The One Thing You Must Do to Become a Successful Writer
When I have the last session of any of my Circle of Success Targeting Learning Programs, I tell the participants the same thing I’m about to tell you.
I greet our final time today with mixed emotions: I’m both excited and reluctant to say good-bye.
Why excited? This article is the fifth and final in my series of the Circle of Success blog posts I’m sharing with you this week. I’m hoping my words have helped you become a better, more successful writer. And that excites me.
I’m reluctant to say good-bye, because I’ve enjoyed sharing this time with you so much. But I hope – no, make that I’m sure – we’ll meet again in another series for The Writer’s Life. And, who knows, maybe we’ll chat again in the COS Blog or in one of the COS Targeted Learning Programs.
Enough said. Yesterday we talked about four secrets to becoming an A-level writer.
Today, as I promised then, we’re going to look at the one thing you must do to be a successful writer.
Leave this one thing out, and I don’t care how skilled you are … how many books you read … how many programs you study … you cannot become a successful writer.
The single most important thing you must do to ensure your writing success …
Write. And write some more. And even more.
To be successful, you must write something every day. You must do this seven days a week.
It doesn’t have to be much. You can get by with 250 words a day.
Consider your daily writing “push-ups” for the brain. Writing daily strengthens your “writing muscles.” It makes coming up with ideas easier. It reduces the fear of the blank page … and makes words flow more smoothly.
But when you do this daily writing, make sure it’s something that’ll have the biggest impact on your career.
How do you do that? What do you write?
It isn’t just about writing
Any writing you do is not really about making a sale … or writing resumes … or producing web copy … or being a “content provider.”
All successful writing is about persuasion. Make your daily writing something persuasive. Choose anything you’re passionate about and persuade someone else to see your point of view.
For instance, write your local newspaper about an important issue. Convince readers why the local park district needs more money. Or, write a letter to the editor urging support of an upcoming “Walk for Life” to raise money for breast cancer research.
Whatever it is you write, make it something you feel strongly about. Get your readers to feel the same way.
Write a testimonial letter for products you’ve tried and have been wowed by. Or, if you’ve been disappointed, write to the company telling them why. Don’t be angry in this letter. Bring your writing skills into play … and be persuasive.
Did you visit a vacation spot you loved? Write a letter and tell someone about it. It doesn’t have to be a fancy escape to Paris. Write about the three days spent fishing for trout on the upper Sacramento River.
Did you see a movie you loved – or hated? Write an in-depth review.
Don’t send those letters
Once you’ve written your letter, don’t send it … yet. Let it sit for a few days. Then, go back and, for one of your daily writing sessions, you don’t write. Rewrite. Look at one of your writing samples with a critical eye.
Does it say exactly what you wanted to say? Are the words the best ones you can use? Have you eliminated words you didn’t need and simplified your language as much as possible without writing down to your reader?
Polish your writing until it’s close to perfect. Once it’s there, let others see it. Send your testimonial to the company whose product impressed you. Send your restaurant letter or your vacation story to the local newspaper. Upload your movie review to someplace like the Internet Movie Database.
After a while – sooner rather than later – your writing gets stronger, more persuasive.
Practice every day. Writing will get easier for you. You’ll gain more confidence. You’ll love to write and will be writing more.
And soon, you’re submitting real assignments to real companies you want to write for … and soon you’ll get paid.
But, it won’t happen if you don’t take the one make-or-break step … and write every day.
One thing I’d love for you to write right now is your comments. You can do it in the comment section here. I’d love to hear what you have to say.
I’ve loved being with you this week. Maybe we’ll meet again. Perhaps in the COS Blog, or at Bootcamp, or in one of the Circle of Success Targeted Learning Programs. Until then …
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