If you are serious about making a living from your writing then you need to treat it like a job.
That means writing even when you don’t feel like writing.
It means committing to turn up everyday at the same time and doing the work.
It means putting in the time when you would rather be watching TV or going out.
It means being disciplined with your time.
It means being professional and treating your writing as a profession, not just a hobby.
If you enjoy writing as a side hobby then this post won’t be relevant to you. But if like me, you are serious about making a good income from your writing, then read on.
Lesson #1: Writers block is a myth
Yes that’s right, it does not exist. It is a mental construct we create to protect us from fear. The fear that our writing may not be good enough.
So instead of doing the writing, we talk about the writing, we moan to people if only we could be writers. But the reality is that you are a writer as soon as you commit a pen to paper and you get your butt to the chair.
Writers block is an excuse we hide behind. Once you accept this you can move onto the next phase of actually doing the writing.
Lesson #2: We are all naturally creative
But after a decade in the corporate world I felt like my creativity was stunted and worried I would not have anything remotely creative to write.
But what I’m finding out now is that the more I just write whatever is in my head, the more permission I am giving my brain to come up with whatever it wants to come up with.
This is actually quite freeing. I started this practice when I came across Julia Cameron’s ‘Morning Pages’. This is a journal technique whereby you empty your thoughts onto the page everyday morning.
You do this first thing in the morning before you do anything else. You either write solidly for 20 minutes or keep writing until you complete 3 pages, whichever comes first.
A lot of the time we find our inner editor is way too vocal and critical and we do not freely express who we are and what we think. Writing into these pages is like telling all your problems to an agony aunt. It clears your head so that creativity can come to the surface.
Lesson #3: Creativity is inbuilt in all of us
We are all inherently creative but it can only be expressed when we are open, relaxed and calm. That is why mediation is proven to help creativity.
To nudge your creativity awake, expose yourself to new things to get you creative juices flowing. Visit museums, go to art exhibitions.
Don’t think the ballet is your cup of tea? Try it out.
Never been to the theatre? Get a discounted ticket during the weekday and explore it.
Find art galleries boring? Book a random exhibition and go to it with no preconceived judgements. Just be open to the experience.
All these experiences will awaken your creativity. See what works for you and have fun in the process.
Lesson #4: Get Disciplined
Writing a book? Then treat it like a project.
Decide when you will start and finish the book. Decide on a topic. How many words will it be? How long will it take you to write those words? Have you thought about cover design?
You need to start planning. It doesn’t have to be a detailed plan, but a rough timeline and allocate time to it.
Lesson #5: Set up your Production Schedule
Commit to writing a certain amount of words per day in order to reach your goal. If your book is 50,000 words then you can complete the first draft within 100 days if you write 500 words a day, or 25 days if you write 2000 words per day.
Or do time-blocks. This is where you will commit to writing your weekly word count goal on your weekends only. So dedicate 10 hours over sat/sun to bust out those words. Although in my experience, I have found it is far easier and sensible to create a daily writing habit of a few hundred words to start off with. Then it becomes easier to progress to higher word counts.
Lesson 6 :Be Professional
Treat this as a new career. Act like a professional and engage other professionals on your book for editing and cover designing, especially if you are unable to do them yourself to a professional level.
Lesson 7: Set a budget
The biggest costs will be for editing and cover design and I think this is well worth spending money on when you are first starting out.
Professional edits will also make you a better writer as a professional is able to point out your mistakes and show how you can improve. So think about setting aside a small budget for professional help.
What other traits do you think makes up a successful Author Entrepreneur today? Please share in the comments below.