Here’s the thing: I’m not a writer.
I feel more comfortable saying, “I am a person who writes.” Why? Because I have had no writing training outside of regular English classes.
What I have had, though, is lots and lots of practice.
All that practice — all that writing — has helped me build my online business from scratch to where it is today.
I’m meeting my business goals with my writing. And more importantly, my writing has helped me reach thousands of people I’d otherwise have no contact with. I teach, share, and encourage them with my words.
If you find yourself needing to write more than ever before — and you feel uncomfortable with the prospect — this post will give you some guidance to dig in and develop your writing chops.
Start with the right attitude
Jeff Goins is right: you are a writer as soon as you decide to take your writing seriously.
Even if you don’t plan to hang out a shingle and make your living writing for other people, if you approach the writing you do for your own business like a pro, your work will improve steadily over time.
That means studying freely available resources on writing. It means investing small amounts in building a reference library of writing books.
And it means approaching your writing like it’s vital to the success of your business (because it is).
Writing resources here on Copyblogger
Get the now-famous Magnetic Headlines ebook, plus a pile of other amazing free resources over at Copyblogger’s Copywriting 101
Learn copywriting that gets results from Demian Farnworth, in his article 10 Principles for Turning into a Killer (Copywriter)
Study examples of types of copy so you know how to use your craft from James Chartrand’s 10 Ways to Write Damn Good Copy.
Listen and learn: John Carlton shares his colorful story and some delicious copywriting nuggets in these two interviews with Robert Bruce.
- The Path to a Legendary Copywriting Career
- A 30-Minute Copywriting Course from a Master of the Craft
A simple technique that’s often forgotten, spelled out by Sonia Simone, How to Be a Copywriting Genius: The Brilliantly Sneaky Trick You Must Learn
And then there’s the definitive glossary of copywriting tips by Ali Luke, Copywriting Essentials from A to Z
4 books on writing to inspire you and guide your efforts
Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles is my go-to resource when I need a swift kick to get my writing habit back on track. His premise is that the day you decide to take any task you’d like to master seriously — and you approach it like a pro — is the day your mastery begins.
Mark Levy’s Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content was a revelation. Mark proposes a series of mind games and exercises to help you generate ideas, blog posts, and solutions to sticky problems through writing. His judgement-free system is a thought-provoking, fun place to start.
I found Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft because of Jon Morrow’s post on Boost Blog Traffic, and drew a ton of inspiration from reading the book. The best part about it, for me at least, was reading about the ordinary life and everyday struggles King went through while he got his career off the ground. Mixed in with stories of his early years is practical guidance for how to get your writing done (close the door and draw the shades, for example).
Richard Bayan has written a series of “____ That Sell” books, and Words That Sell is the original. This is strictly a reference book, and is a handy addition to your bookshelf. You’ll grab it every time you’re writing any kind of promotional copy and can’t find the exact phrase or word you need to motivate your reader to take action.
Habitual writing: how to develop a practice
Writing your way to the top is possible with a professional attitude and top-notch resources.
But the momentum for your writing success will come from consistent practice.
Make it a habit to write every day. I’m not going to tell you how many words to write, or for how long. Just do some “writing for the sake of writing” every day.
This might mean starting a journal. It might mean free writing, like the style espoused in Accidental Genius. It might mean sitting down with mind mapping software and recording your thoughts there.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, but make it a habit to write every day without fail.
Don’t judge the outcome: judge the habit.
What you practice will improve. And daily practice means you’ll never feel “rusty” when you sit down at the keyboard again.
How about you? Are you writing more than ever before? I’d like to hear your best tips. Scroll down to the comment section, and let me know what you do to write your way to the top …