Tag Archives: copywriting

Writing Journal 63: How to Be a Better Writer

Writing Journal 63: How to be a Better Writer

My writing journal for Tuesday, October 14, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another busy day today ahead. Lots to do, including a couple of meetings this afternoon. AND I need to work on my new website. To add to the mayhem, I received a “help!” message from a regular client. He needs some copywriting done in a hurry.

As always, I start the day writing fiction. I managed to complete a couple of scenes on the mystery novel, for 2,800 words. Lots of “junk” in there — working things out on the page.

Let’s talk about thinking on the page for a moment.

Think on the page: it helps you to become a better writer

I’m always telling my writing students: “you’re a BETTER writer than you think you are; and — you’re over-thinking this.” Then I advise them to think on the page, because not only will they get started writing and keep going, they’ll also get fresh inspiration.

Big tip: inspiration happens while you’re writing.

So, in ALL my writing, whether I’m writing an advertising spiel, a blog post, or a novel, I think on the page. This means that I end up with lots of what I call “junk”. It’s the equivalent of paper notes which you ball up and toss over your shoulder when you’re done.

I include the junk in the first draft — before anyone else sees the material — because I’ve found that thoughts lead to inspirations. Many times I’ve been stymied on a project, and the answer turns out to be in the thinking on the page I did earlier in the draft.

Try thinking on the page as you write. It works.

I’ve scheduled a writing session on the nonfiction books for tonight — that’s left a little room in my schedule.

On to email. I fix Honey’s breakfast, then my own, while getting through our email as quickly as possible.

Next, my walk. We had some storms yesterday, and more are promised for later today. It poured down last night; lots of lightning and thunder. After all the rain, it’s a fine morning, a little chilly. Walking through the park, I noticed that the rain sank right into the ground. It’s been a dry month.

Work on my new website/ blog

Back again, to work on my new website and blog. I doubt that I’ll be able to launch it this week. I’ve lots left to do, and write. Not to worry. It’s done when it’s done.

Then it’s time for my meetings. I’ll have lunch while I’m out.

Back again. It’s later than I hoped it would be, but that can’t be helped. Meetings always seem to run longer than you expect.

I need to get on with my rush copywriting job.

A rush sales page and email messages for my client who’s in crisis

Luckily, it’s straightforward. The client wants a sale page, as well as a couple of emails to send out to his list.

By the time I’ve completed a draft of all the material for his review, it’s very late. I send it off with a sigh of relief.

Before I forget, I need to add my meetings’ notes to Evernote, and schedule some tasks which eventuated. Both meetings were about holiday sales. Everyone will be busy from now, until after the sales wind down in the middle of January.

Great. :-) I loved being busy.

So, time for my daily review. I’ll be working on the nonfiction books tonight.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 42: Show Your Expertise In an Ebook

Writing Journal 42: Show Your Expertise In an Ebook

My writing journal for Tuesday, September 23, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

The end is in sight for the novella. I wrote 1,200 words, setting up the major scene which I mentioned yesterday.

So, I’m ready to write the scene. However, since I’m way ahead of the schedule on this book I decided to spend some extra time on the nonfiction book proposal which I’m creating for a client’s memoir. I made good headway on the overview, so Julia’s sending that off to the client for her input.

It must be spring, because Honey’s outside. She didn’t want to come in this morning; she’s enjoying the warmer weather. I’ve got to call her in and make her breakfast.

I read email while I’m eating my toast. We’re almost all caught up with email, because I did a heavy push on it last night. Several students sent me their stories; I’ve got just two left on which I need to provide feedback.

Next, work with my new coaching client.

Showing your expertise in an ebook

I’m working with a new coaching and ghostwriting client who’s starting her own business. She’s got wonderful expertise in her profession, so I suggested that she capitalize on that.

Firstly, we’re setting up a website for her, essentially so that she can collect email addresses of prospects. At the same time, we’re developing a couple of ebooks. One she’ll use as an inducement to sign up for her mailing list. The other, we’ll publish on Kindle Direct Publishing; this will help her to show her expertise. If it happens to make a little money, that will be fine too. :-)

A year ago, I would have suggested that she build out her website into an authority site to get traffic. However, the online world has changed. Yes, you still need all the SEO you can manage. But it’s hard to get search engine traffic for a brand new website, no matter how large and authoritative it might be, so we’re going to skip that for at least a year.

My client needs the ebooks, and social media, AND partnerships to get traction.

I love working with people who are good at what they do; helping them to provide value for others. Our first step will be to work out exactly what she’s offering, and how she’ll brand her new business.

It’s time for my walk. I won’t be able to walk tomorrow, because I have a couple of meetings, so I need to go today.

I’m back from my walk, and spend some time updating my schedule for this week and next. Then I have lunch while browsing social media.

After lunch, I get on with the company history book, using the cluster diagrams I created yesterday. I manage to do 2,000 words on this. Excellent.

The new blog launch

In our meeting yesterday, we discussed the company’s branding, and their new blog. I’ve got to do a proposal and scope. This means a lot of research.

Research tip: only do as much as you need to do.  Start by deciding exactly what you need to know, and create some research questions to answer.

After spending a couple of hours on it, I need a short break. I decide walk to the park with Honey so that I can get some fresh air, and think.

It’s late afternoon; time to I catch up on email and phone calls. I’ll try to work on a couple of short stories tonight; I need to keep up with them so I can get them published in October.

I complete my daily review, count my words, and I’m done for another day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 39: Copywriting Workshops

Writing Journal 39: Copywriting Workshops

My writing journal for Saturday, September 20, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Back to normal this morning; I start off the writing day with the novella. I manage two scenes: 2,500 words.

Next week, I’ll begin a new ghostwriting project: a book proposal for a memoir. I’ve already done several interviews with the client, so I have lots of material. In preparation for starting on the memoir, I spend a couple of timer sessions reading through what I have, and developing cluster diagrams.

Time for Honey’s breakfast. Her arthritis is still bothering her, but she’s enjoying the warmer weather.

I eat my toast while reading email, which is light this morning. I need to get to the backlog of student emails, but I can’t see myself getting to it until tomorrow. It’s Saturday, so it’s a short writing day, and I can’t do it tonight, because I have a couple of student coaching calls.

I’m still loving the bullet journaling process BTW. I love the way you can just dump everything into it, and that you can see what you did, what you didn’t do, what you need to remember, and what you changed your mind about.

There’s lots of info on bullet journaling on the Web; I’ll need to do a blog post about them.

Next, blogging.

But before that, I need to mention that October’s copywriting workshop is fully booked. A couple of people missed out, so my apologies. We haven’t promoted it at all, so I was surprised that it filled so quickly. However, you can book for November.

Leap into Copywriting: October workshop is full

Our October copywriting workshop, which starts on September 29, is full. The next copywriting workshop starts on November 3. It will be the final copywriting workshop for the year.

I haven’t settled the dates yet for the NaNoWriMo workshop. I’ll need to get moving on that.

Blogging and SEO: write content to meet your goals

A blog coaching client asked me about blogging and SEO. In a nutshell: write content to meet your goals, and help your audience, add the appropriate meta data, and promote it as much as you can. Do link outreach. Integrate content with your marketing, and your website. Strive to do more with the content you have.

Next, I do some work on the company history; just 1,200 words, but that’s OK.

Time for lunch, then my Saturday commitments. I hope I get back in time to do a little work before I need to prepare for the coaching calls.

Student coaching

I’m back, just in time to prepare for the coaching calls.

The calls are fun for me, as always. I still need to send the students a quick memo on the plans I developed for them, plus their MP3 recordings. I’ll do that tomorrow.

I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had a chance to do more with the Christmas short stories, so I create a quick outline and cluster for another story.

And that’s it for the day. My review is done, word counts are done. Another writing day is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 38: More On Bullet Journal

Writing Journal 38: More On Bullet Journal

My writing journal for Friday, September 19, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

A complicated morning. I managed to complete the nonfiction book edits; that’s now ready to go off to the client. I need to complete the rush copywriting job; that will take a while. I make a good start on it.

Time for Honey’s breakfast, and my own. I read email while I eat my toast, and have a couple of extra-strong coffees. All the student feedback will need to wait until tomorrow. I have a meeting late this afternoon. It will take several hours, so I won’t be able to write tonight. Julia can handle the general email enquiries.

A quick walk, and then it’s back to copywriting. I’ve promised the client that he’ll get it today, and he will. :-)

iOS 8 seems to have downloaded itself to my devices, so there’s short diversion while I get them updated. I’ve been so busy the past week that I haven’t had a chance to check what’s new in this iOS. I’ve heard that you can now copy straight into Evernote, which is good.

Love the bullet journal system

As you may know, I procrastinate, if I allow it. After just a day of using the bullet journal system, I’ve managed to complete two tasks which have been hanging fire for a couple of weeks. There’s something about seeing something written on paper which inspires a “must do this NOW” feeling. No idea why that is, but it’s working for me.

Ryder Carroll, the creator of bullet journal, is currently running a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign was fully funded within eight hours. And yes, I’m a backer. Not only do I like the bullet journal, I’m also a big fan of Leuchtturm1917. So Ryan’s new “unlimited” funding tier appealed to me.

More writing on the copywriting project. It’s moving right along, so I’ll get it done after lunch.

Ghostwriting: the company history

I manage 2,200 words on that; I’ll need to do more over the weekend. Julia’s scheduled more chats with the client for next week. Let’s hope we can keep up the momentum. That’s always a challenge when you’re ghostwriting — you need the information to keep flowing, so you can keep writing.

And it’s time for lunch. Today, we’re having our usual Friday lunch out. Hummingbird cake, here I come. :-)

Back again, and on with the client’s copywriting project. Finally, it’s done. Julia will proof it, and send it off to the client.

Back to the novella

I feel odd writing fiction in the afternoon. To me, it’s an early-morning activity. I get into it, and a manage 1,800 words, which is good. I need to outline the next couple of scenes, so that I can start work on them tomorrow morning.

That’s it for today. I’ve done my daily review, and totted up my word counts. A meeting tonight, and the week is done too.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 36: Journals and Story Journals

Writing Journal 36: Journals and Story Journals

My writing journal for Wednesday, September 17, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another slow start this morning. Late yesterday a copywriting client called and asked for a rush job. He needs some marketing materials by the end of his week. He’s bought out another company’s inventory. The new stock is a change of direction for him.

So before I could get on with the novella, and the nonfiction book edit, I needed to rearrange some of this week’s projects to make room for this new copywriting project. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of wiggle room, which means that I’ll be working late.

With that done, it’s onward with the novella. Yesterday’s brainstorming means that I’ve got a firm grasp of the story and the characters, so things should go more smoothly. They do; I manage 2,700 words.

A couple of readers have asked me about journals.

Journals and story journals

I have two kinds of journals, this journal, which is an expurgated version of my daily journal (a work diary, if you like), and project journals.

Journals are invaluable because they keep you writing. I handwrite my daily journal, three times a day. Always before I start writing, then after lunch (sometimes before lunch) and again after the writing day is done.

People keep journals for many different reasons. My reasons:

  • My journals clear my mind; they keep me focused on my writing tasks;
  • They help me to both capture and work out ideas;
  • They get any emotional stuff out of the way so I can focus on words.

Focus is especially vital when you’re writing fiction; a novel, or as I’m writing currently, a series of novellas.

Over the years, I’ve ditched several novels because I lost their emotional thread. Anytime you take time off from fiction, you take a risk that you’ll lose your inspiration.

Keeping a story journal helps: you can talk to yourself on the page. Mystery author Sue Grafton often talks about her book journals.

Journaling is a form of pre-writing, and it helps my productivity. Whenever I get “too busy” to journal, I end up writing less.

I don’t have time for the nonfiction ebook edits this morning; I’ve slated them for tonight.

Time for Honey’s breakfast. Then I eat my own, while dealing with email.

Next, some phone calls, and then onward with the company history. I manage to write 2,400 words; it’s going well.

I’m tempted to eat at my computer, but that would be stupid. I didn’t go for a walk this morning, and I need a break. It’s a lovely day, so I go for a quick walk, then come back and have lunch.

The two presentations are almost done. It takes another two timer sessions, then they’re ready for Julia to check.

More email and phone calls, and then it’s back to the company history book, so that I can read over what I have, and make some notes for tomorrow.

Research for the rush copywriting job

I called the client, to get some phone numbers. I need to do a couple of quick research interviews. I manage to catch both people in their office, with time to chat. That’s wonderful; it means that I can get most of the material I need.

My Livescribe Echo is perfect for these kinds of interviews, because I don’t need to record the entire conversation, just important parts.

The time slips away. Before know it, the day’s done. I do my daily review, and total my word counts. I’ll need to work on the nonfiction book edits later tonight.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 30: Fiction Tips Series

Writing Journal 30: Fiction Tips Series

My writing journal for Thursday, September 11, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Started the day writing fiction and nonfiction. This is my default. I like to get the most creative forms of writing out of the way before the day really starts. I managed 1,800 words on the novella, and 2,800 of nonfiction.

Last night, I spent a couple of hours catching up with student email, and then created the first set of questions for the company history ghostwriting project. Julia set up a time for me to chat to my primary contact later today. So I’ll start on the project tomorrow.

It’s time for Honey’s breakfast. She’s been a lot livelier the past couple of days because the weather’s warming up. Then my own breakfast, while catching up with today’s email.

And it’s time for my walk… The sun’s shining, all is well with the world. :-)

Fiction tips: backstory

Back again, and it’s time to create some more draft posts for my own blogs, and for clients’ blogs. I’m writing some tips posts on the Just Write a Book Blog for writers who are doing NaNoWriMo in November. Wonderful as NaNoWriMo is for writers, it can be dispiriting when a writer ends up with 50,000 words and tries to edit them into coherence.

Apropos of that, we’ll have a NaNoWriMo Preparation Workshop in October. A little planning goes a long way toward ensuring that your output in November builds a great novel.

The first fiction tip, on backstory in fiction has just been published.

I spent a couple of timer sessions creating draft posts, and checked the blogs for older posts which should be revised. I’ve got a mass of older posts on the freelance writing blog. That blog is over eight years old. I love blogging, but keeping up with a blog’s archive as the years go on is a real challenge.

Next, it’s time for the first chat with my ghostwriting client for whom I’m writing a company history. We talk for almost an hour. I like to keep interviews to half an hour; it’s easier for clients. However, we covered lots of ground. I’ve got enough now to outline the history, and draft the first chapter. I’m glad I called in at the library yesterday for background material.

Lunchtime. I’ve got a meeting this afternoon, so I’ll grab a quick sandwich in a coffee shop. I need to brainstorm some material, and I think better when I’m out of the office.

Writing Web content

I’m back; it’s mid-afternoon. I need to keep going on the Web content for the new product-launch website, so I can get the draft done today.

Done! Julia can proof it and send it off to the client for his review. I’m glad that’s out of the way.

The pitch presentation’s almost done. I add a couple more slides, and that can go off for a client review too.

I’d love to write another “Christmas” short story, but I can do that tonight. For now, I need to read over my notes from the long interview this morning, and start on an outline. Biographical ghostwriting projects always take longer than you’d think, because it’s hard to know how information you’ll need, and then you have lots of questions which only the client can answer.

Rats, a headache. I hate taking any kind of medication. I’ll take a break now, and play with Honey in the garden. Fresh air always helps.

I’m back. It’s time to prepare tomorrow’s schedule and review the day’s output. Today’s word counts are very good, and that’s the end of another working day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.