Writing — no matter what form it takes — can be a powerful business development tool if you let it be one. But many authors with whom I speak underestimate just how much writing they will need to do as part of being a professional.
I hate to be the one to break it to ya, but the writing doesn't stop when you reach "The End" of your book.
Not even close.
Years ago, before I became a full-time editor and coach, I worked in a large company handling service inquiries, managing projects, writing and editing correspondence, and selling ideas. And while at the time I was frustrated that I wasn't doing what I loved, I realize I was writing and learning every day.
I just didn't recognize the corporate work as real writing.
And I beat myself up for personal and creative failures.
Hindsight can be a real jerk, eh?
When I first began editing and coaching full-time, I dreamed of the long days I'd get to spend studying manuscripts, the conversations I'd have with their authors, the sense of fulfillment of enhancing a message, curating an experience, and helping authors reach their right readers.
Somehow in those dreams, I'd missed the all-important business end of editing and coaching.
Why is it that kids don't want to grow up to become administrative professionals?
Anyhoo . . .
Writing is a business. Writing is also the number one skill to learn to thrive in business.
Website copy? Writing.
Client emails? Writing.
Blog posts? Writing.
Seeing the pattern here?
Writing is how you will find your future readers, connect with your ideal service professionals and support systems, and share your message; how you will attract your people to your little corner of the internet; how you will teach and entertain them through your work.
Long-form and short-form communications function differently, so learn and iterate both until you have a process that works for you.
Below is a roadmap of primary skills to learn if you're just getting started:
Every person in business should have a website. While I know most of us are using socials to connect with people, the use of social media is a bit like the Wild West. Ban bots run rampant. Servers go down. Profiles are mysteriously wiped clean. And you could lose everything you built on socials in a matter of minutes simply because you're renting the space.
So if you're new to writing, editing, coaching, or are stepping into any other freelance venture, build yourself a website to get clear on:
what you do
how you do it
who you do it for
why you do it for them
what you charge to get it done
Using that website space to document these answers can make the difference between attracting your people and attracting randos who will never become your people no matter now many times you show up for them.
So, build a website, gain clarity, then do the thing.
Newsletters & Blogs
If you're an author or a hopeful and you don't have a newsletter or a blog, go ahead and start one today.
Maybe — and I'm blowing hot air here — use that brand-spankin'-new website you just created to host your blog or newsletter.
If you want people to read your book — even (especially) the one you haven't written yet — they need to know it exists. And to know your book exists, you will need to tell them.
Talk about the themes in your writing, what drives you to write, lessons you've learned along the way, and what your reader will ultimately get from reading.
And tell people so often your book gets stuck in their minds like gum in hair. This is basically marketing. And in writing about your writing, you'll become more confident in your abilities as a writer, which will translate into becoming a better writer.
But don't stop there.
I know you're setting up shop for your Serious Author persona, but people buy from people first, so remember to clue folks in on who you are at the same time. Share those quirks!
Maybe you really love all nine of your cats. Or make the best fruit cake this side of the 20th century. Or have a knack for DIY construction projects. Because you're not just an author. Chances are, you like to do other stuff too. So talk about that other stuff while being Serious Author, and you'll not only stop yourself from running out of content, you'll (probably) be seen as a well-rounded human being.
Snowball effect and a win-win.
How often do you talk to yourself? (And no, this isn't a trick question.)
Leveraging your social media presence and corresponding audience is a great way to build awareness around your writing. But writing for socials benefits from learning the art of short-form copy.
My favorite way to learn copywriting is by studying actual copywriters. Find some creators you actually enjoy and figure out why you enjoy their content.
What made you click that play button, sign up for that newsletter, buy that product?
Chances are, it felt (at least a little) like the creator was talking to you, speaking your language. And since that content got you to go off-platform, you know it's working.
And it's working because the creator is talking to you, championing your opinions, goals, and ambitions, inspiring you to chase them,
So when you write your socials, write to yourself — even yourself from six months ago. What did you need to hear? What moved you? Entertained you? Drained you? Your readers may need to hear those things too, and in hearing them from you, they may just learn to trust you.
The business side of freelancing doesn't have to learn you feeling drained, overwhelmed, or stretched. When I need a healthy dose of positivity or inspiration, I consistently turn to two folks who are doing the thing and doing it well.
And since my window of getting pumped up for the day is relatively short, I find listening to a podcast during my morning shower to be a great way to get in the content without having to pause my whole day to do it.
I hope these creators inspire you the way they continue to inspire me:
Dan Koe, The Koe Cast - the kick in the pants you need to build your ideal future.
Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic - the skills you'll want to harness while building and growing.
In case you missed it . . .
POV: A Guide to Perspective in Fiction and Memoir is coming soon! I'm so excited to share my first craft booklet with you. Subscribe to the blog for updates.
Find yourself stuck and wondering what comes next? Book a coaching call here. When we're done talking, I'll send you our call recording to watch again and again!
Do you have a favorite way to practice writing when you're not writing or revising your book?
Share your website, blog, newsletter, or a social account you're particularly proud of in the comments.
Happy writing and editing!