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13 secrets that will propel you into the top 5% of online writers
In anything you do in life, you’re in either one of two modes:
You’re creating a disadvantage for yourself through a poor habit, OR:
You’re creating an ‘unfair’ advantage for yourself through a helpful action or habit.
You’re lying to yourself if you expect life to be ‘fair,’ and some actions create more of an advantage than others.
Here are some helpful habits I’ve used as a writer to get me that ‘unfair’ advantage over the years:
1. Write at least 250 words every day.
Share it publicly as much as you can.
Do this even if you don’t feel like it. This act of daily accumulated words is like paying yourself before the bank takes your cash.
If you do it and follow through with it day after day, you will have the edge over 95% of your competition.
2. Join a community.
Free or paid, or create your own.
Speak to — and become known by other writers, so you can help each other out with the lessons you’ve learned.
Writing can be lonely, so having this helps. Have others give you accountability.
Share your wins, and promote each other’s work.
3. Write about stuff you’re obsessed with.
Stop writing about stuff that merely ‘interests’ you.
Your advantage lies in tripling down on what you love geeking out about. What is that for you? (Comment below).
Write more about that.
4. Fall in love with prolific.
An interesting thing happens when we start writing in big volumes.
Our writing gets seen by more and benefits from exponential improvement. We become insanely creative, and our confidence grows. We become more efficient and procrastinate less.
Many think writing a lot loses you time. It is one of the most efficient things you can do. Write four books a year, not one every five years.
Write an article every day, not every week.
Become a writing machine.
Our true nature isn’t to sit idly.
5. Create strategic partnerships.
Get to know people who have large followings and help them out as much as you can.
Many will return favours in the form of comments and shares. You can invest in their support; or literally send them something you wrote — many will share and comment.
6. Read a lot.
A lot of people see reading as an optional luxury. If you want to get ahead as a great writer, you need to read a lot.
Allow yourself to welcome reading into your life again.
You want to live a life immersed in your craft, and this means absorbing other people’s words too.
Read people who write well and inspire you, and the topics about which you want to write.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
7. Dedicate yourself to mastering writing.
Commit to being great.
This commitment is enlivening. Immerse yourself in the works of outstanding writers, including fiction writers. Study the craft.
Writing shouldn’t be a ‘chore,’ or you will quickly stop.
You want nothing less than to become one of the most impactful writers in the world.
8. Brainstorm every day.
Become an idea machine. Use James Altucher’s idea of combining ideas through ‘idea sex.’
This will train your brain to be more creative. Original ideas win in writing. No one wants to read what they’ve read before.
Creative synergy through brainstorming and writing lists solves this.
9. Become a creative athlete.
Writing isn’t a purely intellectual pursuit.
Many have seen it as such, drink and smoke heavily, sit on a chair all day, and then wonder why they go weeks feeling low, with ‘writer’s block.’
Exercising daily and eating well will immediately give you an edge many writers simply don’t have.
10. Develop daily awareness.
Mindfulness is the secret to tapping into a creative flow that lies beneath worried, unhelpful thoughts.
Every great writer knows that their best writing comes without effort. We write best when we’re not overthinking.
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”
— Ray Bradbury
11. Get emotional.
Use emotionally-charged ideas and vivid stories.
If — while you write — you don’t really understand, feel or connect with what you’re saying, the reader won’t either.
Excellent writing needs to strike an emotional spark in the reader — and you need to feel that spark as you write it first.
12. Use stories.
Stories well told, where we witness the transformation of a character, engage more than any other tool.
They tap into what makes us human. Our brains are programmed to seek out meaning, and stories are the catalyst.
As Lisa Cron says, thanks to millennia of using stories to help others live vicariously through our experiences, we are literally ‘wired for story.’
Make use of them to take your writing to the highest levels.
13. Do more of what works.
Stop trying to be clever and purely ‘original’.
Use what works — both in your own work and referring to the work of others. Emulate, but then apply your own unique angle, voice and stories.
If it’s been proven to work, using it is a significant advantage, pure and simple.
Thank you for reading.
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