Whether you like it or not, to be a successful writer you must also be an entrepreneur. You must market your book, your blog, or your brand as a freelancer as if it is a business because that’s exactly what it is.
It’s time to get serious. It’s time to write like a boss. My hope is that this new blog series will help you do exactly that.
You Are a Writer
Before we move forward, let’s get one thing straight: You are a writer.
I hear it all the time — “I have a blog, but I’m not a writer.” Or some women tell me, “I want start a blog, but I’m not a writer.” Yet they fill the pages of journals year after year and the desire to tell their stories and the stories of others burns in their heart, in their soul.
To be a writer all you have to do is write. Period.
But I want you to be more than just a writer. I want you to be a writer who makes money and makes a difference. But to be a writer with an audience and a writer who earns a living from her work, you have to do a bit more than just write. That’s what this blog series is all about.
Being both a writer and an entrepreneur is not easy. I struggle with this ALL THE TIME. Sometimes balancing the business of writing with the art of writing seems nearly impossible. And perhaps it is. I, after all, am quick to quip that balance is a unicorn — something I first heard from blogger and PR guru Aliah Davis McHenry.
I believe our lives ebb and flow like the seasons. Every day can’t be summer and thank God winter won’t last always. But as I strive to grow See Jane Write — the community, the blog, the brand that has landed so many writing opportunities in my lap, I cannot neglect my craft or else I’ll have no skill with which to seize these opportunities I have been afforded.
Sometimes this keeps me up at night and I feel silly because the solution is simple. The solution is right there in my manifesto and in the advice I give my coaching clients and the women of See Jane Write.
The solution: Write every day. Whether it’s one page or one sentence, write every day.
(Related Reading: 365 Blog Post Ideas and Writing Prompts)
So, I have decided to practice what I preach and commit to writing something (that’s not for marketing purposes) every single day. I’ve decided to return to journaling. In this way I am going to write like a girl.
Write Like a Girl
To me, writing like a girl isn’t about writing to meet a deadline or blogging to build a business. Those things are rewarding and important. Those are things I have no plans of quitting and those are the things I plan to help you with in this series. But we have to keep our passion for the written word strong, too.
Writing like a girl is waking up early or staying up late to scribble personal prose in your favorite notebook while sprawled across your bed, hair piled into a messy bun because you don’t want any distractions, not even the curls your twirl around your finger when you’re in deep thought.
Writing like a girl is pouring your heart out on the page not for publication but because you just can’t help yourself, just as you probably did in your adolescent years. Writing like a girl is the craft of writing in its purest form.
So start here: Commit to journaling daily.
(Related Reading: How to Write Like a Girl)
Write like a girl, but remember that girl has to grow up. Being an adult means doing things even when you don’t feel like it. Being a successful writer means creating content even when you don’t feel like it. Stop sitting around saying you can’t write because you don’t feel “inspired.
Developing a Writing Regimen
Part of taking yourself seriously as a writer is developing a writing regimen, which you need to do whether you’re a blogger, freelance writer, or author.
If you are a blogger try taking blog dates, as I like to call them, and batch produce content. A blog date is when you take your laptop to your favorite library or coffee shop and work on blog content for hours. You can do this at home if you have to, but I find that it’s best that I get out of the house so I’m not distracted by laundry, dishes or Law & Order reruns.
Be sure to go on these blog dates with a plan, otherwise you’ll waste time staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen and binging on coffeeshop pastries.
I plan out my blog content a month in advance and I try to create the content a week in advance. Blogging can be broken down into three steps: produce, polish, promote. Ideally you would use a blog date for each step. Ideally, you’d spend several hours simply writing as many posts as you can. Then, you’d spend another blog date editing and formating those posts. And finally you’d take some time planning and scheduling social media posts and emails to promote your content.
As a freelance writer working for several magazines and online publications I tend to break this process into five steps: pitching, researching, interviewing, writing, editing. Spend some time researching and pitching several different article ideas to several different publications. Then, once you get an assignment, plan out when you’ll do additional research. Schedule and prepare for any necessary interviews. Then, make appointments with yourself and schedule when you will write your article and when you will edit it.
If you’re working on a book, I recommend giving yourself daily assignments. This assignment could be to write 5 or 10 pages each day or to write for 30 minutes or one hour a day. If you’re writing a collection of essays, perhaps you can write one essay a day. This is what I’m doing to complete the first draft of the book I’m currently working on.
Making Time to Write
Now you may be thinking, “But, Javacia, I don’t have time to write. I’m just too busy.” Stop it. Everyone is busy. Your busy schedule doesn’t make you special. Sorry. Let’s be honest, we make time for the things we want to do. So if you want to be a writer, make time to write.
I blog, freelance, run See Jane Write, and I have a full-time teaching job. I also exercise daily and I have a husband who’d actually like to see me sometimes. In other words, I’m really busy, too. But I also really want to write and so I do. I get up 4 a.m. every weekday so I can write, blog, or work on the business side of writing before I head to school to teach.
I’m not saying you have to wake up at 4 a.m. like I do, but I am saying you have to do something. I wake up early to write. I have a friend who chooses to stay up late. One See Jane Write member wrote an entire book by writing (and then editing) a chapter a day on her lunch break. Figure out what works best for you and do it!
So let’s review:
- You are a writer. To be a writer all you have to do is write.
- To be a writer who makes money and makes a difference you must treat writing like a business. Writers must be entrepreneurs, so it’s time to write like a boss.
- Write like a girl, too. Write in your journal daily as you most likely did in your adolescent years.
- Develop a writing regimen for blogging, freelance writing and book writing.
- Stop making excuses and make the time to write.
Next in this series I’ll discuss the importance of knowing who you are and what you want in your journey to write like a boss. Be sure to sign up for the See Jane Write mailing list to be notified when the next post publishes.
And if you want to dig even deeper, join me Tuesday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m. CT for the Write Like a Boss webinar. I’ll go over the content covered in this series and more and I’ll answer any specific questions you have about writing and blogging. Space is limited. Sign up here.