Tania Angelis, is one of the most prolific content creators I've ever come across. She's built a highly engaged, active Facebook community by delivering daily value to her subscribers inboxes.
In awe of her focus and output, I invited her to share some of her wisdom.
I have developed a bit of a reputation for blogging excellence by those who've read my articles. And I'm very flattered and happily embarrassed in that way that makes you smile and duck your head at the same time.
For those who don't yet know me I'm a money mindset mentor which is a fancy way of saying that I help women entrepreneurs lose their fears and blocks around money by using a combination of business coaching and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/Tapping).
So when Laura asked me to do a guest article for her readers I was delighted. And scared. You see I'd be writing for a whole new audience of people who don't know me and who might not like what I have to say or how I say it.
And so I did what all delighted and scared people do.
Which is ironic because the purpose of the article to help people to overcome their procrastination tendencies when it comes to blogging. Ah well, just goes to show I'm human eh?
So here goes with my 5 tips.
Some of them are around mindset and others are purely practical how-to's (don't know about you but whenever I'm faced with something new that I don't understand, my first question is always “But, how do you….fill in the blank”).
You have lots to say AND people want to hear it.
One of the reasons people put off writing articles is because they have this false belief that goes something like this:
I don't have anything of importance to say. Lots of other people have said this too, so why do I need to add my two penn'orth to it? I'm not an expert in this matter. I don't have certificates about this or letters after my name, so why would they listen to me?
My answer to this? Well I use the words of the wonderful Marianne Williamson from her beautiful prayer in answer to the same question:
Who am I to be talented, fabulous, gorgeous? Actually, who are you not to be?
It takes an enormous amount of courage to start putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, which is where Tapping comes into its own. You can use tapping to help you let go of the false belief that you have nothing important to say.
Set a timer.
When you have something to do that makes you uncomfortable, like writing your blog article, set yourself a timer to get the job done. You see the key to writing your blog articles is to, um, well, write them. As my mentor Peter Thomson likes to say, that's what writers do: they write.
So the value of setting a timer is that it gives you a deadline to reach. And it brings out the slightly competitive side of you (can I really write a whole article in just 20 minutes?).
The other thing a timer does is it helps you see just how often you distract yourself with other things. Because once that timer is counting down in the background suddenly checking Facebook or Twitter can wait. As can that research on where to find the latest best seller at the cheapest price.
Which brings me nicely to #3:
Read a lot.
The more you read, the better you become as a writer. The more writing styles and genres that you expose yourself to the better you can craft your writing.
It takes time to find your ‘voice' as a writer. And as you go along you'll find yourself mimicking other people for a while (in the nicest possible way) but from that will come the real, authentic you.
You see, the value in what you have to say is not necessarily what you say, but how you say it. I realised that this morning as I was walking the dogs and thinking about the book I'm currently reading called Hero by Rhonda Byrne. Yes the same lady who created The Secret book and film.
In her book, I realised that much of the material I have read hundreds of times before – but this is the first time that I've heard her take on it. And that's the value in what you have to say too – it's your take on it that people are interested in (otherwise they wouldn't be signed up to your list or visiting your blog).
Write as much as needs to be said.
Unless you're a journalist with a fixed number of words to write, write whatever needs to be written. My blog articles are generally around 1-1.5 sides of A4 (this one's a little longer because of the content of it).
So ignore the ‘perceived wisdom' that you should write short articles “because people don't have time to read long articles”. B******t
If it's interesting, people will read it from beginning to end. There's a reason that Tolstoy's War and Peace is synonymous with taking a long time to do something. It's because it's such a grand and sweeping story that it needed every one of those words to tell it.
The exception to this? When you're writing for 18-24 year olds. They have the online attention span of a gnat but that's the topic for another day.
And finally #5
Ask for help from the universe before you write.
Every time I sit down to write an article, record a video or meditation, or even publish a Facebook post, I always take a moment or two to quiet my mind and say a simple prayer: help me to say what needs to be said today.
Until I heard the late, great Wayne Dyer talk about his writing process in I Can See Clearly Now (his autobiography and a remarkable lesson in how to market and sell your books) I didn't realise that this is what he did too.
He said that although he had had over 40 books published, he didn't write a single one of them. He just sat down with a pen and a yellow legal pad and allowed the words to flow through him.
The other thing that I do with my articles is that I often sit with them in my heart space for a few days as I get to know the idea, and the essence behind it. Then when I sit to write them, they just flow effortlessly onto the page (have you ever noticed that it's much easier to spell and write the word effortlessly than it is to say it? Ironic really!).
Spellcheck everything. Preview your article on your blog site before you publish it, because I can guarantee you'll spot something you didn't when it was just a word document, or in the admin end of your blog.
Especially look for things like form and from – no spellchecker will pick that error up, but your readers will and it can be off-putting to word nerds (like me).
No really, finally….
Oh and my final tip on writing is this: read the advice given by prolific authors on the writing process.
Stephen King wrote a book all about his writing process called On Writing and it's fabulous. There are also two useful publications you can buy Writers Forum and Writing magazine.
And the most successful novelist in the world is a lady called Nora Roberts who has published over 200 novels. Yes, 200! And all because she and her children got snowed in one winter in 1973…
And that's it…I had to hit publish before Tania wrote anymore. Once she's got that momentum going, there's no stopping her.