Many people are quick to say that writing is being phased out of the world in favor of its video and audio counterparts; however, we are writing more than ever in today’s world. Everyone needs written content. Everyone has a story to tell and more people are realizing that writing a book is not as impossible a task as the world would like them to believe. The problem is that there are so many people giving their opinions on writing that it’s hard to learn the truth behind producing content that delivers.
While there is certainly no “one method fits all” approach to writing, there are some tips that I have picked up in over a decade of writing that will help you become better at this amazing craft.
1. Visualize Your Audience
If you are writing a book for small business owners, then visualize yourself speaking to them as you write. You should always have a target audience in mind when writing a book. Before I sit down and start writing, I always imagine that my target reader is sitting across from me. Then I write as if I’m speaking to that person.
2. Learn to Keep Continuity
Keeping continuity in your writing voice is where some people struggle. It’s understandable but it can completely ruin the flow of your book. Before you start working on your book, go back and read a few pages of what you have already written. That will help you stay consistent. One of the common traits that all great writers share is that they can stay consistent with their writing.
3. Understand that Sometimes a Piece Just Doesn’t Work
Look, there are certain things that just don’t work. There are also days when your mind just isn’t going to be able to wrap around a book that you might be trying to write. Whatever the case, I have found that it’s a waste of time to write when the piece just isn’t working. My rule is to give it 15 minutes and try again. If it doesn’t work the second time, then I find something else to spend my time on. You always have tomorrow to pick back up on your book, but time is something that you never get back. Instead of wasting it, I just find something else to work on.
4. Create a List of Anecdotes and Stories
I encourage all writers to keep a list of anecdotes and stories for quick reference. We all know how great these are to include in a book. The problem is that they are extremely hard to remember. When you have a list, it’s easy to find a quick anecdote to include. This is what separates good books from great books.
5. Never Multitask
Multitasking is a myth. The human mind can only focus on one thing at a time. What many people call multitasking is actually rapidly shifting from one task to another. The problem is that doing this reduces your ability to perform each task effectively. So you might be able to check your emails while you work on your book, but will you be delivering your best writing? No! When you’re writing, you shouldn’t be doing anything else.
6. Carry a Digital Recorder at All Times
Many people will recommend that you carry a notebook, which is great advice but a digital recorder is much easier to manage. When you have an idea pop into your mind, record it using your recorder. Then at night before bed, transfer those notes onto a list for quick reference. Most beginners will try to remember these ideas but quickly discover just how quickly those ideas fade into the nothingness from whence they came. If you follow this tip, you will never run out of ideas.
7. Don’t Edit While Writing
Did you know that perfectionism is a form of procrastination? So many people tell me that they spend days trying to perfect five or so pages of their book. That’s a huge mistake. When writing, you should be doing nothing but writing. Editing is an entirely different process that comes later. All writers need to have a trusted editor at their disposal. This should be one of the first areas that you invest in.
8. Get Out of Your Safe Zone
Writing should not be for the purpose of getting “likes” and “shares” on Facebook. If that’s your goal with writing, then you’re being far too conservative. Have fun with your writing and don’t be afraid to touch on topics that are controversial. Focus on writing for your community rather than being safe. You cannot find success by living in your safe zone.
9. Train Everyone Around You
When you are in book-writing mode, make sure that everyone in your life knows to leave you alone. The problem is that most people don’t see writing as difficult – they see it as something that you can just stop anytime you want. You have to make it clear that when you’re writing, people are not allowed to disturb you. If you don’t set rules, people will get into a bad habit of just stopping by because they don’t think you’re doing anything important.
10. Know When You’re at Your Best
Determine the time when your ability to write is at its best. When I first started writing, I was a night owl. I would stay up past midnight, pecking away at the keyboard. Once I started writing as a full-time job, my productivity changed. Morning became my most productive time of the day. My point here is that you need to determine your best hours and make sure that your butt is in a chair writing during that time.
Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your writing time.