Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Stop Trying To Be Like Other Writers

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that in order to be as successful as another writer, all you have to do is copy what they do (their daily routine, their style of writing...) and VOILA, you'll be just as good as they are.

That kind of thinking is just so wrong. I know because I used to think the same and I was always reading up on other writers and how they spent their writing days and what they wrote, where they wrote and how they became so successful. I was desperate to be just like them.

But it never worked. It took me a while to figure out why, but eventually I got it.

I discovered the same thing was happening in the movie, The Karate Kid.

He wanted to emulate others who were great at self defence. For ages he was trained in the right moves ('wax on, wax off') but it never seemed to work. No matter how much he practiced the right moves he just couldn't put it all together effectively.

It wasn't until that memorable scene on the beach where he stood on a wooden post practicing the 'crane' pose amongst other things.

But that was where it all mentally came together for him. He needed to not only know the right moves, but also be in the right mindset, which, as it turned out, was his own mind.

You see, he couldn't do great things by trying to copy others or practice the same moves over and over again.

Instead he had to discover his own way of doing things so he went to the beach on his own to practice in his own way, and in his own head.

And that is what it takes to be a writer; to be yourself so that you can have fun with your writing instead of thinking that you have to do things a certain way or copy what others are doing.

Writing is a creative process, and you can only create your own things.

So give it a try. 

Write for the fun of writing. Enjoy doing it. And before you know it, you'll be better than the rest.

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Monday, 9 November 2020

Writing Advice From Ray Bradbury

"I’ve had a sign over my typewriter for over 25 years now: Don’t think!"

Ray Bradbury was one of the most well-known sci-fi writers of the 20th and 21st centuries and not only did he write a lot of books that were also made into movies (Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Halloween Tree, to name a few), but he also gave out a lot of advice to would-be and beginner writers, advice which was also useful to even published writers of all genres.

But there is one bit of advice that he gave during one of his seminars and many people have not only tried it, but found it to be extraordinary useful to help them not only write better, but write more and earn more.

And that advice is as follows:

The problem with novels is that you can spend a whole year writing one and it might not turn out well because you haven’t learned to write yet. But the best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories. If you can write one short story a week—it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start—but at least you’re practicing and at the end of the year you have 52 short stories and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. It can’t be done.

And that's it. So simple yet so effective.

What he's saying is that writing a novel not only takes up time and a lot of effort, but it doesn't allow you to experiment with different styles and ways of writing. But short stories allow you to try out lots of different genres too.

It also gets you into the habit of writing every day which is what we all need to be doing.

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This is more than just a how-to manual for the would-be writer: it is a celebration of the act of writing itself that will delight, impassion, and inspire the writer in you. In it, Bradbury encourages us to follow the unique path of our instincts and enthusiasms to the place where our inner genius dwells, and he shows that success as a writer depends on how well you know one subject: your own life.

Monday, 2 November 2020

Being a Productive Writer is Easy When You Know How

A few days ago I saw an ad for a productivity journal which said that all you had to do to be more productive was to write your daily goals in your productivity journal (and the journal wasn't cheap).

That reminded me of the old Ivy Lee method of using what he called 'The Success Six.' 

This system was so simple yet apparently so effective and consisted of, at the end of each day writing down the six most important things you had to do the next day and then number them in the order of their importance.

In 1918 Charles M Schwab who was then the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, was told this by Ivy Lee as a way to increase the efficiency of his team.

He also told him of the importance of only working on one task at a time and ignoring all the rest. Just do one thing and then move onto the next.

This seems stupidly simple, doesn't it? But it actually works like a dream.

It's also cheaper than buying an expensive journal.

I buy a cheap diary every year and I use the Ivy Lee method of making it a habit that the last thing I do every day when I've finished writing, is to write down everything I have to do the next day (or several days ahead so that I don't forget anything). And it's not just writing projects that I write down. I write everything, which makes it really easy to get started the next morning because I know exactly what to do first.

And this way I don't need to multi-task which also helps my crazy little monkey-mind to focus more.

So if you're looking for a way to get more done, just try it for yourself.

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Friday, 30 October 2020

Copy That!

"You don't need to be a great writer, you just need to create a vision and people will buy from you."
    ~Advice from Jim Camp, the feared negotiator.

Writing is one thing, but being able to sell your writing is another, and that's why copywriting is important.

Some people think that copywriting isn't "real" writing but there are plenty of millionaire copywriters who would disagree. AND the most amazing thing is most of them only work 3 or 4 hours a day.

Copywriting should be crucial to all writers because if no one knows how great your books are, no one will buy them.

I've been studying copywriting for years and I still do because it really is THAT important. It's true what they say that writing a book is easy. Selling it is hard.

So learn all you can about copywriting, and make sure you learn from the best.

I found that I can definitely sell more books with better copywriting, and here are a few things I've learned.

Sell an experience, not a product. People only want to know "what's in it for me?"

So don't write about you and your book (unless you have an incredible pedigree), instead tell your readers all the benefits of reading your books.

Use emotion so that your readers are eager to buy.

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