My writing journal for Monday, October 6, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.
I received an email message from a client last night for a rush copywriting job. Of course, I agreed, especially since he’s offered me a bonus. Today’s a public holiday in Australia. Work on my day off? Sure.
Since I managed to get out of bed at my usual time of 5AM, unlike yesterday, I spent the first couple of timer sessions brainstorming a concept for the client’s project. Nothing jumped at me. That’s what I expected. I need to do some research first.
When I’m developing a copywriting project, I aim for the “click” — the AHA moment of inspiration. I start by brainstorming, then I do some research. Then more brainstorming, and by this time I should have been hit by the lightning of inspiration.
Not to worry, I’ll do some research later. Firstly, time for Honey’s breakfast and my own. She’s a lot livelier because of the warmer weather. I skimmed through the email messages; Julia can deal with most of them. I’ll catch up with email tonight.
Today will be a hot day again, so I’m going for my walk early.
Back again. The earlier overcast has burned off, and the day’s warming up. Very few people are up and around, just people mowing lawns, and dog walkers.
I jump right into some research for the copywriting project. Then more brainstorming. Finally, I do a few cluster diagrams, and it’s time for lunch.
Planning your creative small business
Let’s talk about creativity, and business. I get email messages every week, from writers who want to write something or other. They know they want to write, but have no idea what. It’s a real challenge. They think they might like to do copywriting, or write Kindle ebooks, or write content for the Web…
In essence, they want to sell their creativity. Once they decide that yes, that’s what they want to do, they can start thinking and planning. You know that I’m big on planning — and it’s not because plans work. They don’t.
To repeat: YOUR PLANS WON’T WORK.
I used to tell people to create a plan, and they’d come back to me saying that they didn’t know how to do that. That’s OK. You don’t need to know anything, you just need to plan. As Eisenhower reportedly said:
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
Your plan is useless, but essential. Plans never, ever work the way you think they will. They just get you moving. Your real battle is against inertia. If you’re taking action, you’ll get feedback, and you can refine things as you go. Without a plan, you won’t act.
Once I’ve convinced students that they don’t just “want to write”, they want to run a creative small business, and they need a PLAN (any plan, their best guess as to what might work), they can focus on two things — writing what they’ll be selling, and selling it (the business.)
Creativity and business: you need to sell your creations
My mantra has always been “create and promote”, which is shorthand for “creative small business.”
“Create and promote” tells you what to do every day.
It’s useful to think of yourself as two distinct personalities: creative you, and business you. Creative you writes the words. Business you — a separate personality — handles everything to do with business.
It’s a tough sell getting this across to students. Creative people really don’t want to have anything to do with business. I know it, because I used to be the same way. Way back in the 1980s, I had a literary agent. We parted ways, for various reasons. I still thought I needed an agent. So I got another one, and another one. Finally I gave up on agents. I realized that I could run my business myself.
Today, it’s EASY to run a business. You can hire any help you need.
So, if you want to write, consider that you’ll be running a creative small business. What will your business sell? Where and how will you sell it?
By the way, check out: Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits, for help in creating a creative business which works.
Completing the rush copywriting job
After lunch, I still had no “click.” So I gave up. I turned on Spotify, cleared my mind of thoughts, and doodled for a while.
It worked. I got an idea, and wrote some headlines. Within an hour, I’d written a couple of Web pages. I tidied them up, and sent the draft to the client.
If at first you don’t succeed, give up
If you’re looking for a way around a creative block, try this. Work intensely for a couple of hours, then stop. Give up. Go for a walk. If you’ve still got nothing, clear your mind. Play some music. Doodle. Relax as much as you can.
You’ll get something. You may get a full-blown plot, or just a character if you’re writing fiction. If you’re writing nonfiction, you may get a new sense of direction. You’ll get something.
Onward with blogging
It’s a public holiday, so I’m finishing early. I polished up a couple of clients’ blog posts, and scheduled them. I did my review, and I’m done for the day.
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