blog and content writing

writing courses

This blog post was sparked from a discussion I had with a close friend two days ago. She wants to start writing but has no idea where to begin. Considering I went through a similar situation 4 years ago, I thought the advice and tips I gave her would be useful for anyone out there wanting to become a writer.

become a writer

Set aside 5 minutes each day

The hardest part of starting any new project is…the beginning. If writing for hours feels a bit daunting then set aside 5 minutes to jot down ideas or even write a couple of sentences in a journal. Do it at a time, either morning or evening, when there are no distractions or children demanding your attention. The aim is to build a writing habit.

Find writers groups

Writer groups can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn and even through Twitter hashtags. If you feel intimidated because you have to chat to strangers, simply join and read what people are talking about.

The advantages of joining such groups are; it keeps you connected to what’s happening in your area or city when it comes to events, meeting authors and other writers, it keeps you motivated; there are always others who ask the same questions and you have a forum for asking your own questions and receiving advice.

Take a writing course

Doing writing courses got me started off on the freelancing path and I avoided making many of the mistakes beginners make – so I got published faster. If you want to write children’s books, do a writing course specifically focusing on it or a blogging course if you’d like to blog.

Get a coffee

If you want to write but want to gauge what the industry is like, find a writer who is already doing what you want to do, then offer to take them out for a coffee. Even if they say no, at least you’ve made the connection and most people will say yes!

Find an accountability buddy

I offered to be my friend’s writing buddy and so can you. Find someone you know who also wants to write and buddy up with them to keep yourself accountable. Set one to three goals for every week and catch up with your buddy weekly via email or phone to see how much progress you’ve made. This exercise will get rid of your excuses and keep you motivated to achieve more.

Don’t fear rejection

Rejection can take on many forms for a writer; the important thing is not to fear it. View it as a learning opportunity and check how you can turn it into success. For example, one editor’s rejection could be another editor’s commission.

Keep trying.

I’m interested to know how you got started as a writer. Was it through blogging, writing for free or through work?

 

bad habits writer

Are these bad habits failing you as a writer?

Happy 2016!

Bad habits. Everyone has them – I can list a few that I’m currently trying to kick like not watching more than an hour of TV, moving around more (a lack of which has already led to two physio sessions early this year).

bad habits writer

As a writer though, bad habits can be the difference between getting constant work and not. After freelancing for the last four years and a bit, here are some common habits I’ve seen or experienced that can set you up for failure:

  1. Not setting goals leaving you directionless and procrastinating away or working on projects that don’t lead anywhere like a no-through road.
  2. Setting unrealistic goals which are a road to failure.
  3. Setting easy goals which leave you feeling dissatisfied.
  4. Not meeting deadlines – This is a strict no-negotiable rule if you want to become a successful writer. My writing tutor once told us that she met her deadline while in hospital with a broken leg.
  5. Not fact checking your work – Not checking your work for accuracy will not inspire confidence in your abilities to produce work that’s of great quality. Here’s a great post on why you should do it each time.
  6. Envying the success of others – Total waste of time, why not focus your efforts on setting goals and then working hard to achieve those?
  7. Accepting low paying work which makes you feel demoralised.
  8. Not wanting to network – I dread networking events at the best of times, but when you work from home like I do, you need a link with the outside world and these events are a great way to meet new people.
  9. Not asking for help – You’ve had 5 pitches rejected and no response from letters of introduction you’ve sent out to potential clients. Rather than stewing over the rejections, ask a fellow writer for some advice.
  10. Not pitching – You come up with great ideas but don’t send them to editors for fear of rejection. Stop fearing rejection and just do it! The more you pitch, the easier it gets.
  11. Not marketing yourself and your services – When people ask what you do, you usually avoid telling them you’re a writer. Next time, say it proudly and see where it leads you.

What bad habits do you indulge in that are stopping you from becoming a good writer?