If you can’t stand writing, you better pick a different game.
It has been my experience that there is a direct correlation between being a prolific writer and success in the world of making a living as a full-time writer.
The more you write. The more you make.
I keep a running daily total of my word count. It helps me to gauge my production output and is a nice way to create something semi-tangible for all the work I put into a nearly intangible career (you can’t really hold the Internet in your hand…).
Last month (November) I wrote 172,347 words of content.
Some of it was fiction (about 31%).
Some of it was blogging content/emails/SEO stuff (about 13%).
But most of it was client work (A little above 55%).
In the world of writing, that word count is up there.
Here are some tips and tricks that I have learned over the past 3+ years of writing professionally:
Fast Doesn’t Mean Bad
The very first thing you have to do if you want to break into the prolific arena of writers is to throw this misconception out the window.
There is a long list of writers who have produced 300+ page poetic novels in just days.
Sometimes you get in the way of your own writing.
Sometimes you might write something, think about it, and then delete it forever because you over thought it.
I can’t tell you how many times I have done that and then regretted it later on.
There is something in the writing world called, “First Thought, Best Thought” and I adhere to it like a religious dogma.
If you believe that writing is simply a form of communication (as I do) then why would you EVER try to muddle up that communication with a long and drawn out revision processes? You don’t do that when you talk. Why do it when you write?
Free yourself from the misconception that fast = bad and you will surprise yourself how good you really are at writing.
Here is a great article by Dean Wesley Smith that elaborates on this point >>> Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing: Myth #2 – Writing Fast Is Bad
Pick A Path And Stick With It
I realize that there are some prolific writers out there who have spanned across multiple genres, or who wrote 50 different passion blogs. I applaud those people. They are doing the whole prolific thing the hard way.
It is much easier to simply specialize and just write and write and write and write.
For example, if you want to make a killing selling non-fiction books on Kindle, instead of trying to write in 15 different niches – just choose one. You could EASILY spend a lifetime writing books in a single subject area and never exhaust all your possibilities.
Let me give you a personal example. I wrote a copywriting book. It is selling pretty well (about 2 – 3 copies per day now that the initial buzz has worn off). I get new clients from it and traffic to this blog because of it.
It is a generic book on copywriting basics. If I wanted to make a push for publishing more non-fiction on Kindle, I wouldn’t try to break into another niche. I would simply write books on these topics:
– How to write high converting emails
– How to write amazing press releases that get you interviewed by awesome people
– How to master the headline
– How to master the call to action
– etc., etc., etc.
Look at the world of fiction.
Stephen King writes… a ton of Horror.
Nora Roberts writes… a ridiculous amount of romance.
Isaac Asimov (who published over 400 books) writes… enough sci-fi to reach the moon.
Writers who specialize have a MUCH easier time writing quickly.
Their writing is faster – but it is also better.
They become masters of their niche. Masters of their narrowed down craft.
I get between 3 – 10 emails per day now of people wanting to hire me to write their sales pages. About 25% of those people I immediately turn away. Why? Because they want a fitness sales page, or a dating site sales page or some other sales page in a niche that I don’t write in.
I simply don’t write those. I write sales pages for the IM industry. And because of that it takes me 1/2 the time to complete an IM project as it would a fitness project.
When I first started writing fiction – I was all over the place. it took me forever to learn how to write fiction quickly because I was new at it. Now I just write in one VERY narrow niche and my monthly profits have almost doubled since decided to go that route.
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Hire Out For Your Proofreading/Editing
If you have read this blog for any length of time you are probably shocked that I write for a living. Take two seconds to read something on this site and you will find:
– Grammar mistakes
– Grievous literary sins of every type and nature
This is because I am a prolific writer. When I do work for clients I have a proofreader go over what I wrote. When I write fiction I send the prose through a copy editor, a proofreader and a few beta readers before unleashing it out to the public.
My writing process requires a third party editor and I like it that way. It keeps me fast.
I am in no way saying that the mistakes on this blog are acceptable. Quite the opposite. I actually just posted a job on Elance the other day looking for a cheaply priced proofreader to go through each and every blog post on my site to catch typos and minor grammar errors.
But here is the deal…
Your job as a writer isn’t to worry about that stuff. It just isn’t.
Your job is to come up with great ideas. Think about it this way:
Would you rather buy a book on business that was written by Gary Vaynerchuk and then professionally edited
A book on business written by someone who has never had any business experience but can write grammatically correct sentences?
I would buy Gary’s book.
As soon as you free yourself from the responsibility of being a writer of PROSE and realize that you are simply a communicator of IDEAS your word count will shoot through the roof. I guarantee it.
And this goes for fiction writers as well.
Stephen King is rich and famous for his IDEAS more than he is for his prose. As a matter of fact, the guy breaks his own writing rules that he so adamantly insists new writers MUST follow in his book on writing called On Writing.
Like with anything in business – working with a team is always better than working alone.
Afraid you can’t afford an editor?
As an experienced writer who makes over 6 figures a year writing stuff – I am telling you that you can’t afford to write without one.
The More You Do Something, The Better You Get
Ultimately, the key to becoming proficient is simply to keep writing until you do become proficient.
Like everything else in life, the more you do it the better you get.
Your body of work will begin to stack upon itself. You will find passion where passion didn’t exist before to propel you even harder and faster in your writing. Your words per hour will increase.
If you choose one niche/genre and stick with it, you will find that the necessary components and body of knowledge that are required for excellence in that niche/genre become second nature to you and you are more able to craft words and call upon that body of knowledge like an experienced master – because you have put in the time.
If you want to become more prolific in your writing I HIGHLY recommend that you just start writing.
Open up a Word document right now and start writing something. Anything. Just break the habit of NOT WRITING by starting to write.
Once you get into it, you will feel so much better.