Unless you just write for fun, would refuse to ever be paid, and loathe the idea of being published, writing is a business. Like other businesses, most people are good at working IN their business. Having dabbled a bit in writing I know that it is not as easy as most people think. It is in fact very difficult. Writing takes discipline, time, thick skin, and a lot of hard work. When you write, you are working IN your business. When a chef cooks, he is working IN his business. When a clown clowns he is working IN his business.
So what is this business about working ON your business? Most people view their job related activities, in a writers case writing, editing, dreaming up new plots, etc as the most important and main activity, and in a lot of ways those things are paramount. On the other hand, a book well written that never sees the light of day is like one hand clapping (there is something really funny on the tip of my brain to add here but let’s just move on).
When you work ON your business you are getting outside the routine of your work and focusing more on your career than on your job. You are thinking macro about where you want to go and mapping a course and developing strategies to get there. Working ON your business involves things like considering your brand and how you want to develop it (more on this later), making connections and contacts that could serve you well down the road, preparing now to be the keynote speaker at a major writers conference when the largest group you have spoken to was 4 and that was when you made a toast at the last family function (and even botched that up). It is thinking about the business of writing as an opportunity to create other revenue streams. It is thinking less linear about your career path and more expansive.
So start here. What will it look like when you have made it in your mind? What will you wear, what will you know, what will you do, who will you be? What will a typical day look like, a typical week look like, a year…? Will you spend the bulk of your time writing away in a coffee shop or secluded area of your house or will you be waxing eloquent at a posh writers dinner, entertaining editors, speaking at the presidential inauguration, developing other authors, writing screenplays, singing pop songs, etc. Who will you be then? Whatever your target, you need to begin working on it now!
If you plan on speaking but are deathly afraid, join toastmasters and start practicing. If entertaining is important to you, do some research and learn how to entertain. If acting out a role in one of your books would be your dream accomplishment, learn how to act.
Most writers know they will never be successful if they do not put themselves on a specific schedule with benchmark measurements. One writer told me she writes five pages a day and has a routine to make that happen. Working ON your business is also going to require time and effort and is just as important as the IN your business activities. So plan for it. Start by carving out 10-20% or your week for purposeful activities in this regard. Don’t see it as time spent away from your “real’ job but as a vital ingredient to your overall success. Be just as diligent and committed to these activities as to the “core” work and see if over time working on your career does not bear much fruit.
Words are incredibly powerful. With your words you can inspire, educate, empower, convince, and move people to change. You can also discourage, misinform, confuse, and dis-empower people. To be effective, you must have a good command of language. This does not mean that all successful people are highly educated or have big vocabularies. It does mean that they know how to use what language they possess for maximum impact. Whether speaking to a your work team, interacting with your boss, or negotiating a major contract, it is important that you use the spoken word effectively and powerfully.Power Words: Some words have more power than others. This is true in advertising where words like free, sell, new and improved, have been used for years to attract attention. Using language for impact requires knowledge of the power of words as well as a clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. The right word is always better than many not quite right words.Things to avoid include…Over Talking: In many cases “less is more”. When you use the right words you do not have to belabor your point. People become suspicious of the veracity of your claims if you ramble on and on.Overinflated Words: Avoid using big words just to sound smart. “Utilize” and “use” mean the same thing. Why utilize the word utilize when you can just say use?Talking Yourself Out of the Deal: Don’t negotiate against yourself. You need to make sure that you are not your own worst enemy in the negotiation or communication process. In many cases, the person who is most comfortable with silence will win the day.Charged Words: If you use emotionally charged words make sure it is on purpose and with your audience in mind. Otherwise you end up blocking your message and antagonizing your audience.The Power of PositiveWords and phrases that emphasize the positive tend to have a better immediate and long-term impact than words and phrases that are negative in nature. Glass half full people tend to draw people to them and have more influence than those who are always looking for the negative. I said once about a person that for them, “not only was the glass half empty but it was poisoned!” For some it takes practice to fight against their mindset of negativity. Develop the habit of speaking positively and it will pay big dividends.
**Excerpted from the book Real Change Now – Secrets to Becoming a Change Master, Daren Martin, PhD
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