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Want to Be a Published Writer? Five Things You Can Do

I am a writer. It started when I discovered books, paper, pencils and school. The word writer is friendly and easy, not pompous and full of expectations like author or blogger.

I believe everyone is a writer because we spend our days telling stories to ourselves (although many of them are not true) about ourselves and the world around us.  Sadly, many of us never write our stories down where others can be informed, inspired, and empowered by them.

I believe so much in the power of writing that I now encourage others to write and even publish their work, not to necessarily become best sellers, but to become “tellers” before they die.

Having said all that, I confess that my inner critic, Susie, still tries to discourage my writing. When she shows up I send her to the corner.

Which is why we need like-minded encouragers, supporters and sounding boards. That has been the great gift of social media. Where else and when else in history can you share your thoughts and ideas or post your inquiries with people from the around the world 24/7? For all our complaining about the pervasiveness of social media, it is a miraculous opportunity. And when combined with local networks and events, we arm ourselves with the resources and  tools we need for success.

Five things to do to become a (better) writer.

1. Create a community.

You can do this on LinkedIn, Meetup or Facebook.  On all these sites, decide your goal for joining the group. Then find groups that have active and robust memberships. Once you join, participate by offering valuable information, not making a pitch for your products.

2. Join a tribe.

I joined Triberr.com and GutsieIndiePublishers online, and a Southern California group called Publishers and Writers of San Diego. Not only have I met many fine writers, editors and publishers, but have discovered many new resources and techniques as well.

Perhaps you will benefit from a tribe that writes in your genre, such as the National Association of Memoir Writers, where you can have access to loads of resources, as well as learn from active memoir writers who share their experiences and tips on the member teleconferences.

3. Participate in a challenge.

I’ve been in blogging challenges and article challenges.  I’ve participated in a writing challenge created by Jeff Goins and a blog challenge by Michelle Shaeffer, to name a few. Though most writing challenges offer prizes, that is not the point. My motivation is to sharpen my skills and get to know other writers.  Some of the writers I’ve met in these challenges have become friends, colleagues and even joint venture partners.

4. Read.

Reading broadens you, gives you another perspective and sparks new ideas.

In his article,  “Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer,” Jon Morrow captures King’s key wisdom and then adds commentary of his own regarding becoming a successful blogger.

  Stephen King said

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

Jon said

Of course, most bloggers do neither. We start a blog, squeeze in the occasional post between going to the gym and picking up take-out, and then expect it to somehow lead to fame and fortune.

Sorry, but that’s not how it works. Every popular blogger I know reads at least one book every week and writes at least 1,000 words every day.

Yes, it’s a lot, but success comes at a price, folks. Are you willing to pay it?

5. Respect the revision process.

I urge you to hire or convince someone else to edit your work before you publish it. Then use their notes to make revisions. That’s why I urge my clients to get their first drafts done as fast as possible so they can get to the real work of writing: revision.

Revision is not optional. It is actually the most important part of the writing process. It’s when you shape, tone up and hone your thoughts.

 “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”James Michener

You may have submitted your first and only drafts in high school English, and maybe even in college. But publishing your article and book for the public is a different story. They won’t be as forgiving as Miss Lewis (my  10th grade English teacher–Wait! she wasn’t that forgiving either.)

Your job as a writer is to make your ideas flow smoothly to eliminate (or at least minimize) jerks and jumps in the story you tell.

And for those of you who insist on doing your own proofreading, (gasp!) at least heed this advice.

“If you’re going to proofread your own work, do it from back to front,” says Neal Wooten

Some of the advice I’ve shared is best suited for people who want to make a living from writing or blogging.  That may not be you.

Perhaps you want to be an occasional writer for whom just getting your work into print is the reward. Or maybe you want to use your writing to springboard your speaking career or leave a legacy for your grandkids or  make just enough euros to pay for your lattes when you travel.

Whatever your goal, by doing these five things you will not only be a writer, but a better one for sure.

Does the idea of writing appeal to you, but you need help with getting started or back in gear? An easy way to get into the swing is to get my 4-week e-course, “Rockin’ My Book.” Once enrolled you will receive a lesson in your email each week with loads of content and suggested activitives. Get the e-course details here. You’ll get a gentle push, but no pressure. Email me with your questions throughout the course. Get the e-course now. 



How to Make Money from Your Writing

It’s very tempting when you’re excited by a new writing project to believe that surely the world will rush to your door with wealth overflowing. After all, you have a bestseller in the making! You’ll have an urge to put all your hopes on your new project and be tempted to quit your job that is taking time away from your writing.

All successes are preceded by failures, setbacks, twists and turns. So, unless you have prepared for this early period with sufficient savings, keeping your job is strongly advised. I speak from experience.

Back in the 1960’s, one of my brother-in-laws asked me, my two sisters and his sister to sing the demo for a song he had written. We were invited to Motown Studios in Hollywood, CA and were first asked to sing one of their current hits a cappella in front of one of the executives. We were all so excited and sure we were on our way to superstardom!

When we finished, the executive said, as kindly as he could muster, “Keep your day jobs.” I think that was the first time I heard that advice directed at me.

When starting on a new venture, it’s helpful to be able to eat and have a place to sleep while your idea goes through its developmental stages. It’s so much easier to create and survive setbacks when you’re not hungry. Besides, writing your book may turn out to be something you enjoy as a sideline or hobby, but not necessarily as a career and the primary source of your income.

If you decide to self-publish you are committing to shoulder all the publishing costs. That certainly requires ready capital, often provided by a steady job or savings or willingness to use your credit cards.

If your book is accepted by a traditional publisher, you may receive an advance, but you will likely want to eat again before your first royalty check arrives possibly a year or more later.

But what if you don’t have a job or just lost a job and writing a book is part of your plan to support yourself? Then you will have to treat writing your book like a job and speed up getting your manuscript published.

Essentials for Making Money from Your Writing

  1. You may find a sponsor to invest in you, but you will definitely need to create set hours for yourself, and commit to aggressively marketing your book even before it is published.
  2. Many savvy authors publish chapters of their book in a blog or as ebooks on Kindle and other digital stores. Digital versions can begin to bring income fast if you create topic that grabs readers’ interests. Announcing your ebooks availability to your mailing list and social media followers will help speed this up.
  3. You will need to dig deep into learning about writing and marketing your book, mining the Internet for all the free help you can find and investing in the best paid help you can afford. Then you will need to implement what you learn.
  4. You will also need to build a following of people who enjoy the type of writing you are doing and eventually will be willing to pay for it. The Internet has made it easy to find these folks through the groups within Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites.
  5. For very little cost you can even make short videos with content about your subject and post them on YouTube or other such sites so you can attract subscribers who will again be interested in buying your book when it’s published.

Social media has opened up so many avenues for writers today that enable you to make money from your writing faster than ever before. Do the writing, do your homework and market your work in places where buying readers will find it, and you are well on your way to becoming a paid writer.

How to Make Time to Write: The Two Step Method

Way to make time to writeThe most common question asked by aspiring writers/authors is “how do you find time to write?”


You don’t have to find time. You already have it. 168 delicious hours of it, in fact.
Everyone of us has exactly the same amount.

So, the real question is “How do you organize your time?”

Sorry I don’t have a profound answer nor a magical incantation, but I do have an answer.

You want to write a book, an article, a poem or a blog post?

Try the Two Step Method

You must put BIC and FOK.

Step 1: BIC=Butt in Chair

Even if you did nothing else but sat in a chair for a minimum of two hours a day,
you would get your writing done, provided you ignored distractions of course.

Like actors scampering across a stage, the ideas would eventually flow. You
would have trouble getting them down before they disappeared.

I know what you’re thinking. What about if no ideas or words come?

Still sit there for two hours. The human brain cannot tolerate that much
quiet without thinking thoughts eventually.

Jeff Goins expands on this idea in his article  The Minimalist Secret to Productive
. He  even displays a photo of a chair in case you needed help with identifying one.

Step 2: FOK=Fingers on Keyboard

You will need to take this step as soon as those ideas begin to
flow since they are apt to make only one appearance.

Feel free to modify this one if you write by longhand or record
your thoughts, or use some other technique.

The bottom line is that you must capture your thoughts, put
them into words, and most important, don’t edit for now.

If you were hoping for something more profound, I’ve listed what a
a few other writers have said about  making time to write.

Tell me about your experience with the Two Step Method.


22 Ways to Push Past Writer's Block to Writer's Brilliance

At some time every writer hits a block, a slump or a downright drought. This infographic that I learned about from Michelle Shaeffer, who got it from Copyblogger.com (who encourages us to share it,) is a perfect variation of Tip#1. Which of these have you used successfully? Can you add more great ways to create great content to the list?22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.