When I started out, trying to become a better writer was a real pain. I hated it. I would do everything to avoid writing when the time came to write an article like this one or copy for an imaginary client. Often some voice would tell me, ‘Your writing sucks. And besides you’ve not done enough research.’
Unfortunately, I would swallow these lies and look for something less painful to do; mostly sleeping for long hours or surfing the internet aimlessly.
As if that was not enough, I was equally indiscipline. The few times I wrote 500 words in a space of three hours, it wasn’t consistent. I would do it today, skip two days and sometimes even a week. In addition, I had no writing schedule; I would write when it felt like it doing it. And this delayed my mastery of copywriting greatly.
However, I discovered some tricks that I now use to make writing enjoyable and push forward my career. These are tricks that have made me look forward to writing every morning. Today I write faster with fewer errors. I write more and my writing is getting clearer and forceful with time.
I realised that indiscipline in one area affects the other. As the late Jim Rohn always said, ‘Everything matters’. So to put my copywriting career on truck, I would not listen to the little voices that rationalise spending more than budget; sleeping more during the weekend or eating just a little of junk food. It would certainly permeate into my writing, and I wouldn’t become a better writer.
So do everything you plan to do. If it is time for writing be discipline enough to avoid checking emails or updating your Facebook page. Work out when you plan to do-without skipping a day to doing it for fewer minutes. It will affect your writing.
The rule of 21 days
Though I had heard about the ‘rule’ that it takes 21 days to form a habit, I had never tried to put it into use. However, one day I decide to take charge of my life, and become a better writer. I made a decision that I would wake up at 4am daily. I did it for 21 days and today nearly 14 months later it is a habit impossible to break.
Whatever level you are in your career you can use this rule discovered by Maxwell Maltz to make the changes you desire. Perhaps spending more time with the loved ones or writing more. Just do it for 21 days and watch the results.
The law of sowing and reaping
I discovered that the more I wrote the better I became. And that in life you plant first before reaping. I decide that I will ‘sow’10,000 hours. I made it mandatory to work on my writing skills for on average 10 hours a day. To achieve this, I wake up early (4 am daily) and sleep less. I find myself doing with 4 to 6 hours of sleep.
Most of us have a lazy mentality that must be tamed. The time spent studying is worthwhile and should not be viewed as a waste, however as an investment. Maybe you have a new client in a new niche you are writing copy for. Learn to become more motivated. Take time to study the industry and your client. The more sowing you do the bigger the harvest.
The minimum number of words
It occurred to me that all great writers have some kind of quota of words they write. The great Stephen King writes 2000 words daily. Anthony Trollope, the man who wrote 47 novels while working full-time, would write 250 words every fifteen minutes for 2 hours daily. So to become a better writer, I put myself a target of 2 million words in 36 months of less. To achieve this, I must do 2000-2500 words daily.
You need some quotas in your career. You must have a minimum number of hours you do important tasks. If you have a new client and have promised him copy in two weeks, don’t wait until the last 7 days to start working on it. Even if your schedule is tight, start setting aside one hour daily for this client, of course increasing the allocation as time goes.
My goal is really simple- write 2 million words and work for 10,000 hours in 36 months or less. To achieve this I need to work a minimum of 10 hours and write at least 2,000 words daily.
And as you know every goal must be measurable. So every day I enter the number of words and hours worked on an excel sheet. It makes me clearly see how close I am to hitting my target.
Perhaps your goal is to earn a million this year. Check your progress daily or weekly. Maybe you want to publish a book, write a page a day minimum.
When you think about how to become a better writer, remember that nothing is impossible to anyone. Having started off when I didn’t know the difference between ‘advice’ and ‘advise’, it is a miracle that I can write an article like this one.
Perhaps this quote of Jim Rohn sums it all: ‘’Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basics fundamentals.’’