5 Mistakes New Writers Make 

Here are five mistakes that new and inexperienced writers often make. Usually, when your readers are critical and on the ‘lookout’ for the theme, or ‘motif’ that you are trying to present, it is for a reason. If you try to be overly symbolic, your readers can tell almost right away. If your reader is caught up in this wave of critical analyzation, it is highly likely that they won’t pay as much as attention to what it is you’re really trying to convey. Your essence will be lost with them.

Does this mean you absolutely can’t use symbolism? No. Does this mean that your use of imagery and themes are prohibited? Not at all. The fix is simpler than you may imagine it to be. Instead of using boring cliches, try to use real-life instances in their place. It is better to drive your narrative through plot tension and difficult, real dilemmas. For example, instead of using the theme of ‘justice,’ why not use something more specific? Specifically, instead of using the word ‘justice,’ you could instead use something like, ‘What do you find more important? Protecting the innocent, or letting fear and violence run rampant?’

This is just an example. The main point I’m trying to make is this: let your story speak the most and engage the reader, not other symbolism that can be difficult to decipher, and come across as narcissistic. Most of all, it’s just good to respect your readers, as an author. If you think that your theme, image, and ‘symbolism’ are too easily identifiable, there is a strong chance that your readers do, too. That is something that you don’t want. What good is a story that explains itself in such a way that the readers are already bored in the first few chapters? You should always assume that your readers are just as intelligent as you are. Ensuring that you write like you are aware of this factor is essential to making a good story flow.

Don’t try so hard, it comes off as arrogant and annoying to the readers. Again, I should stress that the readers are just as intelligent as you are, typically, at least. They can see right through your guise. When you’re revising your story, find those parts where you come off as too ‘impressive’ or ‘comical’ and change or remove them. They are most likely, unnecessary and distracting to the plot or theme that you think you are so greatly conveying.

Get rid of extra, useless words. Everyone uses extra words. These are words that just don’t deserve to make the cut. They’re probably fillers. Unless, of course, these words are specifically important for developing the theme, or a specific character. You should know when you’re editing your work — especially after reading this.

Avoid trying to amaze your readers with your plethora of knowledge, especially when describing a specific place or idea. Again, the readers usually see straight through it. Believe it or not, people are remarkably perceptive.

Tips for Defeating Your Fear of Writing

Here are some useful tips for defeating your fear of writing. Step one, write down your goal! What exactly does success look like for you? Use your imagination, and make it crystal clear. Be specific. Creating this goal, whatever it is you have in mind, can serve two different reasons. First of all, when you set your mind to the goal, it can encourage you to stop thinking and just write. The second reason? Creating a goal can give you a way to see if your writing is actually as effective as you’d like it to be. If writing increases the possibility of success, then the answer is clear. Of course, it’s effective! A psychological measuring rod is important when your emotions are starting to get control of your work ethic.

Try to create a thought out plan for your content. Use your favorite planning application and get to work. This could be excel, powerpoint, some brain-storming application, a pencil and a piece of paper — it could be anything. I’d advise starting with top-tier ideas. Don’t limit yourself; it isn’t necessary. For example, if you’re writing a sales page, you should describe the benefits with little to no difficulty.

Plan out what content you’ll need to support your top-tier ideas. Content is imperative. For example, on your sales-page, each benefit would have its own specific and unique entry. Be as detailed as possible. Write down everything that comes to mind. After you complete this step, re-read everything you jotted down and carefully evaluate the content that you described. Take out anything unnecessary. Continue to swap around and remove all of your entries until you’re left with the just the critical information.

Now, divide all of your fantastic, awe-inspiring ideas into different categories and sections. Introduce all of your sections with good headliners and make sure they are sorted in the correct order.

Editing. You can’t forget to edit! Editing is one of the most crucial aspects to any sort of writing endeavor. Editing is not something that can be avoided, or put off. After you’ve finished writing everything, the absolutely terrifying post-writing mindset begins to settle into place. Revising, smoothing, detailing, grammar-checking, and so on, are all great tools to speed up this process. However, be careful, because there is something deadly that you should avoid at all costs. This is the trap of perfectionism. Be sure that you don’t try to edit and write at the same time. Doing this ‘multitasking’ is totally counter-productive, and over-all, a waste of your precious time.

Focus on removing excess words and sentences while you’re editing. Many people forget that they type way more than what is necessary. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t describe a relevant story that you happen to find interesting or use some fun adverb or adjective that you like; it just means avoid excessive ‘fluff.’ Believe me; no one wants to read it.

However, make sure that you set a limit on how much you edit. You don’t want to be left with just the skeleton of what was once a strong, convincing body of language and words. Don’t go to the extreme. You don’t want to take out too much — especially if you’re just too nitpicky. For very critical documents, you might go as far as maybe twelve revisions, but nothing more than that. That’s already nearing the extreme.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Writing

There are many life habits that you can change to improve your writing and brain processing power. Afterall, your brain is like a computer. For your computer to operate correctly, it is must be kept clean and well supplied with power. Most people don’t realize it, but they typically run far more inefficiently than they realize.

Wake up earlier. For most people, the best of their writing comes in the early morning. Although it isn’t like there is direct scientific research to back this, it is just a widely regarded and popular claim. After a good breakfast and shower, peoples brains are the freshest in the early morning. The house is still relatively quiet (assuming you don’t live alone) and the neighborhood is still quiet (assuming you live in a neighborhood.) The business of the day ahead of you hasn’t quite picked up yet. So, start waking up early. It may take some time to get fully adjusted, but it is absolutely worth it in the end. Nothing quite compares to that fresh, ready-to-go feeling you experience upon waking up early with a fresh cup of coffee, ready to start the days writing.

Running, and (or) exercise. Running especially is a good thing to do early in the morning. Exercise, in general, is a good idea. The healthier your body is, the healthier your mind is going to be. A healthy mind means unleashed creativity and greater focus and brain power. More brain power equals more writing. It’s simple math.

Eat healthily. More specifically, eat a healthy breakfast. While you don’t have to be a super nutrition expert, everyone knows that a good protein-filled breakfast gets you ready for the day. It can give you better short and long-term memory, greater energy and increased focus — among various other things. It may feel like more work to make a good breakfast like this, but it’s only relative to your goals. You only need fifteen minutes to cook three eggs and make coffee, eat, and clean the dishes. Sure, it takes you two minutes to eat a bowl or two of carb-filled sweet cereal… but is saving that ten or so minutes really worth trading all the potential benefits you could receive by taking a few minutes to cook a good, healthy breakfast?

Caffeine stimulants, like coffee. Coffee is not the highest consumed coffee without reason. It is high in caffeine. It tastes good. But, that those aren’t the only reasons. A big part of it is the novelty that comes along with it. Nothing really beats a good cup of morning coffee. It is truly unbeatable. Not only does it taste good in the morning, it really does jumpstart your day with a good healthy rush of energy.

Find some peace and solitude. Typically, people feel that isolation can make great a sense of intentionality in one’s life. Because one has intentionally withdrawn from social interaction, it makes it easier to think about assumptions, claims, and ideas of the sociology of culture. Solitude provides an escape. It’s a way to find a new opportunity, and see life from different perspectives.

We’ve included a short video for you that will inspire to make some lifestyle/habit changes which will improve your creativity and production. Enjoy!

 

How to Get Clients as a Writer

Most freelance writers are stuck in an uncomfortable cycle of desperation — wishing that anyone would hire them for any amount of pay. However, there is the other side of the reality that most people don’t consider to realize. It’s the reality in which clients are desperate to hire you! In this dynamic, they begin to think that their project will suffer without your help.

Now, this is quite clearly a great place to be in — you have no other competition on this route. You are the only writer available for them, and this means you get paid more. How do you go about doing this? It’s simple. Be in demand! To be in demand, you must appear in the places that they read.

The easiest way to connect with clients who enjoy your writing and work, and who will automatically decide you are the best option for them, is to use popular and well-known websites that they use. There are plenty of websites that are great for this! A few among many: Forbes, Freelance Switch, Copyblogger, and Entrepreneur. These sites can bring in a steady stream of eager and waiting customers and clients. The best thing is, you don’t have to try hard to beat the competition because there is none! These clients have to come to you, and only you! Instead of trying to beat the endless crowds of competitive free lance writers, you’ve been singled out and chosen.

Building relationships are important. There are two big ways to approach the crafty business of freelance. One of these ways is that boring, terrible way of transactional business where you go out of your way to grind for clients and offer to do their projects for them. Then, that’s the end of it. After the project is closed, you both move on, and that’s all there is to it!

Or, you can do it the fun, easier way. Not so much easier, perhaps, but it isn’t nearly as tedious or exhausting. Customers are far more likely to refer and use writers that they already know, people they already have good experience with. The bond of trust has been made, and the employer knows the type of service they’ll receive from the writer time and time again. There is no sense of doubt or ambiguity — you’ve already won the employer’s trust because your first, and second projects were finished in good detail and in totality.

You should be a good writer, of course. This is not optional! It is absolutely incredible what happens when clients feel important, recognized, and heard. Listening is key in this online world. Often, newer writers are usually afraid to ask a lot of questions. Good, experienced writers ask loads of questions. Not only do the experienced writers ask a lot of questions, but they also pay attention as closely as possible to the answers and make sure that they understand exactly what it is that the writers want from them. An experienced writer leaves to start on the project with zero sense of ambiguity.

Oh, and it’s obviously important to remember to speak in the client’s voice. Use terms they are comfortable with. Talk in a manner that you’d imagine easy and relaxing. If you can reflect the client’s tonality and values well enough, they might feel that you’re one of the only writers who ‘gets’ them, or ‘understands’ them. In this way, they might hire you time and time again.

Tips to Gain Confidence as a Writer

Firstly, writers are typically way too hard on themselves. Our worst critic is ourselves, so to speak. Nobody can be really quite as hard on ourselves as we are. Not even the worst of the haters can really do as much damage as we can do to ourselves. Although sometimes, there may be an unusually fierce critic who really hits the nail on the head, it is typically us who takes away our initial confidence.

Of course, not everyone will ‘understand’ your writing. However, that is to be expected! Not everyone ‘gets’ Haruki Murakami, yet, he’s sold millions of copies!

So, here are some tips to gain confidence as an up and coming writer, fresh off the chopping board. Firstly, try your best to remember that this is just writing. Writing is writing, and that’s it. Nothing less, nothing more. You do not have to be the next C.S. Lewis. Instead, you should aim to hone in on your own uniqueness, and focus on what makes you, you.

Don’t share your writing with random strangers, or people who aren’t that close to you. It could be a very personal friend that you share this with, and it could turn out that your family is absolutely the wrong group of people to share your writing with. Who knows? When you do eventually publish your writing for the world to see, it will be quite the different experience. While you’re still in the process of writing, it is important that you only get the best, most thoughtful advice. There will be plenty of over-zealous critics, with multitudes of opinions and useless or useful words. It doesn’t matter, really. Find a close personal friend — someone who actually cares, to share your work with.

Don’t compare yourself to writers. Everyone is at different places in their life. Everyone is at a different level, and there is nothing wrong with that. It could be that trashy writers are receiving much more attention than good writers. Perhaps, you deserve more attention, but it just isn’t happening the way you want it to. The bottom line is, don’t compare yourself to anyone, even if they are better or worse. It does no one any favors. Why should you focus on another person when you are writing for yourself? It’s simply not beneficial. It is easy for such doubts to cloud your judgment. When you avoid any comparing, you’re already doing yourself a huge favor. You’re focusing on you and yourself alone.

Lastly, just write with strong, good-willed intention. Everyone gets ‘writers doubt.’ Writers doubt can cause us to lose inspiration, motivation, energy, and even time. The only way to overcome these floating emotions is to write with intention. Don’t write haphazardly. Write every day, with a strict goal. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to write five hundred or three thousand words a day. The length is irrelevant. As as you are writing firmly, and with intention, you are on the right track.

How to Boost Your Productivity as a Writer

There is a large number of ways that can easily improve your overall level of productivity — especially as a writer. Believe me; people have been there, done that. People have been around the block — and have successfully figured out the best possible methods to ensure quality and quantity, quickly, effortlessly, and efficiently.

Firstly, there is a clear correlation between the writers writing time and the writer’s wake up time. Believe it or not, most writers have a particular time of day that they are most able to concentrate in. For example, it is pointless to wake up early to write, when your best work comes out in the light… at night. So, looking at it from this way, how exactly do you figure out where you stand? It’s simple! All you have to do is run a few easy tests on yourself, especially if you aren’t decided on what time is best for you. These simple tests will pass away any of the fog that’s in your mind.

Track your motivation, energy, and focus, throughout the duration of a month. Find out which hours of the day work best for you by trial and error. Go about your schedule as you would usually do, and slowly make adjustments to fit into your new lifestyle. You can even experiment with things such as journaling. For instance, try writing down the first things that come to your mind when you wake up — whatever it is that they might be. Find the time to do this, if you can. It’s far more helpful than you might imagine it to be. Just writing these things down is incredibly relaxing and soothing. However, writing your thoughts down daily does more than relax you — it stimulates something important inside of your brain and in your mind. You’ve started writing! At least you’re writing something, now. Anyone can write down how they feel. Something is better than nothing.

In the modern age, the distractions run rampant. It is easy to become distracted on social media. So, it is heavily advised that you work one hundred percent offline. Especially, for the people who work in busy places, where your team and coworkers are constantly messaging you and updating you and asking you questions, going offline can be a surefire way to have a broad focus. Besides, in the scenario where you are completely offline, your phone, tablet, computer — everything, you no longer have any other distractions. No Instagram, no Facebook, none of that. It is just you and the words on your screen now.

Setting yourself deadlines is an incredibly good idea. Almost everyone puts off what it is that they should be doing. Or perhaps, people put off what they want to do. It could be anything — going to the gym, traveling, buying a new boat, visiting their forlorn fathers — all of this can be put off easily. However, setting yourself a moderately strict deadline can be strangely effective in forcing you to get what lies in front of you completed, and out of the way.

Why Reading is Crucial for Writers

There are many benefits of reading for writers. For instance, reading books lets you understand what the reader wants. The best writers read — a lot. If you want to become a good writer, you’re going to have to read too. If you don’t have the time to read, then you don’t have the time to write, as Stephen King once famously said. It doesn’t really matter what it is that you read. It can be anything. Diaries, magazines, books, blogs, periodicals, all of the above work just fine. As long as you’re reading something, you’re making progress.

As you go about reading, it’s important that you take down notes. As you read and write down notes, other unique thoughts will pop into your head, and it’ll be easy to come up with words of your own. There’s nothing quite as motivational as reading other peoples words and works. You see their originality, and you see that they’ve succeeded. So why can’t you do the same?

Reading doesn’t mean you have to stress out over finishing every book that you start — doing this simply defeats the purpose. Typically, people read to finish books — they don’t like to read a book half-way, only to abandon it and never see where the story was going to go. However, in your case, this doesn’t have to be the case. Finishing the book does not have to be one hundred percent necessary. There’s absolutely no reason that you can’t read blogs and books just for the sake of reading them. Some might call it browsing. This technique is a valid, good way of going about everything. As you read, you come across new ideas, new inspiration, and best of all; you fall back in love with writing — especially if you are in of those infamous writing blocks or mental plateaus.

So, don’t be afraid to read just for the sole purpose of adding new words and ideas to your mind. You can even study a language if you want. Anything is helpful. New words, new ideas, new vocabulary; all of this helps in the long run.

(Looking for a kick in the pants to get you back into books?)

On the other side of the coin, taking an interest in reading and completing novels is an excellent idea. Reading stories is an especially good idea if you like what you’re reading — not only do you expand your mind, and create motivation out of thin air, but you also end up creating good ideas of your own, based on the ideas in the book, whether you realize it or not. The subconscious really does work in mysterious ways. Besides, reading different genres of stories, especially fiction, really does give you a good idea of whats out there. Each writers voice is so different and unique and seeing how each of them works out together can give you a real appreciation of your own.

However, there’s more. As writers, we do much more than just read the book. We analyze it and ask ourselves a good variety of questions. Did we enjoy the book thoroughly, and if so, why? Were there any characters that stood out to us from among the others, and why? How did we feel about the pace, the environment, and atmosphere as a whole? Did it feel over-done, sparse, or perhaps, incredibly immersive? Were there any events that we’d like to change — and was the ending fitting and satisfactory?

All of these questions are important — because as a writer, these questions help us understand more about our writing style. It is in this way that we can further improve our writing.

 

5 Ways to Cultivate Writing Inspiration

Here are five good and almost foolproof ways to cultivate your writing inspiration. Inspiration goes hand in hand with motivation — they take a lot of work to summon and often disappear easily without so much as a gentle farewell. That’s why it’s important to consistently use your right brain to renew both of these sources as much as possible.

Use your right side of the brain to choose the right time to find out which time of day you’re naturally more energized and in tune with your creative output. Is this time late at night? Or perhaps, early in the morning, before you’ve done anything else. Ask yourself which time of day works best for you, and which time of day gives you the most amount of inspiration and energy to write creatively and efficiently. This time could be anytime.

This time could be right after your morning run or during your sons afternoon basketball practice. If there is a set time in which you feel inspiration comes to you without any difficulty, use that to your advantage and write right there and then.

Secondly, use a clean, tidy space for your writing. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a million dollar custom-designed studio with a beautiful mountain view. The only thing that matters in this designated writing spot is your comfort. Your levels of comfort and happiness should be relatively high. This space should also match your personality as much as possible. If this area just happens to be a corner of the table in the living-room, or perhaps on your bed in your shared dorm room, this spot has to make you feel free and honest to be who you are. If you’re looking for ideas to create an inspiring space, check out this post.

This way, the writing doesn’t reflect something you didn’t necessarily want to bring out to view. It is good to make sure that the place you’ve chosen to write the majority of your work is one hundred percent devoid of any negative and unpleasant memories or experiences.

Thirdly, tell people you know! Tell your family members, and tell your close friends about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Perhaps you want to be a mystery writer — this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be so mysterious about it. If this is an unusual thing for yourself, and it’s a bit personal, you might feel a bit shy about relaying this information to your family. Put simply; it could make you feel exposed or even vulnerable to an extent.

Perhaps, you might think that sharing this information with your family will set up some crazy expectation that you have to fulfill — as if you’re attempting to write the script for a blockbuster movie or Barnes and Noble best seller. However, it is important to tell the people close to what you are doing and why. People can be surprisingly compassionate. Who knows what could happen? Any support you get would be a blessing. Writing is an act of solitude, and a little help along the way never hurts.

After you’ve chosen a time and place, always try to do your writing there and then every time you write. By returning to that same area with the same smells, view, and general atmosphere, you unknowingly give yourself emotional and partial prompts to begin writing. We are creatures of habit. Your mind will begin to realize, ‘Oh, look! I’m here again in my favorite chair by the window! It must be time to write!’ And thus, less time is wasted.

Give yourself a daily quota that you must fulfill, or else. Even set yourself a word count. As you check your calendar day in and day out, you’ll start to realize that you’ve given yourself a solid chunk of time, designated for writing and for writing only. Whether it’s twenty minutes or two hours, this is a chunk of time that is meant for you to put in a good amount of work with no distractions or ailments. This is an excellent way to cultivate writing motivation.

And, in case you’re still not sure about yourself as a writer:

 

How Much Can You Get Paid for Freelance Writing?

This is the question on every freelance writer’s mind. How much can I get paid as a freelance writer?

The answer really depends on you. What do you think you are worth? What do you want to get paid? I know it sounds like I’m making this too simple but that’s really all there is to it. The beauty of running your own business is that you DO get to decide on your prices.

If you read the forums you might think that there is not a market for high paid freelance writers and that you have to charge pennies per word in order to get work. That’s simply not true. But you have to work your way up right? Well, to some extent. But not to the extent that some would have you believe.

There are several ways that you can get paid decent money (and remember, your perception of ”decent money” is up to you) from the very beginning.

Perception

One of the things that will determine how much you get paid is perception. Both your own and others’ perception of you. If you perceive yourself as a highly paid writer, you can be that. Then you just have to make other people perceive you as a highly paid writer.

Ask

Another thing that will determine how much you get paid is how much you ask for. If you don’t ask for the rates you want, you won’t get them. It’s as simple as that. Don’t let the client choose the price. You choose the price. You’re the service provider!

Over the next few weeks, one of the things I’m going to come back to often is the price you charge. We’ll talk about how to present yourself in the right light so that clients will believe that you are worth the money you are asking. Meanwhile, think about it. What do you want to be paid?