Time to write. For me, the writing is the worst part, but my guess is that for many of you, it's the best part. For that reason, I imagine you all have some excellent insight. So if you have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments.
My number one writing tip remains: establish a writing habit.
But here are a few more:
Pretend you're your target.
The ability to see things from the perspective of your reader is key. Sometimes we know a topic so well we forget that others may be seeing it for the first time.
Do some serious thinking about who your target market is. Define them. Picture them in your brain. Anticipate their questions. Pretend you are them and think about what would most connect with you. Then, write that.
Biz Tip: From writing to marketing to selling, and whether I'm communicating with my readers, my affiliates or other bloggers, I consciously try to put myself in their shoes and ask myself what they would appreciate. The ability to do this — it's empathy and treating others as you would like to be treated — is probably one of my top business tips of all time. It literally shapes just about everything I do.
Combat writer's block.
I'm not sure if I had more writer's block than the next guy, but my advice here is, just write something. Anything. Even if it's horrible. Look through your outline, pick the thing that feels the least daunting at that moment, set a timer for 15 minutes and just write.
By the time the timer beeps, it's likely you'll be on a roll and can keep going. You know how sometimes when you try to get lotion out of a bottle that hasn't been used in a while the tip is clogged, but if you give it a good pump or squeeze, the clog gets unstuck and the lotion flows freely? It's kinda like that.
Don't format as you go.
By formatting I mean bolding, italicizing, adding bullets, creating headings, etc. — basically all the stuff you would do to make your ebook look appealing and be readable.
Open a very basic text editor and write. Skip a line between paragraphs perhaps, but other than that, save formatting for the end. (I use TextEdit on my Mac. You might have NotePad or something similar on your computer.)
Limit your editing as you go.
Likewise, resist the urge to do any major editing as you write. Save that for the end, otherwise, if you're like me, you'll never pass "Go!" and you certainly won't collect $200. You'll just be stuck writing and rewriting page one forever (ahem).
Save often AND in multiple places.
I said it last time, but it's worth repeating. Save your work constantly. A simple yet frequent click of Control-S (Command-S on a Mac) is a small price to pay in order to make sure you don't loose your precious work.
Another thing I recommend is to find an alternate place to save your work, preferably not on your computer. Last time I encouraged you to create an easy-to-remember file on your computer for saving. That's good, but what happens if your computer decides to die in the middle of your project? Yowza.
So, here's my recommendation: At the end of every power writing session, copy and paste your draft into an email and send it to yourself. If you're using Gmail, just archive it and you'll always have a copy not on your computer too. (Of course there are many online data storage services but I find email is easiest for me.)
Pick a ship date and hook.
Once you mind map, complete an outline, start writing and get into a rhythm, you'll likely be able to estimate how long this thing will take you to complete.
Next, pull out a calendar.
Determine a "ship" date (as Seth Godin likes to say). In other words, what day will you launch your ebook? The reason I suggest you pull out your calendar is to make your launch date coincide with calendar events on which you can "hook" your launch.
For example, you may remember me saying I originally had my launch date set for July. The reason I chose that date was because July is when things start ramping up for back-to-school sales and events. It's a time of year when people are in the mood to get their schedules in order and therefore, I had a hook for selling my ebook about time management. Lots of people (i.e. potential affiliates) are writing about back-to-school things in July and August, so they would be more likely convinced to promote my time management ebook at the same time.
Now, for me, July came and went, so I had to think of Plan B. The next logical time of year when people are thinking about time management is the New Year. That would have been fine, but I launched in late October instead. Doing so had several advantages:
- One message I used for promotion was "Get your schedule under control before the holiday craziness hits. Enjoy the holidays this year, eliminate stress and get a head start on the New Year."
- It allowed me to take advantage of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend which was a huge selling weekend for me. (Everyone's looking for a sale that time of year, so I discounted the ebook and pushed #1 above.)
- I was able to promote it to a captive audience of potential affiliates at the Relevant Conference (along with the huge help of Crystal).
- I still had another sale the first week of the New Year. The benefit was that plenty of people had read the book by now so I had testimonials to bolster my sales pitch.
We'll talk more about selling and promoting later, but my point here is to set a "ship" date. Give yourself enough time to get the ebook written, prepared for launch and launched, but challenge yourself to get the thing done in a timely manner as well. Setting a "ship" date gives you something to work towards instead of just letting the project drag on indefinitely.
Read the next post, How to Write an Ebook: Editing and Naming.
So, those are my writing tips. Got any more to add?
Other posts in this series
- How to Write an Ebook
- How to Write an Ebook: Why It's a Good Idea
- How to Write an Ebook: Choose a Sellable Topic
- How to Write an Ebook: Preparing to Write
- How to Write an Ebook: Writing Tips from a Non-Writer
- How to Write an Ebook: Editing and Naming
- How to Write an Ebook: Formatting
- How to Write an Ebook: Setting Up Accounts
- How to Write an Ebook: Pricing
- How to Write an Ebook: Distribution
- How to Write an Ebook: Creating a Sales Page (or Site)
- How to Write an Ebook: Preparing for Affiliates
- How to Write an Ebook: Taking care of your affiliates
- How to Write an Ebook: Paying your affiliates
- How to Make Your Ebook Available on Kindle & Nook