This is a guest post by Frank McKinley. He is a published author who helps writers to engage readers, sell their ideas, and build tribes. In this post Frank explains to use 10 mistakes new writers make as they go pro, have you personally faced any of these?
Last fall I enrolled in Jeff Goins’ popular Tribe Writers course.
I did it because I was tired of treating my writing as a side gig. In other words, I wanted to be paid to do what I love.
Do you feel this way, too?
Maybe you’ve gotten some attention for your work. It feels good, doesn’t it? It gives you hope that one day you’ll be able to quit your boring day job and make a living from your words.
Let me tell you, you can do this – if you do the right things.
Here are 10 mistakes new writers make when they try to go pro. Avoiding these will save you countless hours of wasted effort and a ton of missed opportunities.
Mistake #1 – Writing about trendy topics you have no passion for.
You’ve heard marketing experts say this: “Find a need in the market and fill it.”
That’s good advice if the topic is something you’re passionate about.
If you’re going to establish yourself as a serious writer, stick to one topic you love. You’ll write better – and your readers will resonate more deeply with it.
Mistake #2 – Being obsessed with the numbers.
Facebook likes. Retweets. Email subscribers.
There are so many ways to track your engagement.
And checking them every day can drive you crazy!
Free yourself. Respond to those who engage you. Help those who need your help. Give more than you ask.
Let the numbers take care of themselves.
Mistake #3 – Thinking your ideas are totally original.
Everything has been said before. So why bother saying it again?
Because you add your unique story, experiences, and knowledge to the mix. We can’t get that anywhere else – so go ahead and write it.
Mistake #4 – Not differentiating yourself.
It’s okay to steal from your idols. Lots of the greats do that.
Just remember you weren’t made to be a copy. Be original. Be authentic. And transform what you like about others into your own style.
Mistake #5 – Treating your writing as a hobby.
Hobbyists practice occasionally.
Professionals practice daily.
If you’re serious, write every day whether you feel like it or not. Share your work. Get feedback you can use to refine your craft.
It may hurt sometimes, but you’ll come out better for it.
Mistake #6 – Writing your book before building your audience.
It’s a lot easier to sell something when you’ve got a crowd of hungry buyers waiting.
I sold 25,000 books before I built my audience. I used some great copywriting and design skills to accomplish it.
But can you imagine how much better these books would have sold if I’d built my audience first?
Don’t fight an uphill battle. Find the people who think what you know is amazing – and sell to them.
Mistake #7 – Not writing regularly.
If you love writing, you’ll do it every day, right?
If you struggle with this, find some quiet, uninterrupted time in your schedule. Then sit down, set a goal, and keep writing until you meet it.
You’ll be amazed how much easier it gets with every passing day!
Mistake #8 – Using writer’s block as an excuse not to write.
Creativity is not as mysterious as you think.
Want to know a quick and easy way to generate ideas?
Write down 100 ideas. Don’t censor yourself. Good, bad, or ugly – write them all. What you’ll have left will be good for one, two, or even ten articles!
Mistake #9 – Not taking a firm stand.
Do you have a strong opinion about something?
Take a stand – and don’t back down when people challenge you. The rest will love you for saying what they’re thinking.
Mistake #10 – Not writing for scanners.
It’s an ugly truth: people don’t read on the web.
Your writing needs subheadings to grab people. They’re looking for reasons to read. Draw them in with blockquotes, pictures, and bold subtitles.
Now Go Pro!
You’ve just learned what you shouldn’t do.
It’s time for you to make your mark. Will you accept the challenge?
I’ve loved writing since I could pick up a pen. As a kid, I wrote a magazine for my parents. It had articles, pictures, even ads! As a teenager, writing was my sanctuary during those turbulent years. When I won a school-wide poetry contest in high school after 15 minutes of work, I knew I had something. My passion is to help writers engage readers, sell their ideas, and build their tribes. I do that through blog posts, social media, and coaching. My family and I live in the sunny Southern United States with a Labrador named Jake.