5 Super-Sized Tips For Encouraging Your Inner Writer

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You are a writer. Creator of stories. You fabricate realities–transforming letters and words into DNA strands; giving birth to life and breath from your imagination. By your skilled hand and chosen tools—pen, paper and keyboard—you pull dreams and fantasies from the atmosphere and fashion them into literary portals through which everyday people can book momentary vacations: temporary escapes.

Unfortunately, in a world of constant remakes, recycled and retold stories, reprocessed and  regurgitated content—though creativity in some areas of the Arts, and advancements in various regions of technologies may shine bright,—originality suffers a long time creative-imagination drought. As a result, the business of writing has caused many exceptional writers to go on hiatus, while others leave what they love, to find different ways to create an income.

Still, more and more writers struggle with their craft. Most crave encouragement, inspiration, and motivation to push forward. Others need to hear some confirmation that it’s okay to take on other jobs, including freelance writing jobs to pay the bills, while they continue working through their literary works. Sometimes, it’s the simple, free and practical tips that are the most help.

Here’s 5 Super Simple, Yet Highly Motivational & Practical Tips For Encouraging Your Inner Writer.   

1. See Your Own Work In Print

On a few occasions I’ve taken various collections of my poetry, shorts, devotionals, and essays, sent them to http://PrintingPeach.ca so, once I got them back as a printed booklet I could flip through the pages, not only to get a feel for its flow—and make changes so the whole work reads better—but also for the feeling it give me to see and hold, in my hands, the project in a finished (though first-print draft only) form. There’s nothing that encourages you more to work through the kinks; break through any block, and submit your work, than holding and seeing it in print form. It can be the sunrise in your long literary night helping you to find new fresh momentum for reaching the finish line.

2. Professional Business Cards

If you don’t have professional business cards, WHY? There’s really no reason for a writer—or any kind of creative for that matter—not to have a business card on their body at all times. It’s never when you plan on handing them out that you end up being asked; it’s those times when you don’t expect it all that you run into THE person who could change your writing future. Then, if you don’t have any cards, you feel stupid. And you should. Cards are easy to make and really cheap. I get mine from VistaPrint.com. Don’t be the one who misses that amazing opportunity because you wrote your contact info on a napkin and your contact accidentally throws it away after needing it to clean up a productive sneeze. You can spend $10 right now, for 500 cards.

That’s basically the cost of one dinner out or, two fast food lunches or, two venti caramel macchiatos. You can do that.

3. Take Head shots

Some writers come by it naturally, others really get uncomfortable with the thought of having someone take photos of them. Either way, once you have your head shots finished and you’re looking at them, it just feels good. I was browsing the web looking for character ideas and I stumbled across smilesunlimited.ca and thought, ‘you know, it’s time for some updated head shots.’ I was dreading it at first, but afterwards I really liked how they turned out. Some were professional-business, and others were just us having fun. It was great. There’s a wonderful, ‘I’m a creative professional’ feeling that comes with having your own professional head shots done. There’s also great to have for interviews, speaking engagement advertisements, and to use on your website, social medias, and blog posts.

Here’s a few of those goofy shots.

sam looking down thought 2sam thumb up 3  sam angry 4 sam square 6 Sam main 2 sam no yes 3

4. Your Blog

If you have a blog than this point may be a commonsense point, but there are still way too many writers that I run into that ‘just haven’t gotten to it yet’. Most businesses have a website and more and more are finding the benefits of having blogs. Even real estate agents, like KimAlvarez.ca., have blogs, and they’re finding ways to make their websites and services reach more clients through relevant social campaigns.

A blog, for writers, makes perfect sense. A blog, after all IS a result of content creation. It helps people, fans, editors, and potential clients connect with you; it allows you to showcase your literary skill; helps you solidify yourself as a professional and—something I never planned on when I started mine—it can open doors (if you’re open to it) for you to pick up some extra cash and experience, writing guest posts, being featured on other sites, and writing ghost posts for other companies.

I have 5 blogs, [TastingThePlanet / AShotOfLiteraryCaffeine / SippingOnLiteraryEspresso / SamTheWriter’s Tiny Tips For Writers / Perception Speaks ] (a three special project ones I can’t mention at the moment)  and I also write ghost posts (when I can handle the workload) for 44 different national and international businesses and storytellers. I hate that they’re ghost written, so I can’t take credit for my work, but I love knowledge and I’ve learned so much about so many companies and authors; sharpened my skills around conducting interviews, investigative reporting, journalism, deep research, data mining, conducting various market analysis, uncovering stories and hidden people and information; furthering my experience and success with many writing processes, social media strategies, SEO, B2B, B2C, and all the other alphabetical business combinations (ha ha I’ve been wanting to throw that in somewhere).

I’ve learned how to write effective newsletters, employee manuals and handbooks, create effecting social media strategies that have seen measured increase in business connections (in two businesses I created a multi-social-platform strategy that saw a 300% and 325% increase in social traffic–which specifically resulted in greater sales…one was over a 3 month period of time, the other took 6 months. However, the average business strategist that many companies spend between $60,000 on east coast, $40,000 in mid-west, and $80 – $120,000 on the west coast (Annual Salary) can’t usually ever boast a 200% increase in an entire year.) I say that to say this: I learned these skills while conducting interviews and working as a ghost for many international companies.

Most of my ‘luck’ came from interactions with my blogs. Blogs, my friends, are powerful tools.

5. Revisit Reader / Fan Comments

Where have you posted your work? It is on a website? Writer’s community site? A blog? On your Facebook or other social media? Maybe you have some work in a writing competition? In most of these cases there’s a place for readers to add comments or feedback. Go visit those comments. When the writing life gets hard and stressful—and it does, unless you’re brand new to the writer’s life and haven’t submitted much—the encouraging words you’ve received on past works can revive a weary spirit.

A fictional literary poetry project that I started a few years back started to wear on me. I loved what I was writing, but life was demanding other things from me. I almost lost faith in my work, until one day I received a notification that someone had commented on a past poetry work. It was an email from a University English Professor asking for my permission to share a few works with his students, because “I am very inspirited with how you merged the literary life with a romantic relationship with the artist’s muse…” This made me feel wonderful. I looked through a few other comments and found a treasury of reader appreciation for my works. I printed 27 pages of comments off to keep around me as a reminder of the beauty and escape my work has provided for others.

Here’s a few of those comments:

“I really enjoyed this poem. ‘Kiss me My Mistress Muse, your lips are the ebb and flow of the art-spring we call literary life.’ This really sums up the passion of the prose.” – Janet R.M

“‘A ray of sunlight cracks through the morning cloud cover. It touches the earth several miles away, and works its way towards me. It’s you my Love, and it’s even more beautiful because the rest of the world is still sleeping.’That is what makes it so special. that is what keeps the phone from ringing. That is what makes the coffee taste right. Thank you for this.” – Opeo Tao T.

“Yes I’ll take this dance! I agree with Jordan, it has been waaaaaaaay tooooo long since your last post. I got this one yesterday while I was in my office and it made my whole day. It really did, so I went back and read, “I Will Love You,” and “I Feel You Tonight,” and it really took my breath away.  You need to keep writing, I want to keep reading! – Melody W..

“Amazing post! absolutely amazing.” – Lua

“ ‘All of life moves and lives and begins to create an orchestra of beautiful existence…’ Yes, it makes perfect sense to me…Merry Christmas.” – Jingle

With such amazing reader / follower/ fans, how could a writer not be encouraged and super inspired to keep writing?

I encourage you to keep doing what you love. Keep writing because you must, and know that it’s ok to do what you must to keep writing. Writing is in your blood. Writing is not an option for you, it’s a necessary for you as exhaling. If you could no longer write, you would cease to be you.

You’re a superhero of sorts. The greatest kind. The kind that challenges and shapes perceptions. Keep fighting for creative inspiration. Keep recording your ideas and dreams, even if you feel like you’re the only one who believes in what you do. The truth is that there’s a whole world full of reader / follower / fans starving for a writer, like you, to save their day.

Write, Write, Write, and submit.

Cheers to you Writer.

-SamTheWriter

Let’s Connect:

Online – SamTheWriter.Com

Twitter – @SamuelWConnelly

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10 Life Saving Rules for Writers

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How many times have you found yourself hunched over your desk, eyes barely open, brain so overloaded from all the things you, ‘have to come up with’ to please some editor you don’t even like writing for, for a paycheck that really wasn’t worth all the time, effort, creativity, and burnt brain cells it took to write it?

As a full-time independent writer, I’ve experienced this on way too many occasions. I know what it’s like to get so stuck in a financial rut that you’re doing everything you can to get those jobs that pay something, but, then you find yourself weeks or moths or—God forbid—years down the road without any real literary work to take pride in; bitter that you have wasted so much of your creative talent; and stuck with what feels like an imagination-drought.

Although it seems impossible to recover after one of these ‘dessert’ moments—and many writers give up on their writing dreams altogether—it is possible to not only revive yourself, but thrive again as a writer. Let me throw you a few literary life-preservers.

10 Life-Saving Rules that saved my literary (possibly mental and physical) life:

  1. Find something every day that makes you laugh a good belly laugh.
  2. Make a point to read daily for pleasure—not work
  3. Write something for yourself once a week
  4. Organize your day so that it includes breaks, a walk, and real food.
  5. Stop when you’re body tells you it needs to stop
  6. Make sleep a priority
  7. Discover a routine that works for you and keep it.
  8. Work diligently towards Someday without sacrificing your relationships Today.
  9. Make time for a hobby
  10.  When it’s time to write, Write!

Be proud that you’re a writer, but don’t make the mistake that some many others have made by getting so overloaded with ‘projects’ and ‘stuff’ that they stop loving life and miss out on everything that is meaningful in the world around them.

Someday is coming, I promise. You will get there. But remember that Someday will be a product of what we do and how we live our lives Today. Like the old saying goes: Practice Makes Perfect. Be careful then what it is that your perfecting, heed what you’re practicing.

Cheers to you!

Sam

How To Find Readers Who Are Looking For What You’re Writing

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What good is writing if it will never be read? Ok, maybe I shouldn’t start with that question because there are those writers write for the purpose of expelling their demons, or to make a record of their day. Many of those with journals and diaries never want anyone else to read their work. I am writing to those writers, like myself, who not only write for pleasure but also write for a living.

One of the biggest questions I am asked is: “How do you get your work out there?” and my answer: It’s all about finding the right conversation.

You’re a writer.

What you do is share stories– A story teller.

The one thing that every story teller needs to be able to tell their story is an audience of listeners. I am telling you a story right now. You are my audience. You’re reading with your eyes, the words I’m saying with my fingers, and you’re listening with your understanding.

WHY?

I’m sharing with you a piece of a conversation that you’re interested in. My story is either interesting to you because you are a writer and where looking for something about writing, or because my story compliments a conversation you have been having and have been interested in for some time now.

This is the key to getting your work out there. YOU my writer friend have a story to tell, and I promise you that there’s a huge audience out there that in interested in your story. There are people, editors, publishing companies and a massive audience that want to pay you for your story.

NOW, how do you find them?

One way is getting your hands on a Writer’s Market Book and researching the markets. This is not an option to me, it is a MUST DO. I don’t know why so many writers have told me ‘It’s not for me’, ‘it’s just too tedious to go through all those pages’, or ‘It’s too hard’. Stop it! You’re a writer. It takes work to make a living and that is true for writers. If you decided to become a writer because it is the easy life, that you should probably stop thinking you’ll be able to live off your writing, because it takes real work to make a living writing full time.

OK,now that that is out of the way,

Another way to get your story out there is using social media. This is the part of love the most. I can tell you right now with total confidence,

WRITERS HAVE NOT SCRATCHED THE SURFACE OF THE POTENTIAL OF WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CAN DO FOR THEM!

This next part of ‘My Story’ you are going to love, and I usually charge good money for this, so I hope you share it with every writer you know.

Social Media is all about conversation. You use Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc, because you like to share your story. There are millions of conversations happening on these social media outlets every single second, or every single hour, of every single day. The amazing thing about these conversations in the Social Media world is that they never end. I shared a picture of a great cup of coffee I had during a coffee tour I was on for the Travel Channel a year ago, and I got a comment this morning about it, which started up that conversation again.

Those who are interested in a specific conversation, can discover something you said about that conversation they are interested in months and even years later and bring your little piece of the conversation into their conversation stream, which is taking place in their social conversation currently, which makes your story relevant again and new and fresh.

This is one of the most brilliant things about using all the avenues of social media possible, because each social media, is a different social stream, flowing with a million different social conversations. How many of those social streams would be interested your conversation piece?

How do you find the conversations that are looking for your story?

Practical Application:

Let’s take coffee as an example.

I write a coffee blog called TastingThePlanet, I also write a weekly column on coffee in the Examiner. Since I knew that I was getting paid for my blog posts, and I was also getting paid for my column, with bonuses based on the number of viewer traffic I pulled in, I knew that I had to get creative with my articles and how I was going to draw in readers.

The first thing I did was start a Facebook fan page for my TastingThePlanet. Why? Because every article I write about coffee can be posted there, for the fans of my Travel Blog to see. I did a search on Facebook for every coffee fan page I could find, every barista page, coffee interest page, and anyone who liked those pages.

Then I opened a twitter account @TasteThePlanet so I could start following everyone I knew that loved coffee. I followed every bean farmer I could find, every coffeehouse, roaster, barista, coffee lover, coffee magazine, barista competitions, and every one of their followers I could find.

And I would browse my new coffee friend’s pages to see what they were saying and posting and I would ‘Like’ some posts, and ‘Comment’ on others. In turn they realized that I had entered into their favorite conversation stream and was invested into the story being told.

Next, when I wrote my article or blog, I would post in on my Facebook or Twitter, and post the link in theirs too, with a short note about how I thought that they would enjoy this piece I wrote. I quickly noticed that my readership started going up.

Then I discovered Instagram. Which was a new a different way to share my story. Now I had the option of sharing pictures of amazing coffee’s I’d had a different coffeehouses and link those back to my article. It was amazing what this did. Now I had people who were my friends on Instagram also sharing their pics with me as well.

I created a Google+ account and found Communities. These are groups of people who all realize that they’re interested in a specific conversation and have created a social club based on a favorite topic, inside a massive social stream. Brilliant! So I joined the Coffee Community and the 8 other communities that had to do with, coffee, espresso, farming, roasting, etc. and in one night had over 100,000 new friends! That was in just one night using avenue of social media alone that wanted to talk about coffee, and now any time I posted something there I had the potential of reaching 100,000 new readers. It was up to me to grab them with my story headline.

It’s the same with Facebook fan pages, and groups.

Now for the cool stuff

I sold an article to a cigar magazine through a coffee article and gained 3,287 Subscribers and 47,000 readers in one article over 3 days, with this social media strategy in mind. Here’s how.

The article I originally wrote, ‘Cigars and Coffee: 2012’s Top 25 Cigars and the Coffee’s that compliment’

In this article I mention:

  • 25 cigars- the makers, the farms, and a place to purchase them
  • 25 coffee’s – the farms, roasters, where to get them
  • The Magazine I got to 2012 Top 25 Cigars from.

On Instagram I posted pictures of these cigars and their complementing coffees. Then I linked it to my page.

On Facebook I posted the link to my article on my page and my TastingThePlanet page. I also posted the link on all the Coffee and cigar pages I could find.

On Google+ I did the same thing that I did with Facebook and added it to my communities.

With Twitter I posted my link and hash-tagged (#) Coffee, Cigar, Aficionado

I made sure to get the article link on the pages of every:

  • Cigar Makers Page for each of the 25 cigars
  • The Cigar’s Farmer page
  • And any page celebrating any of the individual cigars.
  • Pages for places that sold them
  • The Cigar Magazine – With a special shout out.
  • Each Coffee farmers page
  • Each Roasters page
  • Each Coffee fans page
  • All Pages Celebrating Coffee
  • And places to buy them

In all, for two hours of research, writing, and submitting time, I used 4 social medias, and posted my link into 50 social conversations, and with that alone my article passed in front of about 900,000 eyes, not counting the ‘Shares’, ‘Re-Tweets’ and shout outs I got back from each of those places tagged in my article. I’m still getting followers, subscribers, and readers from that article. The Cigar magazine called me and asked me to write the article for them.

And all that is really only the beginning of using and understanding the potential of using social media to promote your writing. I may sound like a lot of work, but as you reach out to more and more people, more and more people begin to follow you and that’s when it gets easier.

You have to remember that writing is work too.

I have so much more I could share on this, but I am in the process of finishing an e-book about Social Strategy right now and I don’t to turn this post into a book itself. Why e-book, because I am able to add live links throughout the book to lead the readers back to other helpful resources.

A few of the other benefits to jumping into this kind of conversation search is that while you are looking for great places to share your story, you’ll come across SO many other stories, which can lead to your next big story.

You’ll also reach editors that want to buy your story, get other writing opportunities, and make a tons of great friends.

I hope you enjoyed this post and got something out of it.

If you have questions about using social media for your specific  ‘Conversation’ feel free to shoot me an email. Sam@SamTheWriter.com or message me on Facebook.

Also check out my Social Streams – and share yours as well.

Most of all, as a writer to a writer, I encourage you to Write, Write, Write! Write like you’re on fire, then submit.

I’m SamTheWriter

Signing off

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