10 Tips to Start Writing Now
I was originally going to post these with the Start Writing Now Synchroblog last Monday, but decided to switch them with 15 tips on how to start your own writing business.
1. Follow Through
You may not feel you’re the smartest or most savvy writer/blogger/author, but that actually doesn’t matter. The ones who write and keep writing are the ones who succeed. My former boss actually told me that I wasn’t the most qualified for the position, but because of my follow through (sending emails, leaving voice mails) and not giving up–he gave me the job. That was the job that turned everything around for my writing.
If you have a burning passion then USE IT! Follow through and then keep following through, and after you’ve followed through then keep following through. Seriously!
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Most writers I meet are perfectionists. THIS DRIVES ME CRAZY. I have the type of personality where I am constantly asking myself, “when can I start?” Most people don’t have this strength. I realize that God has gifted me with not being afraid to mess up or be perfect to encourage others–especially other writers. There’s something about the permanent written word that causes the introverted perfectionist to stop practicing. WHAA? The focus becomes more on being perfect than the craft itself. If you are this person–PAY ATTENTION!
Want to be a great writer? Don’t be afraid to get your pen dirty and start writing now.
3. Don’t Hate Blogging
I’ve met a lot of writers both established and brand new who really don’t like blogging as a platform. You either don’t have enough time, don’t know how to make it purdy enough, or get easily frustrated at the lack of comments or blog love. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Each writer at some point needs to come to terms with the fact that publishers REQUIRE authors to have a blog and a platform. The economy and lack of area book stores push more readers online. The bigger your blog–the more readers you can reach. This is why I have found most bloggers to be the most friendly people around.
I started my first blog in 2004 and wrote a recent post on things I’ve learned in the past eight years of blogging and what you can learn too.
4. Create An Online Community (Tribe, Following, Etc)
Find 2-4 people you like, trust, or blog similar messages to you and form an online community. Read their blog. Comment on their blog. Learn what works for them and try it on your blog. Yes, it’s time consuming, but get over it. If you want people to care about you and read your blog–then you need to read others too! Not because you WANT something from him or her or them but because you actually care.
Building a tribe takes time, but the good news is social media including blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and websites are here to stay. Plus, you never know how many lifelong friends you can make through this arduous process.
5. Write Your Manifesto
What is your purpose for writing? Is it to share your story? A piece of your heart to encourage others? I write to spur others forward (Hebrews 10:24, 1 Corinthians 14:24-25).
If you don’t know your purpose as a writer you WILL become easily discouraged when other writers publish faster or become greater than you.
If your focus is to become famous then you’re writing the wrong manifesto. If your aim is to share the broken pieces of you to encourage others into wholeness and a deeper relationship with God THEN expect to experience the same kind of brokenness you’re writing about. The best writers are the ones who have been tested and found true.
Writing is a tough business. But the good news is–no one else has your story. Learn what you truly value and stick to it through thick and thin, through the good parts and the bad parts. This is what makes writers great!
6. Set Your Writing Business Now!
This–I would have to say–is the most important tip I can share with you. It is also my GREATEST pet peeve. Most people do not believe in themselves enough, or have the confidence (balls, guts, etc) to start their business. But I’ve got news for you!
Turning your writing into a business isn’t as hard, scary, or difficult as you think!
Going back to #2–don’t let perfectionism STOP you from making a wise choice for you and your finances. I’m actually going to write a separate blog post on this tip because I believe in it so much. I will go into AS MUCH detail as I possibly can so you can start your writing business now! See the rest of my 15 tips here.
7. Grow Your Platform
Don’t be afraid to grow your platform–and not because you have to, but because you want to become a better author. Start blogging consistently then add guest posts and articles. Once you have 3-5 articles, start a new page on your website like this. Just think at the beginning of 2012 I had ZERO articles written because I was always afraid I didn’t have what it takes. After you get comfortable writing for other people–then start a monthly newsletter and consider writing a short eBook. You can then offer it on your website to encourage people to sign up and subscribe to your monthly newsletter.
8. Finish Your Book Proposal
Shh! Want to know the secret to getting published? Finish your book proposal. I know it doesn’t sound glamorous or anything, but you’d be surprised how many people email me, message me, or want to meet with me in person without a book proposal to show me. How did I figure out what was an acceptable book proposal format? I asked another author who had already published a book. He was my friend and I wasn’t afraid to be audacious and because of my bravery–he helped me finish mine. I’ve also had the pleasure of helping others finish theirs–and even get them published.
The best way to find and acquire an agent is to have a solid book proposal–and a finished one at that!
9. Establish Brand Consistency
Brand consistency is key. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve spoken at writers conferences, workshops, or consulted with individual authors on keeping all branding consistent. If your name is one thing on Twitter, another on Facebook, and also different on your website–HOW ON EARTH WILL PEOPLE REMEMBER? 50% of people find me by googling me. I make it simple by keeping my branding consistent and memorable. For instance, you can have everything be the same–but if it doesn’t make sense then you’re not utilizing marketing the right way.
If you’re struggling to choose the right branding don’t be afraid to reach out to other authors to see what’s worked for them and how picking the right branding can work for you too!
10. Keep A Clean Website/Blog
Want to stand out from among the competition? Keep your website uncluttered. Keep it organized. Keep it snazzy. Keep it minimalistic. THERE ARE SO MAN BLOGS OUT THERE! The madness will never end. I recommend using WordPress.org. Go through Bluehost or whomever you feel comfortable with.
If you can create a cozy, comfortable, and relaxing atmosphere online–the more people will come back and keep coming back. THIS ALSO INCLUDES PUBLISHERS AND AGENTS!!
[Photo: BobLoco, Creative Commons]