How to Bring Your Writing Game Up a Notch

Two years ago, my oldest son, Austin, switched sports from baseball to basketball.

To make the transition, he dedicated many hours to practice (and still does).

Four hours a week goes to working out. Another eight hours on drills. And between two to 12 hours playing basketball.

After a year, he went from second string to starting point guard and captain of the team.

In his second year of following the above regimen, he’s still improving but not seeing the same level of progress as before.

So he added extra strength training, even though his coach suggested he shoot 500 balls a day and focus on improving the consistency of his 3-point shots …

Because he’s comfortable with his routine, it’s easier to do more of the same rather than change to something new.

This happens with our writing too.

When beginning, you’re in perpetual “study mode.” So you improve by leaps and bounds.

As your skill increases, it’s time to get off the bench and into the game. So you must switch your focus from learning to taking the concrete, actionable steps that’ll grow your business.

Often what happens is you stick with what you’re used to, like working on courses instead of adjusting your plan to include daily client-getting activities.

Doubt creeps in. You think you’ll never make the kind of money you hear about. In reality, changing your plan to focus on the one thing that’ll make a difference is all you need to do.

I realized this two years ago at an AWAI FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair when I saw people leapfrogging over me.

I was too focused on studying copywriting and not spending enough time on the one thing that would make me better. In my case, actually writing more.

Determining what you should concentrate on will depend on where you are in your business and your strengths and weaknesses.

Here are some ideas for improving your game:

  • Sharpen your writing. The best way I’ve found to do this is to use the mini peer review. (Read about mini peer reviews here.) If you don’t have client work and aren’t sure what to write, start a money-making website or work on spec assignments for the upcoming AWAI FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.
  • Focus on getting clients. To earn the income you desire, focus on doing one thing every day towards getting more or better clients. Fine-tune your approach, learn to identify clients’ profit gaps, and attract clients who’ll pay you big money right now. (To learn how to approach clients with profit gaps, read Joshua Boswell’s article “You’re a Bitter Disappointment to Your Loved Ones and Yourself.”)
  • Specialize in a niche. I know you’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. Picking a specific niche can quickly increase your income.
  • Identify a gap. Look for what’s not covered well or is in demand. For example, Pam Foster saw a need in the pet care industry. Green industries, the video game market, or something in the B2B arena are other niches with gaps. Concentrate your effort on identifying and filling a need.

Focusing on activities that will keep your business growing is what separates the Michael Jordans of the world from the career benchwarmers.

So if you’re looking to bring your freelance business up a notch, look at how you’re spending your time—you might need to adjust your focus.

Let me know how you’ll shift your focus to improve your chances of success below.

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Published: August 31, 2011

6 Responses to “How to Bring Your Writing Game Up a Notch”

  1. Wow. "doubt creeps in ..." & "focus on studying copywriting" I love copywriting - and studying. Have 4 courses. Found my niche! Nonprofits. Bought the course & .. studying. Do I have clients yet? Nope. Your client-getting activities smacked me today. Hmm. Another course - but an "aha" moment? Well, I bought it. It's an activity & I'm shifting my focus! Bootcamp's out for me this year - but talk to you next year! Before that - I've got clients to get. Thank you for a wake up.


  2. Cindy, what a good piece - thanks. I'm not over-doing the studying. But I AM under-doing the client recruitment. It's a simple shift but it's not easy. Probably like your son and the sports!

    BTW, we met at Bootcamp 2007 and great to see you're doing well in the business.
    Best, Mohan (London/UK)


  3. I was interested in the comment that you were unprepared for the opportunities. Will there be the same type of opportunities next year if you know you are not ready (too many things have happened in the job I currently have, and it is not like I do not enjoy what I am doing, but would like to have the creative side a chance to blossom) but intend in your goals to do this next year?

    Guest (Karen)

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