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It seems counter-intuitive at first. That the act of “unlearning” can actually serve to inform, increase your creative I.Q. and your bottom line as a writer. But it’s true.
As a veteran freelancer, I can attest.
In my earlier years, I followed the “cardinal” rules of writing with a similar reverence to the 10 Commandments.
But, this blind adherence and one-size-fits-all approach caused a few detours and delays on the road to success, and lengthened my learning curve.
Through a paradigm shift and “re-education,” thankfully, I eventually got smarter.
Perhaps you should too.
- Find that your writing output greatly exceeds your income
- Continue to be caught in the feast or famine cycle
- Feel that you’re on a treadmill going nowhere
- Are seeking to work “smarter, not harder” this year
- Are in a “blog fog”
- Feel overwhelmed and confused from information overload
There’s a better way.
Here are five popular, “schools of thought” and practices today’s writer must abandon to become more strategic, efficient and profitable.
1. LESSONS FROM YOUR ENGLISH TEACHER
“Never start a sentence with AND or BECAUSE” we were told. Or the contention that “you can’t convey a complete thought with a fragment.”
Your English teacher had the best of intentions, I‘m sure. But, you’ll find that there’s a world of difference between academic writing and creative writing. In creative writing fragments are totally acceptable, and often provide for a more conversational tone and smoother flow. Keep in mind that some rules were meant to be broken. Assess accordingly.
2. THE “YOU MUST WRITE EVERYDAY” PHILOSOPHY
Don’t believe the hype. Unless you have a corporate gig that dictates that you write daily, are under deadline with a book contract, or have clients that pay you to do so, writing everyday is really unnecessary.
Writing every. Single. Day. Can prove to be impractical, boring and stressful. And “forced” writing, much like a shotgun wedding, can leave us feeling pressured and obligated. Which rarely produces anything of real quality.“forced” writing, much like a shotgun wedding, can leave us feeling pressured and obligated Click To Tweet
As a prolific scribe with over 700 publishing credits under my belt, I find that varying my creative routine keeps things interesting and progressive. For example, when I’m not writing, I’m reading writing related materials. Or researching paying markets, or organizing my office, or pursuing a life worth writing about. Hello? Each day varies. Try it on for size. As long as your activities are moving you forward in your goals or expanding your knowledge base, count it as good. And lose the guilt.
Acclaimed author, James Scott Bell, advocates weekly word quotas as an alternative to writing daily. He shares in a round-up featured at Writers Digest: “ I also intentionally take one day off a week. I call it my writing sabbath. I find that taking a one-day break charges my batteries like nothing else. Sunday is the day I’ve chosen. On Monday I’m refreshed and ready to go. I also advocate taking a weeklong break from writing each year. Use this time to assess your career, set goals, make plans—because if you aim at nothing, there’s a very good chance you’ll hit it.”
3. THE “BRAGGING IS UNATTRACTIVE” MINDSET
One of the reasons it’s difficult for many of us to “toot our own horn,” promote our books, blogs, and trumpet our career successes is that we’ve been socialized to believe that boasting is, well…in poor taste. (Thanks, mom). But in order to thrive, make money, and brand our businesses in a competitive industry, we must!
Here are a few classy, acceptable ways to boast and build your bottom line as a writer…
- “Brag” through guest posts written for others sites with an impressive Bio at the conclusion of your piece
- Through writing awards reflected on your site
- With testimonials shared on a dedicated page on your blog
- Through sharing your social media numbers (as social proof) on various platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)
4. THE “BLOGGING ON A FREE PLATFORM IS UNPROFESSIONAL” ADVICE
Not true. Not always. This advice is as played out as 8-track tapes.
But don’t just take my word for it. Check out the “Top Writing Blogs” compilation each year, and you’ll see that many “free blogs” make the cut. That’s right. These “under dogs” garner repeated recognition, respect of their peers, and real regard. I have had the honor of being one of them. Additionally, my Blogger based site has managed to land major clients from various industries and brands including: Good Earth Tea, Fan Story, The Write Design Company and Open Colleges Australia. It works if you work it!
5.THE NEGATIVE PROGRAMMING AND SELF-DEFEATING BELIEFS
There’s great validity to the expression, “As a man thinketh, so it is.” Future success sometimes requires abandoning past labeling as a child, a negative self-image, or fear based upon past failures. “Unlearn” faulty thinking.
Did you know that your thoughts create a certain vibrational energy that can manifest either positively or negatively? It’s called the Law of Attraction, and is addressed in the popular teachings of best-selling author, Louise Hay’s book “You can Heal Your Life.”
Remember, if you’d like to graduate to new levels in your writing career, mastering these five key lessons is elementary.
Rid yourself of outdated rules and mis-information today.
Because the more you learn, the more you’ll earn.