Over the last two weeks, you’ve learned a little about each Finalist for Wealthy Web Writer’s 2021 Reality Blogger.
In our initial entries two weeks ago, you learned about our 2021 plans and how we hope to achieve them. Last week, you got to know each of us a little bit through our stories of how we overcame something that’s been holding us back.
Great reads all around by each of the Finalists…
The competition is incredibly stiff, and I’m honored I was chosen as a Finalist with the three amazing women I now have the pleasure of calling my colleagues…
Best of luck to each of you on being voted Wealthy Web Writer’s 2021 Reality Blogger!
But… I know who I’m voting for… 😉
One lesson I’ve learned these past few weeks is our lives follow many different paths over the years, and as we reflect on our lives, it can be pretty rewarding to see where we were and where we stand today.
For me, I turned 50 earlier this year. Turning 50 got me to thinking about what course I want for my next 50 years.
As I read about the plans and setbacks of my colleagues, I contemplated my own life and what I want from copywriting going forward…
I realized that the life I want in my next 50 years is more attainable through my writing than it ever will be working as an attorney… and as a bonus, I have more fun writing than I do practicing law.
I also realized why I’m so drawn to writing, even though it challenges me and pushes my limits every day…
… Being successful as a writer has much in common with training for and competing in Ironman triathlons.
Training for an Ironman, just like writing, involves a lot of suffering… but also a lot of joy.
So, as I looked back on where I’ve been and where I stand today, I realized that a few of the rules that keep me motivated and help me push my limits during my Ironman training routines… also apply to building a successful writing routine.
Seven Rules for Successful (Training) Writing
I’ve been consciously implementing these seven rules, from my triathlon training, as part of my writing routine over the past 4-5 months, and I’ve had wonderful results; perhaps they’ll work for you too!
1. Do a Bit Everyday
No one can wake up one day and say, “I’m going to do an Ironman triathlon tomorrow.” The same goes for being a prolific copywriter. Both take a lot of practice and consistency.
So, develop a routine and do a little bit of writing each day.
The key on this — whether it’s training or writing — is to do that little bit even when I don’t feel like it.
I made the connection here because when I looked at the Ironman training I’ve done over the years, there have been numerous days I just didn’t want to go for a run, go to the pool, or go for a long bike ride…
But I did it anyway, and you know what? 10-15 minutes into the workout… I loved being out on the road or trail running or biking, or in the pool swimming.
So, when I don’t feel like writing, I do it anyway… just for 15 minutes. Most times that 15 minutes turns into an hour or more…
Well, because I enjoy writing! (And momentum works in your favor — that ‘a body in motion stays in motion’ maxim.)
2. Track Your Progress and Celebrate Your Wins
Tracking your progress allows you to celebrate when you have a small victory. It also gives you a visual reference to think about ways you can improve.
In other words, don’t wait until you’re a six-figure copywriter to celebrate — that’s too far out there and so many wins will happen between now and then.
Give yourself credit along the way with each smaller win… like when you set up your email list, launch your first landing page, publish your website, update your LinkedIn profile, or finished a unit in your latest training program.
Whatever it is — Celebrate!
Also, share your successes and put yourself out there. People will celebrate with you. They’ll give you feedback. You’ll learn a lot and make solid progress. (I’ll touch on this more in just a moment.)
Personally, I’ve followed a pattern I use for my training. I track the time it takes me to complete a certain workout… each time I better my time on that workout — Time to Celebrate!
Translated to my writing… each day that I’m better about sticking to my Plan for building my success as a copywriter — I celebrate the win!
As a matter of fact, when I submit this article and it’s published on Wealthy Web Writer… Celebration!
3. Allow Yourself to be Less than Perfect
Accept that every day is not only going to be different… every day won’t be a win.
Sometimes (well, often!) running or swimming will suck all the life out of me. I’ve learned to accept it and move on. Some days, training is just going to hurt, but when it hurts, it’s building strength.
Likewise, sometimes I’ll spend hours writing, just to realize all I’ve done is write a bunch of random sentences that make little or no sense and have no logical coherence whatsoever. Then, there will be days I bang out pages and pages of well-developed copy in just a few hours.
What this boils down to is… you haven’t failed unless you stop. As Rebecca Matter reminded us today during an Inside AWAI session, and as legendary copywriter Mark Ford teaches, it takes thousands of tiny failures to build the foundation of success.
4. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
Take at least one day off every week. No writing. No actively thinking about a writing project or training program… A. Day. Off.
Plus, get enough sleep every day. Take power naps. Eat a healthy diet.
All these will ensure you have the fuel — physical and mental — to write at your best.
5. Find a Balance Between the Long and Short(er)
We all… most of us anyway… work on multiple smaller projects simultaneously. I try to do it each day.
When I train for an Ironman triathlon, it’s not all long-distance swim, bike, run ‘til you drop training. In addition to mixing up long endurance workouts and shorter speed or strength workouts, I also do weight training and at certain periods of training, multiple workouts on the same day.
Here, for your writing, the key, in addition to the multiple smaller projects each day, is to make sure you also dedicate part of your day to working on a larger project for a long stretch of time.
Training yourself for endurance writing is necessary for the big projects that can be game-changers for your writing career.
6. Listen to Yourself (but not too much…)
I think we all know that ‘listening to yourself’ can be a double-edge sword.
That said, it’s important to understand when you’re stuck and to recognize the reality that some days life just requires other priorities.
The same holds for my triathlon training. Some days there just isn’t time for a six-hour bike ride or a 20-mile run. Or if my knee has a stabbing pain, I’m going to skip running that day, and opt for a bike ride or session in the pool instead.
Rest assured though, I will drag my lazy butt out of bed and go for that run if there’s no real impediment to doing it, even when I really feel like sleeping in.
The key is to not always believe what the voices in your head are telling you. Sometimes, these thoughts are your mind making up excuses to avoid the discomfort of writing (or training).
When you feel this way, remember my advice in #1… do it for 15 minutes and see what happens.
7. Enjoy Solitude
I learned early on in triathlon — and not so early on in writing — that we need to get comfortable being alone, in our own head, for long hours at a time.
When I train for triathlon, I prefer to swim, bike, and run by myself for most workouts. Why?
Triathlon is a solo sport where working off a teammate or another athlete during a race is against the rules. It can be uncomfortable at times, be to perform you have get okay with it.
Yes, you will need to spend time by yourself — writing. It’s the only way to improve your skills. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a place in writing — and triathlon training — for group projects or workouts, but that doesn’t change the fact we need to be comfortable with the solitude of sitting at the computer writing.
Okay, I know that’s seven rules, but I have a few more to help keep you on track to living the writer’s life…
Bonus #1: Relax and Read If You Feel Stuck
If you’re like me, there are some days you just can’t write. You’re stuck. What do you do?
I get up, wash my face, and read.
The reading-equivalent in my triathlon training is stretching or yoga. When every muscle and joint hurts, and I “can’t even…” anymore, I get on the yoga mat and do some deep stretching. It relaxes me… and the bonus — it also helps make me stronger.
Just relaxing into some quiet, leisure reading has the same effect with my writing… often it will get me unstuck and back to writing — and writing stronger.
I can’t count the number of times a random passage or paragraph while I’m reading will unleash a flood of ideas for a writing project I’ve been stuck on.
Bonus #2: Find Your Community
Yes, you need a community. You need to feel inspired and motivated.
Okay, maybe you don’t need a community, but it definitely helps to have one.
The main reason? Support! We all need some support from like-minded colleagues with similar goals and aspirations.
This is what ties in with Tracking Your Progress and Celebrating Your Wins in #2.
You can’t imagine the motivation of being the slowest in the group. When that happens, I work hard to make big gains for the next group run… and I almost always see huge gains in endurance and strength when I train with a group.
If you join a community — or an accountability group — of writers who are a mix of advanced and just learning the ropes, and then listen, learn, enjoy, I know you’ll become a better writer by incorporating what you observe and learn.
Why? A supportive community will provide you with honest — sometimes brutal, but always positive — feedback and recommendations on how to improve your craft.
To make this work, you need to get comfortable with sharing your work with your peers, coaches, mentors, or anyone who can provide positive, constructive feedback.
I have a love/hate relationship with feedback, but I’ve learned to take it seriously, because a fresh set of outside eyes — especially if those eyes are someone in your target audience — will make your writing better.
I’m part of several accountability and mastermind groups, and I’ll tell you what… I always look forward to those monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly meetings. They’re educational, supportive, and when I need a kick in the butt… my peeps are always there to make sure I get what I need.
Living The Writer’s Life!
So, I won’t kid you… like the steps it took last week to kick imposter syndrome and reframe it as ‘aspiring beginner syndrome,’ it will also take deliberate effort to implement these seven… I mean, nine rules for success and enjoy the spoils of living the writer’s life.
Then again, anything worth doing, is not only worth doing right, it’s worth dedication and daily focused effort!
So, put faith in yourself and trust you can handle whatever is thrown your way, and I hope to have your vote in December, and see you in January as Wealthy Web Writer’s 2021 Reality Blogger…
Remember, in addition to pursuing my own goals, I hope to see… and hear… from all of you each week, as together, we get closer to living the writer’s life one step at a time…
Say it with me (drop it in the comments…):
“This year, I stop saying I want the writer’s life, and start taking the necessary daily steps to build and live the writer’s life of my dreams!
By Design and On Purpose…”