Write First…Edit Later

May 18, 2006

I promised to share with you the biggest mistake new writers make today.  It’s the mistake which turns a short writing process into a full day drudgery.  And it’s also a problem which isn’t limited only to new writers.  Experienced writers go through periods of time where it weighs them down.

I’m talking about editing at the same time you’re writing. If you try to edit while you’re doing your first rough draft of any article, white paper, or book, you’re going to slow down the whole process to a snail’s pace.  Writing and editing are a completely separate process, and you have to treat them as such.

When you sit down to write, you must write.  Don’t worry about being perfect.  Don’t worry about making mistakes.  Just do it.  Write.  You’ll do your editing later in the process.  You might end up cutting out several paragraphs from the beginning of your writing when you get to editing.  It doesn’t matter.  In fact, when I’m training people on doing copywriting, it’s normal for us to cut out the first few paragraphs or even their whole first page.  It’s almost as if they’re going through a warm-up process in getting started.

So sit down and write.  That’s the key.  Don’t go back and edit.  Don’t sit there and contemplate what you’ll say next.  The more you can just write or type your thoughts out as they come to you, the easier the whole project will be.  Don’t allow yourself to rethink what you wrote at this point.  Don’t stop to go back and make changes yet.  Just write it until it’s finished.

Once you’re finished, now you can take a break from it for a while. Give yourself some time off.  Relax and do something else to occupy your mind.  My best ideas have almost always come to me while i was doing something other than working (playing a game, seeing a movie, taking a shower, etc.).

Have you ever experienced a conversation with someone where you don’t seem to get your point across?  Of course you have. In most cases the perfect words come to you later on that day and you just wish you had said such-and-such.  Writing is your opportunity to do this.  You write as if you’re in a private conversation with someone.  Then you take a break from writing and your subconcious gets to work on the project.  Now you get the opportunity to go back in and reword your piece.  You can’t take back words that come out of your mouth, but you can sure edit your writing before it’s published. 

The best results occur for me when I take a day between the writing and the editing process.  When I come back to my article I’m refreshed and often have a new perspective on it. It’s easy to go through and make the first several changes from things that came to mind in the past day.  I then read it outloud.  Someone else reads it outloud to me.  Anywhere that it just doesn’t sound right is modified and edited.  In a future postings, I’ll explain more about the overall editing process.

The one key principle here is that you must separate writing from editing.  It’s that tendency in us to perfect something that holds you back in writing.  It’s also the fear of making a mistake.  What if you don’t write it correctly?  What if it doesn’t sound right?  Public speaking is the number one fear of the average person.  They’re afraid they may appear foolish in front of an audience.  This same fear invades our writing at times. 

The simple solution to it is to tell yourself you will edit it before it goes out.  What you write today is not what will be published.  It is called a rough draft because it’s rough and needs some polishing.  You have to get over your fear and get started.  Just do it and edit it later.

Don’t Stare At a Blank Screen of Death

May 17, 2006

The thing that keeps most people from writing is the dreaded blank page. You get yourself motivated.  You sit down and turn on your word processing program.  You stare at the page.  You try to come up with the perfect first sentence.  After a few minutes you finally begin typing one.  Your next thought is that it just isn’t right and you delete the whole line.  You stare at the blank page a little longer.  Finally you write something else.  It isn’t right either.  So you delete it. 

This process continues on for an hour or two…until you give up in total frustration.  Writing must not be for you!  I’ve been there.  I’ve felt the pain.  I’ve stared at the blank screen of death.  Nothing came to mind.  Nothing ended up being written down.  All I did was stare. 

This pain continued until I learned a much easier writing system.  I used to dread writing.  I hated sitting down to write something.  Maybe moving some papers around my desk would be better.  Maybe making a phone call to a friend would help.  Maybe taking a break was what I needed.  You’ve probably experienced some of those same thoughts….where you’d do anything to avoid sitting there with that blank stare on your face.

Writing the first sentence of an article, an ebook, or a book is the most difficult sentence to write.  So don’t start there! That’s one of the secrets.  What you must learn to do is to break up whatever you’re writing into smaller chunks.  If you’re writing an article for example, come up with 3 to 5 points you want to make.  Break up the article into these principles, steps, or points.  Now instead of writing a 500 word article, you’re writing 100 word chunks for each of the steps you’ve created.

Which is easier to think about writing…one full article or simply a two paragraph section?  Obviously it’s easier to write two paragraphs.  Once you’ve decided on the steps or principles your article will contain, you can then begin writing on any individual section.  There is no rule that you have to start in the beginning…and in most cases, that’s the last place you should start.  Pick any of the sections you’ve now created and start there. 

Write about point number four if that’s the one which comes the easiest for you.  Then write about step three.  Work on each step or section individually and once they’re all finished…then you come back to the beginning.  As you see your article slowly taking shape, that’s when you’re motivated to continue.  And the more you write, the easier it gets to keep going. 

The basics of today’s lesson is that you must not allow yourself to sit there staring.  Do a simple outline of the main points you want to make.  Begin writing on whichever point will be the easiest for you to do.  Take each section individually so you only have to think of doing a paragraph or two at a time.  Often the beginning of the article is the last portion written.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the biggest mistake new writers make that causes them to take 2 to 3 hours to write something which should only take about 30 minutes.

Why Write Articles?

May 16, 2006

This is the first in a series of postings about writing articles and content for the Internet.  Today we’ll cover why you need to learn to write for the Internet world.  Some people hate writing…and I understand that type of thinking perfectly.  In school, my best subjects were math and science.  English and Speech were two of my most hated classes, yet those are now the skills I use the most in my business. 

Sure, you can hire out the job of writing to freelancers or you can join websites which offer you private label articles, but both of those options cost money and don’t build the same level of relationship with your subscribers.  Although you don’t have to write the majority of your content, you should at least produce some of of your own. 

Here is a short list of the benefits of producing content for your websites and your business…

  • Produce content and build relationships with your opt-in subscribers.
  • Create a regular blog series for traffic and community.
  • Submit your articles to article submission sites for free traffic generation.
  • Compile a group of your articles together for an ebook or physical book.
  • Use the articles for search engine “fuel” by optimizing them for search engine rankings. 
  • Provide content for affiliates to use in promotion of your products and services.

The last four benefits can easily be reproduced by hiring outside writers.  The first two are much more difficult to accomplish without producing at least some of your own writing.  People buy from those who they like and trust…and for small businesses, it’s very difficult to build strong relationships with your customers without regular contact with them.  In fact, blogs have become such a part of online marketing that many large corporations now have their own blog writers to deal with this marketing medium. 

What I’ve found throughout my business is that nothing I’ve ever done has produced the same level of value to me as writing to my prospects and clients has done.  For example, I once wrote an article called, “The Internet Lifestyle.”  This article was published in hundreds of email newsletters and reproduced on thousands of web sites.  It generated viral traffic for me for years…and it is still making it’s rounds even though it has been close to six years since I originally created it.  An article which took me around 30 minutes to write…has produced tens of thousands of visitors and has continued producing for six years. 

What free promotion have you ever done that equals that amount of results with so little time invested?

This article wasn’t about some new revolution in Internet marketing or some new strategy no one had ever heard about.  It was simply about what I call the Internet lifestyle….and how I can live and work anywhere I want.  When you run an Internet based business, you can do it at home from your home in your underwear if you want.  You can do it in a big city if that’s what you like.  You can do it out in the middle of nowhere like I do if that’s your choice.  I live in rural Indiana on a street where there are only three other houses in a one mile stretch of road.

The “Internet Lifestyle” article talked about a cow named Oscar which lived next door to me.  This has to be one of the most well known cows in existance as I’ve been asked by email, on the phone, and even in conference about how Oscar was doing.  In fact, just last week someone asked me that question again.  I had to simply respond, “I’m sorry, but Oscar was eaten a long time ago.”  Don’t look at me!  I didn’t do it.  Oscar just lived next door.  It is kind of funny that as long as the article has been out there…no one mentioned the fact that Oscar was really a bull, not a cow (I was wondering if anyone would mention it and they never have).

Anyway, the point of this is the power of one interesting article.  It builds relationships.  It drives traffic.  It’s totally free promotion, and most people simply don’t know how to do it correctly.  In the next couple of postings I’ll be teaching you a few aspects of the article writing system I’ve always used to get you started fast. 

 

MyMarketingCoach Website

May 15, 2006

This blog has been rather empty of late.  In the past month I’ve been to both Las Vegas for Fred Gleeck’s Information Product Marketing Bootcamp and San Antonio of Joel Christopher’s MasterListBuilder FUN Shop.  They were both great events and I had the opportunity to meet with a large number of wonderful people in this business.  In the next few days I plan to post some information and possibly even a few pictures from these events. 

My new website at http://www.mymarketingcoach.com is beginning to take shape.  There are still several completely empty sections such as the “free articles” section, but it won’t stay like that for long.  If you visit over there, you’ll notice my new book, “Internet Integrity” will be ready to purchase soon…and we are currently accepting pre-orders for it…although I’m not heavily promoting it yet.  We also have several other products planned for the near future, so keep an eye on the site for upcoming updates.  Everything going on will be announced through my free newsletter and most likely in this blog as well.

May 16th is the first official day of my “coaching gym” program.  If you’ve ever been interested in having your own marketing coach and mentor, this may be your chance.  I’m not going to accept very many clients for the program as I really don’t want to become an Internet “guru” again.  I only want to work with a few clients at one time and you could consider this the “Test” program.  I’m sure the program will be modified in the future depending on just how much time it demands from me.  You can find out more about it at http://www.mymarketingcoach.com/coach/index.html

My Quick and Easy Article Writing System was extremely popular at Joel Christopher’s FunShop event.  People were excited to learn how anyone could begin writing online articles in 30 minutes or less…even if they’re not a writer.  I’ll share a few aspects of this system in the blog over the next few days.  If there is anything else you’d like to see in the upcoming blog postings, please let me know by using the feedback options.

Welcome to my Politically Incorrect Ramblings

May 10, 2006

Welcome to this brand new blog about Internet marketing, business coaching, integrity, etc…basically all the things I feel like rambling on about.   It’s pretty empty around here at the moment, but that will be changing quickly.  You can expect to see regular postings several times a week to this blog about business, marketing, integrity, and more. If you’re interested in learning how you can obtain financial freedom through your own business, and do it without giving up the rest of your life…then this is the place to be.  So, excuse the dust around here.  These pages are just beginning construction.  Bookmark this page.  Get ready.  There will be numerous links added to other marketing blogs and online tools.  It’s quite likely excerpts from my book, “Internet Integrity” will be added in as well.  I’m looking forward to serving you and helping you in whatever way I can in your business and your life.