As writers, we often put off our best work for later, assuming we’ll get the chance to tackle it “when we have time.”
Yet, before we know it, we’re progressing into deeper stages of our career, and our best work remains unfinished. Sometimes it remains unstarted.
In Part 6, we’ll address and embrace 10 helpful steps to getting your best work done. This post is a MONOLITH, so take it in smaller chunks if you’d like.
1. You Never Know Who Is Going To Be Reading Your Material
One of the great aspects about the Internet is anyone can access your work, pretty much wherever, at any time of day. The Internet has been called the great leveler, because now anyone can “step up to the plate” and provide content that people are looking for.
Naturally, this can work both negatively and positively, but you’re reading this post because you’re interested in taking your writing (and the monetization of it) to new heights. The best way to use the Internet is to treat it exactly how it is: A completely transparent, yet engaging window through which the entire world can see your work.The Internet is an engaging window through which the entire world can see your work. Click To Tweet
A lot of people hop online and begin producing whatever content they want, bringing the same mindset from their personal world to the web. In your home/personal life, there are generally only a few dozen to a few hundred people who have access to many of your thoughts, ideas, preferences and habits. When facing the web, literally anyone could come across your photos, words, concepts or products.
It’s for this exact reason that you must always do your best work. You may have a few hundred or even thousands of fans waiting for you somewhere on the web, if you simply understand how to cater to them and serve their interests.
2. You’re Defined By Your Work, So Do Your Best
Life is too short not to do your best. You’ve heard this cliché literally countless times, but think for a moment: How many people do you know who actually live by these words? Most people (myself included) are more often found hedging their bets, moving slowly in life and not possessing enough potency for their desires.
You could die tomorrow… It’s a scary thought, but also a true one. I’m honestly not trying to get all doom-and-gloom on you here; I’m simply attempting to remind you of the facts, so you can use them to your advantage. Having a scarce opportunity to complete something increases the chances you’ll actually get it done.Having a scarce opportunity to complete something increases the chances you'll actually get it done. Click To Tweet
To really drive this point home, allow me to share a personal story.
I was in a gnarly car accident in October 2015. I was driving home from an engagement celebration when an individual cut me off while they were attempting to turn left.
Our cars proceeded to erupt in a frontal collision, which ended up deeming both our cars totaled over the next two weeks. Fortunately, neither of us were badly injured at all. The necessary legal paperwork was completed, but the whole thing naturally left me feeling deeply shaken up.
I was extremely glad to be alive in the aftermath of it all. Over the next month or so, one thought kept hitting me: The accident could have been worse. I could have died. But I’m still here.
I couldn’t have predicted such an unfortunate occurrence would take place on an otherwise extremely serene evening. My point stands clearly: You truly have no idea when your final day will come. Man (or woman) up and get your best work done today.
People will look back on your life with fond, inspiring memories of your character and be encouraged by the fulfilling risks you chose to take. Remember: Most people never sit down and do what it takes to chase their dreams. Even if you die trying (I pray you don’t), you will have gone so much further than the majority of people.
3. Shoot For The Stars
In complete tandem with the former two points, I urge you with my deepest self to pursue your dreams! So many of us get wrapped up in only chasing money, trying to appease everyone around us or just settling for less in all areas of life.
In order to do your best work, you’re going to have to dial your actions up to a level you may have never reached before. Grant Cardone’s book, The 10X Rule, is my absolute highest recommendation within this tip. Cardone himself is an extremely successful gentleman by virtually every stretch of the word, but here’s the kicker: He’s not a foolhardy boaster. In The 10X Rule, he shares some of his own experiences when he was just getting started. Please pick up a copy and I’m sure you will begin reaping the rewards of his wisdom instantaneously.
As you dive into pouring out your best effort, you’ll notice sooner than later that there are innumerable tough spots on the road to success. Having mentioned that, I love this super-fast read by James Clear. In this post, Clear lays out the fundamentals about how to retain excellence while ramming through the monotonous parts of any endeavor. Excellence requires consistency, and in order to build consistency, you need the right techniques to keep your morale up.
On top of all this, remember that you will make mistakes, but there’s no need to make more mistakes than are necessary. You can easily learn from the mistakes of others by paying close attention to your favorite experts. I can virtually guarantee everyone you look up to has had an embarrassing failure at some point in their past (occasionally, it’s the recent past).
Mistakes are how we learn. But viewing and “mentally downloading” the mistakes of others allows us to embrace a concept head-on before it greets us with an ugly face out in the wild. We are able to glean wisdom from someone else’s problem, so we don’t have to scramble to fix it later ourselves.
4. Picture Your Favorite Writer
Picturing your favorite writer is perhaps a surprisingly effective way to write more of what you want to write. For example, you may think you’ll never make an impact with your writing if you’re only writing as yourself. This is not true, because people will come to love a new writer if they’re serving a desire and need within their niche.
Imagining how your favorite writer might write something is a cool exercise to use for stretching the capacity of your brainpower. You don’t have to worry about “inadvertently” plagiarizing because, in all actuality, even picturing someone else’s phrasing will never produce the exact same wording as them. In other words, even when using your influences directly in your own writing, two individuals can still write the same idea in different words.
The idea here is to become comfortable with thinking like a professional writer, while still including your own voice. When you accomplish this, you will be ahead of 80 percent or more of all writers in the world. The vast majority of writers are still solely concerned with their own writing; they just want to get words out there, and rarely consider how to market and convey themselves correctly.
This has the potential to rapidly advance your career or business, because you are approaching the raw components of your work itself with an established winner’s mindset. Learning from the pros is one of the fastest ways to cut down on your learning curve.
5. Write What You Want To Read
Yes, I have written about this point in previous posts, and yes, it bears repeating! If you are not engaged with and excited about your own work, it’s unreasonable to expect others to feel the same when they read it.
Now, to be sure, it’s not that only writing what you want to read will instantly deliver perfect writing every time; no. Rather, it develops a skill and habit far more powerful: It creates the will within you to persist beyond A) initial lack of recognition, and B) the rejection you’ll inevitably face along the way.
Having a pure-hearted satisfaction for your work itself – simply spending your time engaging in it – is the most powerful trait to uphold of all. This links back to a former point within this very post. When you’re content with the action that is the natural extension of your identity, this is when you have reached the first (and deepest) level of success. It’s funny because most people never get here. Or they do, but they quickly trade it for something else, or watch their initial fire burn out.
There’s only one (minor) cautionary point about this tip. You should not only and always write what you want to read, because by doing this you may effectively alienate your readership bit-by-bit, losing the lifeblood of your income. As you transition from passionate writer to equally-skilled marketer, and continue to combine the two, you must be mindful of your audience’s voice.
When they engage with you, it’s bare minimum to respect and listen, and it’s certainly expected that you’ll respond. In order to obtain, maintain and grow your audience, you need to be looking out for them like they’re a group of some of your closest friends (because in one way, they are!).
6. Move Beyond Fear Of Failure
Being afraid of failure is the classic fear that appears to withhold most from achieving their dreams. Yet, failure never hurts as much as you think it will. What’s more, often it’s not failure we fear; it’s the possibility of rejection. We fear the idea that we may experience tension with friends and family closest to us.
Yet, the irony of it is, success is more often what drives this rejection. Even then, success is the most powerful argument against mediocrity. What I’m getting at is that the fear of failure is ultimately unwarranted. We’re going to mess up anyways, so we might as well dive right in and get going.
Perhaps the best reason to embrace failure is because failure is one of life’s best teachers. We never truly learn something when we succeed. It’s when things go awry that we catch on to what exactly happened. At least, we learn if we’re paying attention. Breathe in the courage necessary to follow your dreams and understand it’s okay to fail along the way. Be encouraged that everyone who’s ever done something great has, at some point, failed.
The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. – Robert Cushing
7. Move Beyond Fear Of Success
On the (sometimes strange) flipside, some of us have a fear of success. It can seem odd to those who are more afraid of failure. But when we take a close look here, we see that being afraid of success starts to appear equally reasonable.
The thought that typically runs through one’s mind is once one project goes well, the public is expecting a higher quality second round. This totally makes sense and yes; the public often is expecting continual improvement. Yet, this fear of success is also unwarranted.
Success never lasts as long as you think it will, and it never really provides everything you think it will. This is not to completely tear down everything I shared in the prior point, but it is to illuminate one most important point. The work you do is largely the only gift you’ll receive as you pursue your dreams and goals.
Yes, you may be deeply blessed with accolades and awards and gain financial freedom, but at the end of the day, the only thing staring you in the face is the actual work. It’s for this reason that you must be excited about the work itself.
If you truly value your work, you’ll always be moving forward and innovating.If you truly value your work, you'll always be moving forward and innovating. Click To Tweet
You’ll want to make new discoveries and consistently put your best foot forward. You’ll understand tough times help you grow and great times are worth celebrating. You’ll have that drive to do your best work.
8. Place Yourself In Your Ideal Readers’ Shoes
One way to do your best work that remains underrated is to put yourself in your ideal readers’ shoes. This is how you can better anticipate what people will want to read, even without doing research.
It’s not that research plays no role in writing (it certainly does!), but taking solo thinking time to simply plan for future writing is a worthwhile exercise as well. As you do this, keep in mind what your current readers have said are your most positive and engaging sections.
When placing yourself in their shoes, you’ll be able to see more clearly what you would want if you were them. This is the strongest part of this exercise. When you unfold and reexamine your writing from the reader’s perspective, you’re able to see more accurately what they might want to benefit from. This can make outlining a book go so much more quickly, and help with sales too!
9. There’s No Perfect Word Count
Occasionally with books, we hear talk of the “perfect word count”. This is especially true when people are talking about blog posts and articles. There’s so much hype and buzz over what is apparently the “magic touch” of content length.
I’m here to share the idea that you should generally disregard the idea of word count. The reason is this: If your post is high quality, the length doesn’t matter. If your post is value-less, the word count is only adding insult to injury.
At times, shorter posts are better, but this is not always the case. Shorter posts often appeal to many Internet readers because the average online attention span is dropping like a rock these days. When starting out, it’s often a better idea to keep your content short, so people can read your thoughts and begin building trust with you. As your audience grows, however, understand you’re free to expand on what you offer, and the word count of it.
10. Writers Are Always Writing, But You Need To Finish Your Projects
Writers do need to be always writing, but the best writers are those who have shared their work. How are you able to share work? You have to finish it.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but many writers have awesome work sitting on their computer, waiting for eyeballs to read it. They didn’t take the time to set up a website, get a few social media channels going and offer the world what they created.
Remember that you don’t always need to get paid for your work. In fact, many of today’s successful writers began working for free.
Another way of viewing it is that you don’t always have to label it as pure work. You can view it as building eminence. You can tell friends and family you’re building your portfolio. You can experiment with different styles of writing so you find out how each fits with you. These are all things I have done/am continuing to do as I journey forward with writing.
As you compose your works, keep in mind this nugget of wisdom: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.How To Become A Better Writer: Your Best Work, Part 6 Of 12 Click To Tweet
Write for the purpose of helping people through your passion. Define yourself as a leader via your actions. Seek out the best in people, and give them immense value to build their own dreams.
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