I was in a slump – a big one – for a couple of months. A slump happens for many different reasons. I’ve learned some preventative measures, but in this article I really want to cover what to do when you’ve gotten into a slump. How do you get out?
I can happily say that I’ve been in the clear – out of the slump – for several weeks. I’m still not completely up to speed (for instance, this is the first post I’ve written for this blog in ages), but I’m ramping up my productivity and I feel good about what I’m doing.
Let Go if You Need To
I stopped being dedicated to work on my websites because we were in the process of house-hunting. It’s a very, very emotional process. We bid on one house and lost the bid. Then we went through an agonizing month of looking at many houses and not finding “the one.” Finally, we found our house and wow, that was a roller coaster of making an offer, getting it accepted, closing on the house, moving in, and finally settling. Did I mention that I found out I was pregnant during all of that? We had a lot going on.
I realized that I just couldn’t do a lot of the work I’d have liked to do during that time. I really wanted to, had even tried to take steps to make sure I’d get some work done, but in the end I needed to just let go. There were other priorities in life: getting moved, getting through the first trimester of pregnancy, getting the family settled. It’s OK if you sometimes have to focus on one area of life.
Getting Back to Work Sooner
Letting go is good – but staying stagnant is not. People have a tendency let go and keep on puttering around, never getting back to work. “Work” is whatever project that needs doing. Once I got done with the immediate needs of moving in (setting up the kitchen, for instance), I realized that I just needed to get back to work. Sitting around and feeling depressed about the enormous amount of work in front of me was doing me no good.
It doesn’t do you any good, either. Once your time of crisis focus has passed, it’s time to get yourself back to work on the projects that mean the most to you! Pick something that really needs to be done, and something that will really make a difference. Don’t choose busywork. Don’t choose your email backlog! An income-producing project is the ideal.
Toss the To-Do’s and Pick What’s Important
If you’re like me, you’re probably staring at a “to-do list” that’s a mile long. I realized that my list was only depressing me. I put everything that wasn’t “urgent” away to examine later (I picked about 3 weeks out from the date I was at). Then I created a few categories that were very important in my life. I ended up with:
- Home – getting the house organized from the move
- School – getting all the materials and lesson plans for our upcoming home school eyar ready
- Business – Income-producing projects
- Work – Mundane “maintenance” tasks for work (checking stats, website tweaks, email, etc.)
For me, placing the most important task for the first three categories on my daily agenda really helped. The fourth category, “Work” was good for when my energy levels were low (after working on the more important “Home”, “School”, and “Business” categories).
Every day I determined which of my tasks was most important. I planned to work on that first. Then I worked on the other important things, and finally, mundane tasks.
I tried to work on “Business” or “School” tasks first, because they took the most energy, creativity, and focus. “Home” cleaning and organization is easier
Set Goals and Prevent Future Burn-Out
I think it’s important just to get back to a baseline of getting some important work done for a week or so. Then you can really re-evaluate your goals for yourself, your home life, and your business. Examine your strategy and work on tweaking it if needed.
Be willing to set goals and truly take steps to work towards them. Also be willing to re-evaluate every couple of weeks. You may grow bored of writing articles every day, for instance. It may be time to focus on creating an audio or video product, or on writing a book. It’s important to finish projects, but changing your schedule of activities from time-to-time can help prevent burnout.
Sometimes you’ll need to just grind through a project. Maybe you want to write an email campaign sequence for your autoresponder. This can make you a lot of money if you get it up and running. It’s something you could choose to do over a period of time (an email a day, for instance) — or you could just focus on writing the whole campaign over the course of one 20-hour workweek.
Vary how you organize your projects.
Do your most important project first. Save the mundane things (and email!) for when your energy levels are low later in the day. If you work on something important for a few hours and find your energy lagging, stop for the day. You’ll get a lot more done tomorrow, when you’re fresh.
And take a break now and then. Take the weekends off Take a whole week off from time to time. You’ll be more energetic and creative when you return to your projects.
What’s caused your slumps? How did you overcome?
Photo by Kasia and Mike
I had an idea for the niche that I wanted to dig into with this little test site. I’m already in the natural fertility niche, and this was a spin-off of that niche that I’d toyed with already and gotten some good response to. I wanted to take it further and create a stand-alone site that could really delve into it.
The first thing I needed to do, though, was keyword research.
Passion vs. Profit
I’ve covered this fully in my post on Profitable Keywords vs. Passion but I want to mention it again here. It’s really important, in my opinion, that you target a niche where you at least have some interest.
Now, it’s possible you’ll have an outsourced worker doing a lot of the content creation and marketing of your site for you. That’s just fine. I want to get to the point where outsourced workers are doing essentially all of my backlinking. But there’s a good chance that you’re going to write at least some of the content. Even if you’re not writing a word, you want to know that your site is providing value to your target audience.
So I do think it’s important that a measure of interest come into your work.
That said, look for the profitable spin on your subjects of interest. What do people who are interested in your niche need? How can you help them get what they need? What information can you give them?
Help people in a way that they need to be helped… you can best do this in an area you’re passionate about.
Use this brainstorming as a jumping-off point.
Work Those Keywords
I had an idea for my site, but I needed to see if it panned out financially. I followed the exact steps that I show you in my keyword research video, so check that out when you have the time. I walk you step-by-step through my research in a particular niche (and come up with two possible site concepts!)
I used those steps to go through keywords and verify that the niche I was looking into would be profitable. I also got a great idea for exactly what phrases people were looking for in the niche.
I was surprised by some of what I found, so it was good to get a feel for what people were really after. It also helped a rough plan for my site start to form in my head. I’ll go through this more in-depth when I detail the content creation for the site.
One thing I found frustrating with keyword research was how many topics came up that were related to women who were already pregnant (my niche is targeting them before they get pregnant). Some of Market Samurai’s filters and options really helped cut down on these irrelevant searches, so I was glad I was using a fully-featured tool. (You’ll see me use some of these options on the video)
Products Here and Products There (Products… Everywhere!)
At this point I had a topic I was interested in, and I knew it had the search numbers to back it. I also know that there are a couple of well-established sites in the search engines but I feel pretty confident I can get myself into the top three and eventually #1
So the next thing was to figure out if people were really paying for this information. See, this is a topic that I can really help somebody find out information on, but I’ve done a lot of research on it. I’ve dug through a lot of stuff, and well, I’ve spent a lot of time organizing things. I want somebody who values my time and efforts enough to pay for it.
So, off I went to check out the money aspect:
- Books on Amazon for sale? Check!
- Products on Clickbank for sale? Check! (good gravity and sales are important, too… Check!)
- Related products? Check!
There are physical products used by women in this niche, which I can recommend. One of my top affiliate merchants in my fertility niche has some products that can cater to these women. It’s always great to know I can use a merchant that provides great products, offers a good commission, and pays their commissions!
This little niche market isn’t a huge, booming market like weight loss… but it’s definitely making money through information products and physical products.
Can We Start a Dialogue?
One final check for me before I solidified this niche as my site concept. I went and checked out forums.
People often say look and see if you can find forums to verify that there’s traffic and interest. I knew that from my research above. The gold I mine in the forums is further information on exactly what my visitors are going to be looking for when they hit my site. Forum “hot topics” are exactly the gold I want.
You can also check out Twitter, Facebook, etc. – the social media sites to see what you can find. But this niche is a niche that women and families tend to be very private about, so they’re much more likely to use a private forum dedicated to the niche than social media. Think about which fits your niche better.
Okay, so all of this research yielded me a nice niche where I have some interest. The numbers and sales potential back it up.
Please note I’m planning on making my own product funnel for this niche. I will serve some Adsense on the site, but it’s not “made for ads” — it’s made to sell my own products and funnel into my own back-end system So I didn’t really look too much at ad yields, other than as an overall traffic measure.
Photo by stockerre
Work. Hard Work. That’s how you get ahead — that’s how you create change in your life. That’s how you get to where you want to be. Stop whining, stop complaining, and start doing. That’s when things change. That’s my philosophy, at least — so why would I title this post “You Don’t Have to Work”?
It’s hard for me to sit around and do nothing to work towards a goal. I’m a planner and a do-er. As soon as I know something may be a possibility, I start planning. The wheels in my head start turning. So to accept that I can just sit back and receive something, especially something that feels like I should have to work hard for it, is really tough.
Everybody makes mistakes in life, and you end up making a lot of apologies. Sure, you’re a pretty good person. You don’t steal, kill, or hurt little kids. But you still end up screwing up. Have you ever lost your temper? Told a lie… even just a little white lie when you were a kid yourself?
All of those things add up, and we make our apologies, but we still feel guilty.
We keep trying to improve ourselves… or at least stick to our beliefs that we’re good people. In the end, though, we’re all human
So it’s hard… it’s really hard for me, and maybe it’s hard for you. To think of all that I “have to do” to get to where I want to be and who I want to be. I have a lot of aspirations for my business and I want so much for my family. I sometimes feel like the weight of the whole world rests on my shoulders — and that I have to manage it all.
I’m eternally grateful, however, that there’s one thing I don’t need to work on. Somebody already paid the price for me, and gave me freedom I didn’t earn (and I don’t deserve).
I have to run my business, and I have to run my household. I have apologies I have to make to my husband, my kids, and even to customers from time to time… But I don’t have to worry about the guilt of mounting mistakes. I don’t have to worry about working myself to the bone every day to be “a good person.” It’s not my hard work that’s cleaning all of that rough stuff away from me. It’s not my community service that washes away my record.
I say a lot of prayers throughout the year — for my business, for my family, for other concerns I have. But I don’t often say anything in a really public way here on my blog.
Maybe it’s the fact that many will celebrate the death and resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ this weekend. Maybe it’s because I’ve listened to some excellent preaching out of the book of Hebrews the past few Sundays. Maybe it’s just because the past few years have shown me just how much I can screw up, and the dark depths of my own thoughts.
I don’t know exactly why, but today I just want to say that I’m thankful for the blood that the Lord Jesus Christ poured out before God within the temple of the third heaven — blood that paid the price for me. I am so thankful that at least in this, of most eternal importance, I can take a gift freely given. I’m so grateful it’s infinite and eternal.
Photo by Albion Europe ApS
Do you use pictures in your blog posts? You should – pictures capture attention immediately and help draw your reader into your subject matter. The problem is getting the pictures. Stock photos are great quality, but can quickly get very, very expensive, especially if you’re producing a lot of content.
I recently discovered a great resource for photos, however, that doesn’t cost any money. You just need to credit the photographer for his or her work. There’s an almost infinite pool of photos to choose from, and you can search the pictures by keywords, concepts, and ideas.
Here’s a quick video showing you how to use this resource:
I still use stock photos for graphics work and on pages (like sales letters, squeeze pages, etc) that I don’t want to have to link back to someone. But for most blog posts I have found this to be an excellent resource!
What’s your favorite resource for finding pictures?
Everyone tells you to do something different. You’re on a dozen different marketing lists, read a few different forums, and you have a few books floating around the house. Wait, don’t tell me — you also have that big-ticket internet business course you bought. With so much information your biggest tendency is just to shut down… not do anything at all.
Think about that for a minute, though. If you sit down today and do nothing but say “there’s too much to do here,” how will you feel tomorrow? How will you feel next month?
You can make all the excuses you want, but time still passes. The minutes, hours, and days tick away. Soon an afternoon off “to process” things becomes a day, two days, three days, a week, a month… and you’re still at the same place that you started from. A load of information, and no business to show for it.
I think one of the biggest regrets I have is not pushing myself to do certain things. I regret not pushing myself to work on products last year, even though I bought a course on how to put out quality products with less work. It was a great course, and had structured goals. If I had followed through with those assignments and goals, I’ve have 10-20 products right now! Instead, I don’t. I got one product done over the course of that course!
Guess what? That product hasn’t been my rock star. The instructor clearly stated that you weren’t going to be buying a new car with every product… but that if you put several quality products out there, you’re probably going to get at least one that does well. And you’re going to discover a lot about creating and marketing products. Those lessons would have made it much more likely that future products were winners.
I could say this about so many more things! I’ve been puttering my way through a Facebook course — if I had finished it and implemented action steps within two weeks of getting it, I’d be a lot further than I am now!
I’ll bet you can think of at least one strategy, course, etc. that you’ve failed to do anything with.
Okay, so now I’ve made you feel bad thinking about your lost time (maybe years!) — but now I want you to give up the regrets. That’s right, let them go! Regret can paralyze you as much as information overload! Don’t dwell on what you did in the past. Change what you do today.
So what if you blew it last year? So what if I blew it!
I’ve created two products and I’m a good part of the way through a third one this year. I’m taking action. It hasn’t been as fast as I’d like, but I’m doing it. I’ve got outlines done for several more products across two niches and I’m dedicated to getting them out there. I’m not looking back on lost time because, well, it’s lost. I blew it. But I can still crush it now. I intend to.
Look over what you’ve got on your plate. Pick one thing to focus on. Pick one course, or one book. Get in there and dig into it. Really work with it. Take action.
Don’t let your past failures bog you down. Many men and women have failed and then come back, rising farther than they ever thought they could. I like the thought that our failures are simply seeds for our success (I believe it comes from Napoleon Hill).
And if you try really hard and whatever you do really bites, just keep going. It’s just like my instructor said in my product creation course — not every product is going to be a rock star. Not everything you try will pan out. You have to keep trying, keep discovering.
When something works, hit it with all you’ve got. Then go ahead and learn something else. Make something else work, too. Build an empire of success.
Time to Fly
The time is going to fly no matter what. A month from now your month will still be gone! You can sit around and watch television or read magazines… or you can take something and take action on it.
The time will be gone. Will you look back with regret that you didn’t take action? Or will you know that you’re well on your way to making your life what you want? How will you take action today?
Pic remixed from Rob Enslin
Scott and I watched a movie last night called Like Dandelion Dust.
I thought it was a really good movie. Compelling story, all characters had very real flaws. Just one that left you with tears in your eyes and thinking about the characters.
I went and looked up the movie after we finished and saw it was based on a book.
The author who wrote the book, Karen Kingsbury, has had several New York Times bestsellers (TEN actually!) – but I couldn’t help but notice that she’s authored more than 50 books.
Have you noticed how many best-selling authors have penned so many books? That’s a lot of ink (or pixels).
I think that’s awesome. I think it’s awesome that Karen Kingsbury and so many other bestselling authors are not “one hit wonders” – but they’re women and men dedicated to writing.
Are they sitting back saying “I have 40 books that aren’t best-sellers”?? … are you sitting there saying “yeah, she has 40 books that aren’t best-sellers”??
No way! You’re sitting there saying “wow, it must be nice to have 10 (ten!!) New York Times best-sellers!
How many books (sites, apps, articles, scripts, recipes, photos, wool socks) have you created? Keep going. Don’t stop when one loses. Take it from Karen and so many like her… play to win.
Photo by Daehyun Park
This is about you. But to get started I need to share something about me:
I really wanted to write something inspirational today, but I don’t really think that I can. Frankly, I’m having a really horrible day. In case you thought my life was all roses, it’s not. Let me tell you, parenting and having a family are much more challenging than running an internet business. And trying to get a business to really take off while dealing with home stuff can be maddening. It’s like being ripped in two.
Anyways, so when I’m having a really, really horrible day, I try to get back to the nuts and bolts of things just to get through. I’m really not sure what to do about kid issues right now, so I have to pray and think on that. But business stuff is sometimes easier to address. So I think about what’s frustrating me most right now. Here’s what’s going on in my head:
A. My product isn’t done and it should be done so I can move on to the next product B. I’m not getting regular content up on my sites C. I’m not writing articles for article marketing D. The backlinking project STILL hasn’t really taken off E. Email copy isn’t done F. Content refresh on my two bigger sites is stalled
There are a few other things, too, like being behind on emails and not keeping up with social media, but they aren’t as big.
So what do you do when you’re facing a situation like I am, where there’s a lot of unfinished “stuff” sitting there, really aggravating you? Especially when there’s a whole bunch more “stuff” lining up behind that, and family issues aside?
First, think priorities. My family and my home are my big priorities. That’s just core. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that while I’m working so hard on launching a business.
If business tasks have to be shuffled over for you to address something in your family life, that’s fine. If you can’t take as much time on the business because you need to take care of your family and home, that’s fine, too. Parenting and being a spouse are huge jobs in and of themselves.
Don’t use that as an excuse to do nothing. I don’t think I need to explain this. You know if you really need to take that time for family, or if you’re just feeling frazzled and wasting your day away surfing the internet. Don’t do that. Build your business instead.
Dump Everything Else Over the Horizon
I’m a huge fan on Michael Linenberger’s Master Your Now system. He has what’s called a “horizon” — this is about 10 days out or so into the future. Here is where things are put that are not urgent/mission critical/very important.
I understand you have some obligations that you’ll have to meet. But outline what you really want to get done — and dump everything else over the horizon. Look at it in 10 days time. It will be there.
For instance, I’m in the middle of a redesign of my biggest website. It’s going to look really nice when it’s done, it will be great for branding, etc. But it’s really not super-important. It can wait. The things I listed above are far more important to me right now because they will form a sustainable backbone for my business.
What’s the Next Step?
The “next action” methodology comes from David Allen’s Getting Things Done. He urges you to think in terms of “next actions.” What’s the next thing I have to do to move a project forward?
This is really important when you’re building an online business because a lot of what you do is on a large scale — build a website, create a product (or an entire funnel of products), write an email campaign, carry out an article marketing campaign, etc.
But you can’t think like that. I’ve been thinking like that and it’s really crushing me… instead of me getting out there and crushing it!
So I need to think, “what’s the next action for me to take to get this product online and ready to sell?” The next action is to complete the bonus products… then I need to write the bonuses into the sales letter… then I need to proof the sales copy… then I need to format the sales letter… and so forth. It’s a huge project to bring a product online (even with it “finished”!!!!) I get overwhelmed and upset when I think over all I need to do. But finish one bonus up? Tedious, but do-able.
Attack the Next Steps
Now comes a harder choice — do you follow one next step after another until the project is done, ignoring everything else? Or do you work on a few pressing projects, tackling their next steps in rotation?
It’s really up to you and I’ve heard of different people having success doing it different ways.
I’ve thought about it some, and this is how I’m going to try addressing things:
I really want to keep regular content on my sites. I have 2 hours every afternoon where my kids are napping/playing quietly/working on their own projects. So during that 2 hours on Monday and Tuesday I will write content for my sites. I hope to do 3 posts for Milk and Mud, 2 for NBBC, 1 for GP, and 1 for GSC. Some of these may be blog entries, some pages. But 7 total articles is not a lot for me to write over 4 hour’s time.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I will attack the next actions for another project, trying as hard as I can to go one thing after the other to knock out projects. Some of these next actions, like for the backlinking project are good to get done because they set the stage to bring in an outsourced worker.
Some things, like article marketing, I already get help with part of (my hubby does proofreading and submits to Ezine Articles).
Saturdays will be dependent on what the family is doing, and Sundays I try and relax, do a little reading, etc.
I’m going to try and use evenings to work on cutting through email and dealing with some social media.
It’s not easy to balance everything, and this is just what I’m going to try. I know that something has to be done, though, because the frustration from business is not helping with anything in life right now. I’ve found that getting back to basics and really focusing on a plan helps.
Even if you find, after a few days, that your plan isn’t working, you now know what doesn’t work — and can go back to the drawing board and figure out something that does.
Ask and you shall receive.
I happen to believe that’s true, and chances are, you want to believe it, too. Let me tell you, though, God has a sense of humor. Ask for what you want and you’ll get it, but it may not be what you’re expecting.
I’ve been scarce the past few weeks because we have had major work done on our house. It has challenged me on so many levels. I never thought I’d learn so much from the experience. I’ll be honest, I hoped I’d be able to pop out some short, peppy motivating post from it… but what it taught me is not nearly so pretty.
When you create your own business, you have to face fear. It takes facing and conquering your fear to strike out on your own. I’ve prided myself on being pretty brave (and yeah, I’ve even been a little high and mighty about it). But this renovation left me quaking in ways I never expected.
First, it was expensive. It had to be done… removing the wallpaper from our living room revealed plaster riddled with holes. It was bad, and more than we could take on. We had to hire someone, and now that it’s done, it looks amazing. But it was really, really expensive.
We also had a lot of other bills come due around the same time: outside lessons for the kids, CSA dues, etc.
Fear found me. I won’t even lie, it’s still not gone. With fear comes feeling inadequate, like I’m not doing enough.
So I’ve asked for abundance. I’ve asked for wisdom in business. And facing this fear of all these bills all at once has certainly brought me to my knees wondering, why, when I ask for abundance, when we’re committed to being free of personal debt, are all of these things coming at once? Why doesn’t my business seem to be keeping up with it?
What Fear Taught Me
But the fear that came brought in with it reflection (I was, in fact, blessed – it didn’t bring paralysis). My first instinct was to run out and buy a course that would teach me how to “make X dollars in Y hours.”
Then I started reflecting on me… and thinking. I have other fears. Fears of scaling. My business is solid. It makes money. It needs to scale up, though. I can’t do it all. But I’m scared. Terrified. How can I let somebody else handle something?
So I’m scared – scared of stepping out and growing my business. I still view money with a fear mindset. I’m also scared of disapproval. It has taken a lot to let go of that in business, and I still face it for some choices (like outsourcing). I’m scared of disapproval for choices in my personal life. I’m working through those fears, doing what I know is right despite what others think.
So I asked for abundance, and I got slammed into a situation where I got to face my ugly, ugly fears. What about you? When you ask for something, what is life giving you?
I believe it’s giving me a chance to give up. To say life is pushing me around and I’m not going to try and push up and over. It’s throwing in a Dip (a la Seth Godin) and the question is… do you push through the Dip and up to success, or do you quit and whine?
It’s all true with patience, too. Do you ask for patience? If you don’t, wait until you have kids
But this experience has taken so much patience. Every time I ask for patience, I get a huge situation to deal with that requires patience. It’s as if God is sitting up there laughing that he gave me a “trial by fire.”
I’ve had to deal with a lot of different people and a lot of situations over the past few weeks. Patience has been required to a huge degree.
But it brought with it other things. I’m an introvert, but I had to speak up. I had to be authoritative. I had to call, push, and make things happen. I had to serve as a middle-man, too (which I really hate), to communicate my husband’s wishes to the contractors.
Do you have experiences like this in your life? Somebody who really makes your blood boil? How did you handle it? Do you take it for the opportunity to improve yourself? Or do you simply whine (or yell) about the person?
I realized I needed to use it to improve my ability to handle stressful situations, and to deal with people in a calm manner.
By The Way
If you’ve got kids, let me give you a tip. Handle situations that come up with them right away. Don’t let it fester. You don’t want to be a bad parent. You don’t want to upset your kids. But it will be a lot worse 15 minutes from now when you’re really ticked off… or maybe 2 hours from now. Take care of it, now.
But that really applies to everything in your life, right? There are some things you can let sit. But generally, you should take care of situations when they arrive.
Get over yourself. Get over your fears. Ramp up the patience. Do what you need to do — right now — in your family, in your business, in your life.
And remember, ask and you will receive. Just be careful what you wish for. You may be surprised with what you get.
A glance at the calendar for the coming weeks highlighted St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching. When I was a kid I loved St. Paddy’s day — to me it meant getting to wear green and see little shamrocks everywhere. But as I looked over the calendar this year I thought about how we’re supposed to focus on “luck.” Is it really just luck that gets us where we want to be?
It’s actually surprising how many people seem to think that others who have more than them, or who have what they want, got “lucky.”
It’s Not Luck
Let me be completely blunt here. It’s not luck. People don’t get money because they’re lucky. They don’t make it big in business because they’re lucky. They don’t have a great body because they’re lucky. They don’t have a great marriage because they’re lucky.
People get those things because they work at it.
One my sites is in the pregnancy/childbirth niche. I have had great pregnancies and births and encourage other women… I get a lot of people tell me I’m “lucky” to have had fantastic births with my kids.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
There’s no “luck” in it. I’ve worked — every day, for nine months (and even before conception) — to have those great birth experiences.
It Takes Willingness to Work and Be Persistent
Success takes hard work and diligence. There are other factors, too… honesty is a big one.
But don’t worry about luck when you’re building your business, choosing your niche, etc. You don’t have to have “the luck of the Irish” — you make your own success, and you make your own luck. Dress up in green all you want on St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy it. But don’t expect a lucky break to come your way.
Buckle down, decide on a plan of action, and stick with it. If it doesn’t work, fail (and fail fast) and move on to something else. Something will work, and you will find your success. Success comes from hard, diligent work. Are you willing to put in the time?
Photo by somewhereintheworldtoday
A lot of writing. That’s what I do. In fact, a lot might be an understatement. Some people think that writer’s block doesn’t happen to me because I write so much, but that’s not true. I often find it challenging to write.
In fact, it’s often really challenging to write something that’s, well, challenging. I’m talking about writing a sales letter. Writing a contest entry. Writing yet another article in a niche I feel like I’ve written an encyclopedia about already.
I have a lot of different solutions for writer’s block, but today I’m going to talk about writing that you find hard because it intimdates you. For instance, I don’t have trouble with article marketing articles in the same way I do a sales letter.
A sales letter is scary. This is a sale on the line. It could be the difference between getting my product into someone’s hands who really needs it… and having them pass by a great product because my letter, er, sucked.
A guest post is scary. A contest entry is scary. All of these things get more scrutiny than an article marketing article – than even an article on your blog. The rejection stings a little more. Maybe it pinches your wallet a bit more. So they’re harder.
Cracking the Block
Here’s my secret. I tell myself I just need to write the first draft.
That’s it. It doesn’t really matter how much it sucks. I’m the only one that’s going to see it!
I know that after I write that out, get that initial draft down on paper, I will be able to go back and make changes. I can craft it and hone it into something that I’m reasonably pleased with. The most intimidating part is getting that first draft down.
Then I have raw material to work with. Words are like a sculpture that can be finely honed into something you’re proud of, something to show off.
But it starts at the beginning. Just sit down and write the first draft. Nobody else will ever see it. Then you have something to work with, something to work on.
Pound Those Keys
I tell myself, as I sit down to get that first draft out, that I need to just do it. Sometimes it literally feels like I have to pain-stakingly chisel out every word… they don’t come easily. In those cases, I remind myself something I learned from Site Build It! when I created my very first website. Ken Evoy, author of the guide, related a scene from Finding Forrester, where the advice given is to “pound the keys.”
So in the words of Sean Connery’s character and Dr. Ken… “pound those keys, dawg!”
Photo by matryosha