You might think working from home as a writer would provide plenty of free time to write your books, build your brand, start a blog, and do plenty of book marketing. Yeahhh. Not if you have a baby in the house. I blog and write books for a living, but I also happen to be a wife and mother. As much as I love writing, my husband and baby will always come first. My days are packed with activities that pull me away from my laptop. Because of that, I had to find the quickest way to jumpstart and maintain my writing career. Here are the three best methods that have worked for me.
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Three best ways to kickstart your writing career:
I remember feeling discouraged when I read how many blog posts I’d have to write and publish before I could even launch my blog. It wasn’t outrageous, but couldn’t I just start the blog and wing it? (Here’s a tip: Nope.) The same goes for publishing books. When you publish the first, it’s a good idea to have the second ready to go so you don’t keep your readers waiting too long. In addition, having a freebie to offer — such as a novella or ebook — will encourage potential readers to subscribe to your mailing list.
Here’s the freebie I offer on my author website.
Writing ahead and having plenty of content ready to go is a great way to get a jumpstart on your writing career. It will help you plan ahead for your blog or book series. It will also give you a well to draw from on dry days when you don’t know what to write or publish next. (Believe me, those days will happen.) Start a Word document or Google Docs file full of content ideas so you always have something to work with. When you have spare time (or maybe I should say if you have spare time), turn a few of those ideas into full articles, blog posts, or chapters.
Yes, it’s a lot of work. But if you love writing, then this is the fun part!
The amount of work that comes with being a writer is astounding. And I’m talking about work beyond just writing. Blog post planning, social media management, finances and accounting, emails, and yes, the actual writing. If you batch as many of these tasks as you can, you won’t spend your writing time jumping around from task to task.
So, for example:
- Take one day a month to plan your blog posts for the upcoming month (you can do this monthly or annually)
- Take another day each month to update your writing business’s income and expenses
- Spend Friday afternoons catching up on emails and bringing your inbox to zero
- Take one afternoon a month to plan and schedule your social media posts across all platforms
You can even take this a step further and batch household tasks like budgeting, paying bills, and planning meals. Keeping your home life organized may even free up more time for you to write. (I’m still working on this part!)
The key is to consider the projects that end up taking more time than you expect each day. For me, that’s managing my finances and social media. So I decided to start batching those tasks by knocking them out on designated days and scheduling them instead of tackling them individually every day. It has paid off, too. I use BoardBooster for my Pinterest account, and since I’ve been using it I’ve received consistent traffic to my website and steady signups for my email list, even during those weeks when I fall behind. For $5 per month, I can’t beat it, especially considering the amount of work it does for me.
Make good connections.
One of the best things you can do for yourself, no matter your profession, is network and make good connections. This can mean meeting up with another author or editor in your area for coffee, joining a writers group or workshop, or attending networking events offered by your local chamber of commerce.
If you’re a novelist, this might mean visiting all of your local bookstores and gift shops to drop off a few books and business cards. It could also mean speaking at a local high school or community college, setting up a table at the farmer’s market, or arranging a few book signings or readings at a coffee shop or library.
If the thought of networking stresses you out (because you’re a writer and therefore most likely an introvert), don’t forget that making good connections doesn’t only have to happen face to face. It certainly helps, but you can also make excellent connections through social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and plenty of others. If you’re better with written words than spoken ones (like meeee!), a well-composed email and offer of something valuable and free could help you connect with another writer or editor you admire.
Social media can also help you connect not only with colleagues, but with potential clients, customers, and readers. There are so many different ways to connect with readers, so be encouraged if you feel like networking isn’t your thing. Taking a multi-faceted approach (i.e. in person and online) will probably pay off best, but don’t sweat it if you feel too overwhelmed to tackle both right away.
Speaking of social media networking, THIS girl knows what she’s talking about. If you’re interested in learning how to engage with more potential readers or clients, or if you just need a push, then check out her incredibly effective Instagram classes!
Three of the best things you can do to kickstart your writing career:
- Write ahead,
- Batch everything, and
- Make good connections.
Doing these three things will help you make the most of your writing career. Is there anything else you can do? Oh, there’s plenty. But if you don’t do anything else, at least do this:
Believe me, I know how easy it is to get discouraged and feel like you want to give up. But if writing is what you want to do, then be persistent and don’t give up. Treat it the way you would treat any other career. Take classes, network with other writers, and build your portfolio. Dedicate a specific amount of time each day to the three tasks listed above and do them persistently.
You probably won’t become a famous/wealthy/etc. writer overnight, but you’ll be working toward something meaningful to you and possibly even to someone else.