sometimes easier said than done, but with practice you will get the hang of it and it will come natural- even while you are out and about going about your day.
Here are two fun Friday exercises to strengthen your descriptive skills. Choose one or do both!
- Task 1
Write a paragraph or two where your character executes a mindlessly simple task such as turning a doorknob, flushing the toilet or tying a shoe and describe it in great detail. Have the character marvel at it, and impress the reader with how strange and exotic that action truly is; make them feel it in a new way.
- Task 2
Describe how your character walks across an area where no-one is looking in a way that your audience can picture him perfectly and understands his personality just by the way he walks.
How Many Dots ’till You’re Connected?
Sometimes you have to look a little harder but there’s always a connection to be found. The Six Degrees of Separation theory claims that ‘any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries’.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to connect the dots in new ways.
By training your brain to be aware of and acknowledge seemingly unrelated connections, you will bring a fresh spark to your writings that your readers will appreciate.
This is quite humbling, actually, and you’ll realize that everything only appears unrelated on the surface.
So why not;
Write down important events in your life. Big or small, as long as they were meaningful to you. Things such as 18th birthday, first concert, day you met the love of your life, etc. Open your favorite search engine and find news headlines using those dates. You’re going to create a timeline of events which depict your life with the correspondence days newspaper headlines. Do not use news stories that involve you directly. Instead, focus on seemingly unrelated events and connect them to pivotal events in your life.
Begin With The End.
This is the end, my only friend. The end. Of everything that stands. The end.
Writing is an emotional endeavor. We show our hearts on our sleeves and open ourselves in a most vulnerable manner. The act of writing is filled with high highs and low lows. When the mental anguish and psychological brooding gets overwhelming it’s time to contemplate a change in mental scenery. Remember that you are the creator, and as such you should be enjoying your work. Don’t take it too seriously. Writing is, after all, simply a transcription of your daydreams.
You must write every day- I cannot stress that enough. Commit to 10 minutes a day and set a timer to keep you honest. But we all get mentally blocked or our brain gets lazy sometimes. If you’re stuck don’t know where to begin, try starting with the ending.
SO why not;
Begin with the End.
Imagine the most melancholy ending. Or the most viciously disturbing. And write it like your readers already know the character and are deeply invested in him/her. Describe it with such detail that you invoke a great emotional response. Make it powerful and provoking.
Writing about the end of your story will give your perspective a tweak, basically turning on an unused light from the opposite end of the room.
You Don’t Need the Money
Money. It makes the world go ’round. It’s the root of all evil to date. It talks. It doesn’t grow on trees. There are dozens of sayings about money, but the most important saying about money is actually mine.
It has to do with writing for our purposes here, yes, but you can apply it to anything.
This saying should be considered a mantra, to be used in any creative endeavor. Are you ready?
Here it is: Write like you don’t need the money.
We have a complicated relationship with money. It’s one of the top reasons given in divorce court, is responsible for a scary portion of doctor and hospital visits, and is the number one reported stressor in three out of four people. It’s one of the most powerful subconscious messages we receive from our parents and carry with us into adulthood, and we even develop deep-seated psychological issues centered around finances- or lack thereof.
I think it’s safe to say we have a love/hate relationship with money.
I’m not a financial guru, so I’m not going to claim to be the one who will help you rid yourself of limiting beliefs. I do know a phenomenal lady, a life change artist who does just this, however, and am more than happy to send you her way- just message me in chat or leave a comment and I’ll send you her info.
What I am going to do is share a valuable bit of advice.
You, my friend, are a creator. You are an artist. Much like the painter manipulates watercolors to make something recognizable on a canvas, you manipulate ideas and information into something recognizable on paper and on the screen.
You can wield words like weapons to hurt and harm. You can layer emotions to caress the reader and swell their heart with love. You carefully handled words can empower those lacking confidence. Strengthen the beaten. Bring light to the downtrodden.
You have the power to make someone laugh so hard their cheeks ache! Your carefully conceived creations can comfort the traumatized. You can manufacture an obsession, obliterate a belief, or destroy a family.
You can even start a war with your written words.
We give money a lot of power, much more than it deserves. And granted, most of us need do some of it to survive, but money is nowhere near as powerful as your words.
Don’t write for money. Write to share your hopes, dreams, and knowledge. Write to help and heal and inform. Write to entertain and amuse. Write to make things happen or prevent from happening. Write to empower others and yourself. Write to show your love and write what you love.
Don’t write for money.
Write to change the world.
So why not;
Write. Not for money. Write because you are a writer and have something to share. The money will come so there’s no need to hoard that thought in your creative center. There’s no room for it and besides- it has no business being there!
Whatever it is you feel strongly about, that is what you must write.
A Lesson for Writers From Kurt Vonnegut.
American novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922-2007) is well known for his satirical style and the sci-fi twists he dripped into his work.
He published 14 novels, five plays, five non-fiction books, and three short story series during his 50 year career.
“If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.”
Every sentence is important. It must speak to your readers and cause them to crave the next. Your goal as a writer is to move the audience fluidly down the page and entice them to keep turning pages. Cut out the fluff, no matter how beautifully you word it! If a sentence does not carry the reader through to the next, then it’s best to delete it, or at least try to reword or rephrase.
“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
Get out of your box! I know it’s comfy in there, but you are not a cat. Save the box for naptime 🙂
You must branch out and grow as a writer every day. Learn something new each day. Read each day. Work at improving your craft each and every day. If you don’t, you risk sounding repetitive and you will grow bored of yourself. If you’re bored, what do you think your audience feels?
“That is how you get to be a writer, incidentally: you feel somehow marginal, somehow slightly off-balance all the time.”
If you aren’t a little uncomfortable, you aren’t doing it right. Growing pains are uncomfortable. So is growing as a writer. You will have unusual ideas and think thoughts that you never imagined yourself with. This is good!
SO why not;
Get a little uncomfortable. Read an author you’ve been avoiding. Write that thing you are squeamish about. If you are a story writer, learn a little about writing a memoir, and vice versa.
Do something new, challenge yourself, and never be afraid to get a little uncomfortable.
From Mundane to Marvelous
Some weeks ago I had four doctor appointments. Three of them were rather painful. My team of doctors are trying to stay ahead of nerve and bone damage in my lower spine before it becomes so severe that I would be wheelchair bound. I’m still taking it easy and am extremely fortunate to have a wonderful caregiver, but when the pain is intense it dominates my every waking moment. My thoughts are even affected rather profoundly, which makes it difficult to work, write and even think. But today is a better day and I’d like to share something with you.
I was at the University of Washington’s Medical School on Thursday, waiting for the nurse to call me back for my appointment and trying to distract myself from my discomfort. Sometimes I cannot move without sharp protests suddenly escaping my lips, and sometimes I must keep moving- albeit carefully- so as not to jolt innocent bystanders out of their quiet contemplation with an unexpected expletive. It was the latter that day, so I wandered about with no particular destination as I waited for my Doctor to be ready for me.
The University of Washington School of Medicine is one of the oldest public universities on the West Coast and the number one magnet school in North America due to their focus on cutting edge research and preventative care. They are so innovative that their dental department developed a “living cement” from shark cartilage for human teeth. Since sharks regrow lost teeth throughout their lifetime, and humans have the same tooth regeneration gene, this shark tooth cement brings us close to knowing how to activate our similar gene- great news for boxers everywhere! When my oldest son was in grade school he injured his front teeth in a skateboard accident, causing them to begin to fuse to his jawbone. Thanks to UW Medical School, his teeth were implanted with the shark cartilage and the fusing was reversed. He is one of only 220 people in the world with “shark teeth.” 🙂
Because UW Medical Center is a teaching hospital even simple procedures take several hours in order to train dental and medical students on the correct procedures and technique. My son had five procedures, each lasting five hours. Because of this I now know my way around the hospital as well as the doctors, and even have access to a few rooms, passages, and elevators which are generally not accessible (or even known) to the public.
I became even more intimate with the hospital and her rhythms a couple years later when my middle son had multiple surgeries followed by a week in the ICU after being attacked by three attack-dog trained Bull Mastiffs. I stayed with him at the hospital but couldn’t sleep much so I wandered the halls when he was taken to rooms where I was not allowed for surgeries and treatments. And in vain attempts to exhaust myself for much-needed rest in the hushed wee hours of the morning.
I hadn’t spent time at the UWMC since then, so Thursday’s visit brought back a lot of memories. Strangely, hardly anything in the hospital had changed!
For such an advanced school, UWMC has an extremely old looking interior. The off white walls are scuffed and aged, the linoleum lost its sheen decades ago, and the dents in the doors give you the feeling that the building is older than its 59 years. Hospitals are a buzz of activity in the daytime as patients head to appointments, visitors search for flowers and rooms, and staff rush to complete the neverending array of duties. During the day voices over the intercom constantly call this doctor or that nurse to a floor, voices and conversations between staff and patients flow and ebb, carts and gurneys roll and elevators chime. And interspaced through it all the heartwrenching wail of sirens crying out desperately for help on behalf of the frightened and broken humans inside.
But late at night the hospital turns down its volume as if it understands that the human patients who are spending the night need sleep in order to heal.
Passageways open and others close to condense flow after cafeterias and departments are closed for the day. Doors faithfully lock but for those with keys, and lights dim as the hospital lowers her heavy eyelids. You realize the electrical hum is no longer vibrating under your skin as all but the necessary computers have been switched off.
The hospital has a heartbeat. Staff and patients are the bloodcells bringing necessary nutrients to every corner; corridors are the veins by which they flow. The endochrine system is the physicians “reproducing” the doctors of tomorrow as they train interns and residents. They also regulate the hospital’s metabolism and growth by how well they work. Security and reception is the integumentary system acting as the protective skin.
The hospital has a rhythm. Extremes of emotion are etched on her walls, from the relief of the surgeon who saved the mangled life to the devastation of the woman who will only begin to think of the bedroom as “hers” and not “theirs” many years from today. The walls echo the screams of the child who doesn’t understand the pain and the exuberance of the researcher who finally found the cure. The windows do not look out onto the world; rather, they serve to shed the day’s light to a thousand questions and to dry a million tears. And much like a living being the hospital must sleep and recuperate for a few hours late at night in order to stand strong in support for the broken souls who will need to lean on her walls tomorrow.
At first glance a hospital is a place where you go to be healed. The goings-on inside are apparent to those who look closer, and they then realize there is an awful lot done to make it efficient. Every one thing that happens in that hospital is mundane and many times dull- the receptionist answers the phone in the same manner a hundred times a day and the nurse checks dozens of temperatures per shift. Each one thing hardly seems worth mentioning. But combining every one of these little things makes an impressive total- in this case a university hospital! It’s even more magnificent when you carefully choose the words you would use to describe these events.
At its heart, writing is about finding meaning in the mundane.
Sure the adventure about surviving a surprise blizzard while summiting Mount Everest is an epic tale. And the novel where the main characters overcome adversity in the midst of WWII is a legendary account. But when you strip the big things away you are left with a story filled with regular “mundane” day to day things that each and every one of us deal with.
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The characters on Mt Everest are dealing with physical pain and exhaustion, something we have all been through, though not necessarily mirroring the types in the book. Many people can relate to the psychological and bodily experiences expressed. The characters in the WWII novel come from different backgrounds, social status, beliefs and race but they are in love. An impossible relationship made more insurmountable by the stresses and dangers of war. But anyone who has felt oppression due to race or gender can relate. And anyone who has been in love understands the yearning and comfort and even pain that can bring.
Both of these stories- in fact all good stories- have a common element: real life. Just like in real life, the characters think and feel. They do normal things like going to work and packing luggage and eating dinner. They talk with their friends and walk the dog and turn on lamps. These are all mundane things, nothing exciting or dramatic. But the way in which these things are written- the style and tone and words chosen- is what makes the story great.
So why not;
Make mundane magnificent by describing a routine thing you did today.
Having dinner is an event you perform daily without much thought. But you can turn it into an entertaining story by describing how the savory food aromas dance through the air, the wonderful company and good conversation, and how pleasant and at home it feels to be around the dinner table sharing good food and great times with your loved ones.
A simple trip to work can be made stimulating to your readers by describing the different characters on the train, detailing how grateful the elderly lady looked when the tattoo covered thug gave her his seat.
Use carefully placed wording and descriptive language toturn routine tasks into exciting, noteworthy events!
Stripping down to your birthday suit and letting those images “leak” might get you a few million new fans- just ask any of the Hollywood types who went from B status to A after raunchy photos went viral. However, this tactic proves fleeting and not what I’m telling you to do 🙂
Writers need exposure. In order to accomplish this and gain a following, you need to expose yourself.
Who is going to read your work? You should have a clear idea of who your audience is and what they look like as far as tastes, style, and demographics like age and hobbies. Your audience might be like you in many ways; they may have the same reading list, social status and education. Whoever your reader is, you need to find them and bring your writing to their awareness. It is true that many readers find favorite authors by searching for them, but most fans of a writer found them by stumbling upon them.
Go where your audience goes.
If your subject is Costochondritis in Teenagers you want to find where your readers are already hanging out, and in this case- their parents as well, as the parents are the ones who decide medical treatment for their offspring. Join forums where people discuss the disease and treatment. Comment on posts- you already wrote about it so you can offer a lot of advice and support. Do not sell your work directly from your comment posts! That is against most forum TOS and will get your account banned. And even when it’s not, linking directly to what you are selling right there in your comments is pushy and unsavory. If you post well written, helpful advice, the audience will see you as an expert and click to view your profile. That is where you will have a link to your work.
If you write about high fashion for dogs, go where your audience is already spending their time. Join groups and forums for small dog lovers and answer questions, offer advice on brands that hold up well for active critters, and get to know everyone. They are your future customers, after all.
By exposing yourself and putting yourself out there where your audience hangs out, you will accomplish several things. You will learn what their wants and needs are which will help you with topics for future books and articles, you will grow your audience organically because you are all there for the same purpose as like-minded souls, and you will gain loyal followers who will help grow your reach by sharing your work to their social networks.
So why not;
If you haven’t already, take some time to define your audience. Who are they? What do they like? What do they need? Get specific- age, financial demographics, education, family status, etc. The clearer you are with this step the easier it will be to market your work and expose yourself in the correct places. Then decide what you offer- what questions do you answer or advice can you give? What do you have that they need?
Now that you have defined your reader, figure out where they gather. Then make your presence known.
Make yourself valuable and position yourself as an authority.
Write it Like They’ll Steal it!
They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. What can be more flattering than seeing something you wrote repeated all over the internet?
Imagine: your sentence typed on memes and beautiful images, repeated in classrooms and book clubs, shared and liked by all who come across the meaningful quote…
The quote that you wrote.
A quote is simply a sentence that resonates with people. It might be humorous, shocking, clever, profound, or romantic. It might tell a truth that not many voice out loud, or it may pull at the heartstrings.
Quotes can be inspirational or just plain fun. They can provoke conversation and deep thought or teach a subject. Quotes help fill in the vows at the altar and can even help in the proposal itself.
A quote can be any of these things and more, but what it always has is simplicity and meaning.
Keep it in the back of your mind that any thing you write and publish online or in print might one day be quoted, with you as the author.
With that being said, remember that the web never forgets. Anything you type or post online, even if you delete it later, is always there. The internet is a lot like Vegas- what you do online stays online 😉
So why not;
You are important! You’re a bright shiny star and even if you only have one person read your work ever- you’ve left your starshine on that individual. You changed their life because they read your words. You left an imprint even if they aren’t consciously aware and you never hear from that person.
Write as if you’ll be quoted. Because one day you will be!
It’s Friday, let’s have a little fun 🙂
Write an original quoteworthy sentence and share it with the community in the comments!
Don’t Dress for the Job You Have.
Dress for the job you want.
Presenting yourself as if you are already on top will get you there faster.
From a psychological standpoint, acting as if you are successful sets you on the correct path to achieve your goals.
If your goal is to be a dominating freelance business to business writer for the pet supplies industry, your goal is to immerse yourself completely. Create your resume with your goal jobs in mind, making sure to bring attention to similar past gigs- no matter how far removed. Remember- it’s all in what you say so use words creatively! You’ll want to read what B to B writers read, and read what your clients are subscribing to. Act as if you belong there.
Follow top leaders in the industry your trying to break into. Follow your dream clients, too. Add them to your Twitter feed and leave thoughtful comments to their tweets. Position yourself as if you already are the talented and sought after business to business pet supplies writer.
Don’t be afraid to ask. The worst that can happen is they say no. But keep asking until you get what you want.
Live your life as if you are already the successful talent in the field you want and it will come, naturally.
So why not;
Write down your dream job. Be specific. Then brainstorm what you will be doing when you get to that point. Are there conventions or conferences you will attend? Write them down. Can you attend any this year? If so, add to your calendar and make a point to do so.
Who will you be talking to and networking with? Get that started now by adding them to your social media circles.
Create a resume which highlights anything that corresponds to your dream job. Not a job that’s a step toward it- the actual ultimate dream job you want.
Start living today for the life you want tomorrow.
Staple a Piece of You to the Final Draft.
A drop or two of blood will work, too.
Are the Kardashians like an accident scene- you can’t look away? Do you know the Jersey Shore guidos better than your own siblings? You, my friend, are guilty of what most red blooded television viewers are- addicted to reality shows.
Do we watch to see what life’s like for the other half? Are we tuning in to laugh at the mistakes of others and shake our heads while exclaiming at least my life’s not that bad! Do they make us feel better about our own shortcomings or give us ideas for greatness to strive for?
Of course. Reality shows do this and more.
We enjoy watching how others do life.
We are human, therefore we empathize with others having the human experience. We get it, all the silly things and serious moments. And while watching them do life we commiserate and realize ours is not so bad. Whatever it is we’re going through becomes more tolerable when we see that others have issues too.
Because none of us has our life all figured out.
That’s why true stories are so popular.
Autobiographies are the Reality tv of the literary world. Adding snippets of your story to your writing allows the reader to identify with the idea you’re trying to convey in a personally relevant way.
When relevant, (you don’t want to start off a technical car manual with *when I was a boy,) adding a bit of you to your work helps the audience connect. They’ve been there and done that, so you already have them on your side.
Adding a personal story that’s relevant and entertaining will liven your piece and make you relatable, and your content that much more understood.
We’re all connected and share the same experiences of being human. Because not one of us has truly gotten the hang of it yet.
Take a lesson from reality TV and put yourself out there!
SO why not;
Write today’s Steemit blog post and add an element from your life. It could be a relevant experience, a story, or even an epiphany or enlightenment you had. Weave this into your blog post. If it doesn’t fit then try a different story or use that story for a different blog post.
Do this for the next few blog posts and pay attention to the reactions you get.
Put a piece of you in your writing and watch your audience grow.
Disclaimer: I wasn’t being literal about the blood- that’ll likely frighten away a number of readers. Minus the Bram Stoker aficionados. But if they are the audience you’re going for, by all means- carry on with the bloodletting!
Create a Haven for Writing.
Your surroundings are critical to your creative mastery, as is your mindframe. Our lives can get so busy that it’s important to unwind and recharge in order to allow creativity to flow through us into the page.
You’ve gotten into the habit of writing for ten minutes every day. That is the most important piece of the Successful Writer Puzzle. Now, implement the following tips before your daily writing practice, and enjoy how much more easily the ideas and thoughts come to you.
If you’re just joining the Total Writer Transformation, I’ve linked days 1 – 27 below. Each day can be used alone, or follow the days in order for the Total transformation. But if you take only one thing away from this take this: the most important step is to make time to write every day. Set your time for ten minutes and just write. Usually you’ll find you keep going long after three beep.
Clear Your Headspace
Before you sit down to write, take a moment to clear your mind. Leave the stress and to do list outside- it’ll still be there when you’re finished but it has no business invading your writing time. Practice deep breathing: inhale for for seconds, hold for four, exhale for four seconds, pause for four. Repeat ten times.
Keep your writing area simple and comfortable. Declutter, sit in a comfy chair, and surround yourself with colors and things that inspire you. Take off your shoes, have a cup of your favorite beverage, and be sure you’re not hungry or too cold or hot.
Change the pace to trigger your mind and let it know you’re moving on to a different task. Take a brisk walk around the block, do some stretches or jumping jacks, take a quick shower, or turn up the music and dance. The point is to do something different for a few minutes to signal a change in the days pace.
The Power of Scent
Scents are powerful. Use this to your advantage by utilizing essential oils. Lavender relaxes. Cedar helps with focus and removes mental fatigue. Citrus like lemon and grapefruit rejuvenates and energizes. You can also use your favorite essential oils as a signal to tell you’re brain it’s time to write.
SO why not;
Create a space for writing, and start a pre-writing routine.
Creating a physical and mental haven for your writing will pay for itself with super powered creativity and productivity.
You Won’t Finish This Article
I lost some of you already. Sad to see you go so soon, even before the hors d’oeuvres. For every 100 readers only 52 stayed after 15 seconds. You hit the share button or tweeted this article to your fans and you haven’t even read the whole thing!
If you’re still here thanks for sticking with me!
Less than 20 percent of your readers will engage with your entire article.
Attention capitol is slipping. I get it- we’re busy. Internet readers need their information in tiny bite sized pieces so they can move on to the next morsel.
You have to condense your information while keeping it entertaining. It’s no easy feat. But with practice, and an unbiased editors eraser, you can learn to get your point across in less paragraphs.
SO why not;
- Write your article
- Step away from it for at least an hour, but I suggest a day
- Edit. Eliminate unnecessary and repetitive words and ideas.
- Edit some more
- Make your first and last paragraphs shine
Don’t take it personally. Editing out the sweat and blood of the article you worked hard on can be painful- I know the feeling well. But it’s a necessary task if you want to write for today’s distracted and time constrained internet reader.
Be creative with what you post. Make it entertaining and interesting. And be sure to engage with your community!
The Secret to Making a Living as a Writer
People always ask writers “how did you get an agent” and “how many times did you submit before someone accepted your manuscript”. These are what I like to call hopeful questions; they bypass the meat in hopes there’s a tasty secret dessert not on the menu.
The truth is there is no secret. The truth is if you want to make a living as a writer, if you truly are called to write and have stories to tell and are passionate and consistent and keep writing, you will make a living from your writing.
Sure you’ll have to put in the hours and make little to nothing for years sometimes, but it will happen.
There’s no secret to being a successful writer.
You just gotta keep writing.
Keep trying and reading and bettering yourself. Keep learning and refining. Write every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes. And keep making steps toward your goals.
The “secret” to making a living as a successful writer?
Be so good that they can’t help but notice you.
SO why not;
Write your heart out.
That’s the much we can take on the topic “The Secret To Making A Living As A Writer | How To Make Money As A Creative Writer”.
Thanks For Reading
Thanks To Nineveh For The Guest Post
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