21 ways to improve your writing and make money from your craft.

This thread was based on my conversation with @pauletteperhach on the Pursuit of Learning Podcast.

We discussed Paulette’s book Welcome to the Writer’s Life, which I recommend for anyone wanting to become a paid writer.

1. Abundance

As a writer, recognize you can make money. You have as much right to it as anyone. When you learn how to wield story, you learn how to wield value and money. There’s

so much that you can do with it.

Pursue your writing with a goal of achieving financial success.

2. Life experience

Beauty and adventure. Use the abundance to fuel it.

Buy the plane tickets. See the lava fields. Visit the northern lights.

The more beauty and adventure we experience, the stronger our writing will be.

3. Money stories

We all have stories about money.

Most of us grow up with negative stories.

Realize that money is a tool and you are entitled to that tool. Change the narrative.

When you make money and support yourself as an artist, you are supporting the arts.

4. Meditate

Meditation helps with our writing practice.

Meditation allows us to learn to control our mind. To maintain focus on what we are doing.

We don’t meditate to get good at meditation, we meditate to get good at life.

Use soft labels on your thoughts to control them.

5. Fake outs

Starting is important. Finishing is more important.

Something that can help us start, and finish, is fake outs.

A fake out is a deadline we set for ourselves that we have to hit.

For example, sign up for an open mic night so you’re forced to finish your writing.

6. Write more

You want to be good at writing?

Write more. As simple as that, write every single day.

It may take 10,000 hours. It may take one million words. What it definitely takes is more writing.

Writing should become a lifestyle, not something you’re doing.

7. Writing is not the end

If you want to get your writing out there, you need to promote it.

If you want to publish a novel, you need to find an agent. The agent will work to find a publisher.

Simply writing is not the finish, it is the start. There is still work to be done.

8. Deliberate practice

In an experiment, one group was asked to make as many clay pots as they could. The other group, to make a perfect clay pot.

The group that made many pots made the best pots. The deliberate practice yielded results. Practice your craft deliberately.

9. Morning pages

Each morning, simply write.

Use this time to write creatively. Free flowing. Simply let the words hit the page for a

certain pre-determined amount of time or number of pages.

You don’t need to read it again. You don’t need to use it. You just need to do it.

10. What you don’t have

The difference between writers who give up and those who find success is successful writers continue to work towards that which they don’t have yet.

Have faith. Show up. Do the work. Be consistent. Don’t quit.

If you do, success will come.

11. Habits, rituals and routines

Start with fake outs to keep you moving towards end goals. For those things you enjoy about the craft, magnify them. For those things you don’t enjoy, cut them out.

To be a painter, you need to love the smell of paint – the same for a writer.

12. Be a magician

When you only work a 9 to 5, you can be mediocre.

When you’re working two jobs. One that pays the bills and one that feeds your soul, you need to become a magician.

Make the most per hour that you can so you can buy the hours to focus on your craft. Magic.

13. Entrepreneurship

Through the power of entrepreneurship, coaching, and consulting, you can make more money so that you can buy time to be a writer.

Time at your craft is what you’re seeking. Through magic and entrepreneurship, you can buy it.

14. Powerhouse writing

Many writers are meek. We are quiet.

We ask politely for people to read our work. To give us opportunities.

Instead, recognize your power. We have the power to shape people’s emotions and emotions run the world.

Recognize that power in yourself.

15. Read

If you want to write, read.

It may seem counter-intuitive, after all, I told you to write more above. It isn’t.

What we read inspires us, whether it is the story we are inspired by or the way the story is written. That inspiration can inform our writing.

16. Diversify your reading

Often, our reading is an echo chamber.

We don’t have access to different views. Different lived experiences.

It may mean our writing falls flat. It is not diverse. It is not well rounded. By diversifying our reading, we can diversify our writing.

17. Nobody has confidence

You are not alone. No one else is confident as a writer either.

A question in workshops may more often be “should I quit writing” than “do you like it”, because we all have fear. We all have doubts.

Overcome your fear. Write. Write more. Keep writing.

18. Write by hand

For many people, we are more creative when we write by hand.

The way the words flow onto the page engages areas of our brain that the keyboard cannot.

Break out your favorite pen and notebook and write. You may even try handwriting to engage different areas.

19. It is simple, not easy

Like most things in life, writing is simple, it is not easy. If you want to be a writer, you need to write.

If you want to finish your book, you need to write consistently. You don’t have time, wake up earlier.

The simple answer is “get after it”

20. On characters

When creating characters, consider:

  • movies
  • readings
  • colleagues
  • family and friends

What about these people do you like? Dislike? What makes some of them magnetic? Who would you want to read about in a book? Why?

Use your life as fuel for characters.

21. On dialogue

Cut out the pedantic.

Cut out the character small talk.

Do not talk about things we already know.

In real life, you wouldn’t say “we need to be home for dinner, or dad will be mad”, you know that.

If you wouldn’t do it, don’t make your characters do it.

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