The unchanging principles of writing success
How to write your book as efficiently as possible
Getting published in 2009 is no different than getting published in 1987. The basic principles remain the same, even though the technology has changed.
The following is a review of the 12 unchanging principles of writing success.
- Write every day. A successful writing career is not based on frenzied, last-minute writing marathons. Just as a farmer has to nurture his crops every day, you have to nurture your writing. The more you write, the easier it will be, and the better the quality. Practice does make perfect!
- Set realistic goals. Writing success is based on goals and habits. Progress involves acknowledging the importance of getting published and prioritizing your daily activities around your writing. This often involves getting up a bit earlier, or going to bed a bit later. Committing to as little as 30-minutes a day can be enough for you to write a book that establishes you as an expert in your field.
- Write from a plan. Create a detailed table of contents of your book, indicating the major and secondary points you want to discuss in each chapter. Know where what you write each day is going to appear in your book. Writing from a plan frees you from the tyranny of having to write and complete each chapter before moving on to the next.
- Track your progress. Create a system, preferably a very visual system, to track your progress. Look for ways to reinforce your momentum by providing positive feedback as your words mount up. Options include creating a 3-ring binder to store printouts of each day's work, or using colors to indicate completed topics.
- Master your tools. Push your software to the limits. Simple techniques, like using your word processing program's keyboard shortcuts to edit text or a character substitution program to insert frequently used words and phrases, can save lot of time. In addition, explore software tools, like mind mapping, to plan your book and track your progress.
- Focus on the positive. Rather than dwell on what you haven't written, or what you still have to write, concentrate on what you have accomplished. Congratulate yourself for undertaking a project that will benefit you, your family, and your co-workers in so many ways.
- Review your work at bedtime. Review what you've written just before you go to bed, and review what you want to write the next day. Reviewing what you've written will reinforce your feeling of progress. Reviewing what you intend to write the next day will put your subconscious mind to work while you're sleeping, so you'll be doubly productive the next day.
- Search for ideas everywhere. Avoid the myopia of only paying attention to your book, your topic, and your field. Search for inspiration everywhere, in fields that are new to you. Explore new ideas that you find in other fields. Keep a pad with you at all times, so you can capture ideas when they occur to you, at home or on the road.
- Share your progress with your readers. Build anticipation for your book and encourage reader feedback by sharing your ideas on the Internet as soon as possible. By making it possible for readers to download excerpts from your book as you write it, you'll be building your book's web visibility and gaining valuable feedback.
- Recycle and reuse. Get in the habit of obtaining maximum mileage from your ideas and words. Your ideas deserve more exposure than just your book. Share your ideas in different places and formats, including articles, blogs, newsletters, speeches, and teleseminars. New ideas will appear each time you return to a topic.
- Identify and monitor your market and your competition. Never write a book in isolation. Don't make the common mistake of writing the book you want to read; make sure your book is the one your intended market will want to read. Be alert to changes and trends that affect your market. It's equally important to monitor the blogs and websites of other authors, so you don't duplicate their efforts. Your book has to be both desired and unique.
- Look to the future. View your book as a marketing tool, rather than concentrating exclusively on writing your book, and then looking for ways to profit from it.
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