Last updated on January 29th, 2018 at 03:08 pm
Writers: Let’s Clear the Air
“It was easier to talk about writing, to do the exciting things related to art and creativity and literature, than to commit the act itself.” – Ego is Your Enemy, Ryan Holiday
This post is for you beginner writers out there but first, let’s clear the air:
1. A true writer is one who needs to get a message out. Not so much by choice. But because they feel an urge so strong they have to.
2. The label wearer is someone who wears ‘writer’ as a label to feel good about themselves. An ego booster. Talking so much about writing they don’t actually do it.
What’s my point?
It’s important to know the difference between the two and where you fall.
No amount of tools or self-help posts will make a difference unless you actually write. The reason behind why you write matters too.
My goal isn’t to “hackify” writing. It’s to simplify it for those ready to take action.
How To Have Success
Reading success articles won’t create success.
Working tireless hours to use what you learn will. Writing with a focus to help that ONE person will.
The article which gave my email list an insane amount of new subscribers is the one I poured my heart and soul into. It got 5x more traffic than a writer posting articles about her viral success on Medium.
This is when I realized how cheap talk is. Because someone can talk the talk doesn’t mean they walk the walk.
Nothing replaces doing the work yourself and figuring it out.
Having heart behind what you write AND learning the fundamentals is the way to go. Combining these two is where the magic lies.
If you’re still here, continue below. These are some tools which have helped me when I was figuring out how to get my message on the page. I hope they help you too!
1. Now Novel
Not only can you learn the fundamentals of writing a novel (step-by-step with an option to have a mentor) but their blog articles are fantastic. Seriously.
Each topic discussed is important and helpful, especially for beginner writers. With great refreshers for you advanced writers as well. Here’s an example of articles you’ll see on their page:
Amazing right? Now Novel has posts on writing action stories, using good descriptive words, and even how to plot a series. This resource is a wealth of knowledge for writers of any level.
You can sign up for their newsletter and receive articles in your inbox. I’ve kept each one tucked away in its own folder and have referenced them many times when working on my own story.
This one I discovered from another article and love it. Btw it’s free the first 30 days. Only $5 a month after.
You’ve heard of daily pages, right? It’s an exercise from The Artist’s Way. Every morning you write 3 pages of stream of consciousness to free up your mind for creative work.
On this site, you get your post broken down and it looks like this:
You receive other insights beyond what’s shown above too. This is a great way to develop more self-awareness and catch mental patterns.
Are you more negative and introverted when it’s rainy and cold? Or more positive and extroverted?
Sure, writing with a pen is more therapeutic. But with 750words.com you’ll get real-time feedback.
3. Nicole Bianchi (Writing Blogger)
Nicole Bianchi has a wonderful lifestyle blog for writers. She provides great productivity tips and creative inspiration for writers of all levels.
I’ve learned a lot from her and am drawn to her posts about famous writers. She breaks down their routines and recommendations.
You’ll feel more a part of the writing community after spending time on her page.
4. How to Write Headlines
No matter how much work you put into a post if your title stinks no one will read it.
I use CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to make headlines which drive traffic and aim for a rating of at least 72.
This article by Larry Kim also is a great read. He analyzes the data of the best article headlines. A combination of these two resources is a great start.
5. SEO check and Readability
When I write a post, I start on my wordpress.org site and use the Yoast SEO plugin to make sure my readability is good. To achieve a ‘Good’ rating some of what you need is:
- a healthy amount of headings
- as little passive language as possible
- enough transition words
- keywords and metadata
Once I finish my draft and it’s a good rating I copy and paste everything into hemingwayapp.com.
From there, I remove or replace as many adverbs as possible and review what grade level my post is at. I try to stay under 8th grade but there’s no real hard fast rule for this.
Also, it lets you know which sentences are difficult to read. This helps you pinpoint how to simplify your message.
REMEMBER: Don’t use these tools at the risk of losing your voice. Sometimes I leave complicated sentences or adverbs because it’s the way I would express the sentence. These are great to learn how to not get too wordy or confusing.
Here are two bonus tools:
- [BOOK] The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. This book completely changed how I look at storytelling. A perfect foundation builder for those of you looking to understand how a good story works.
- [TUTORIAL] How to create epic blog posts by Jo from Copy Hackers. This tutorial was the key to my biggest article yet about creating a morning routine. It was a big game changer in how to use research to back up the claims you make.
Information is at our fingertips. As long as we take a disciplined approach we can use these tools to become more efficient.
It’s tempting to become distracted or overwhelmed instead. To talk about writing rather than doing it.
If you stay focused on your purpose these tools can help you get to the next level.
How can you start becoming a better writer this week? What have you learned from this post? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!
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Francesca Phillips is a writer who recently moved back to States after living in Switzerland. In her previous life, she worked in the music industry for six years in Los Angeles. As an avid reader and holder of a degree in Psychology, she covers topics related to self-improvement, finding your purpose, and energy alignment. She’s a contributor for her own blog, Thought Catalog, and Medium. When she’s not inspiring creatives to be a light in the world you’ll find her traveling, hanging with her husband, and obsessing over dogs on Instagram.