Write Every Day
I had a friend who wanted to be a painter. “When I move to Paris I’ll finally be able to paint,” she said. She never moved to Paris. Now she’s a programmer and hates her job. I have another friend who has been working for 30 years on one novel. She keeps hating it and rewriting it. She can’t get a publisher interested. She only writes when she’s inspired. She needs writing groups to push her along.
I get it. I get writer’s block also. But writing is a muscle. I used to play in chess tournaments a lot. I was ranked a master. And then I got busy with other things. So my skill level has dropped. It would take me a good six months of studying, three hours a day to just get back up to my old skill level. If you don’t write every day, you won’t know what your potential skill level is. You will be producing sub-par work. And in a world where 15 million books will be published this year, your book will have little chance to shine.
It doesn’t matter if you write good stuff or bad stuff every day. Yesterday, for fun, I wrote about how much I enjoyed bowel movements. Will I publish that? I hope not! It was awful! But I wrote because that’s what I wrote yesterday. 1500 words about bowel movements. Mission accomplished.
Do the math: if you just write 1,000 words a day that are publishable then you have a book every two months. 1,000 words a day is not easy. But it’s not hard either. This post is 1,800 words so far and I started 20 minutes ago. I’ll spend many more hours rewriting it than writing, it but once you start exercising the writing muscle (start with 200 words a day, then 300, etc.) you will get up to 1,000.
Rewrite Every Day
See above. I feel better about the words I take out then the words I write. First you have a block of stone, then you make a sculpture, then you chisel and fine tune until you have a work of art. Art is born from the rewrite, not from the typewrite.
With Choose Yourself! I kept rewriting obsessively. One time the book was all finished and sent to editors, designers, etc. Then I did the audio version. KABLAMO! Any paragraph that made me feel like, “Ugh, I’m too bored to read this out loud,” I noted. Then I went back home and rewrote the whole book again. And the audio version veered so much from the book it was completely unabridged. Everyone hated me. But I liked the final result much beter. Read your work out loud and cut out anything that makes you lag.
Can I Make Money Writing Articles?
No. You used to be able to make a living writing articles. Just a few years ago. In 2005 I made a good living writing about 3-4 articles a day for different publications while I was running my fund and before I started and sold Stockpickr. But those days are over. People just don’t pay for content. And there are too many writers. It’s a supply and demand thing.
If you expect to make a living from articles or blogs then figure out how to do one of three things:
- Blog for free, but then lead people to a subscription information product. Like “stock picks” or “dating” or whatever you think you’re an expert at and nobody else is.
- Get speaking gigs. This is hard.
- Do consulting or coaching. This is possible.
I’ve never been that great at any of the three above. Well, maybe #3 but only recently. So this leaves us with only one thing. ONE THING works.