Creating New Writing Goals

What’s on the iPod: Noreen by The David Mayfield Parade

It’s been an unusually busy week so far. I don’t have a ton of work right now, but I feel like I’m running to catch up. Small projects are sucking up my time and big projects are demanding more from me. I’ve pulled up my timer app and I’m devoting specific increments to each client. It’s the only way to keep it all from unraveling sometimes.

I’m also trying to push myself into new experiences within my specialty. The big conference I go to just put out a call for presenters. I’m considering it, and considering who I’d present with. I have plenty of ideas, mostly from an outsider’s perspective (which is refreshing sometimes). Plus I’m hired by some of these people to freshen up their marketing and communication. Why not show them how to get better results?

So I’m kicking around the idea of shifting some of my focus to presenting. What will I get out of it? Not money. I’ll get something more valuable — expertise in the eyes of those positioned to hire me. If it works, the money will follow.

It often frustrates me to see good writers stuck in their bubbles. They don’t push at the sides of it — they’re just happy sitting inside where it’s safe and….well, the same. The money doesn’t come in, and they struggle with income goals. A lot. It takes just a little curiosity and a bit more courage to break the bubble and grow in ways that help increase earnings.

Start with creating a new writing goal.

So, what’s this week’s goal for you?

Improve the writing. Suppose you suck at grammar. Don’t laugh — I could name at least four writers I’m familiar with who do suck at it. Get a book. Take a course. Test yourself. Make sure you don’t let those mistakes slip into your writing.

Boost the marketing. It takes nothing to improve your marketing — just contact more clients. If you’re lost, find a good website, blog, or book to help you. Or study with someone whose marketing savvy appeals (you’ll know if you can read their sales page and feel a call to action, not a call for a red pen or a nap). Or if your marketing has stalled, revisit your plan. Look at what others are doing that might work for you.

Break the fourth wall. In television, that’s when the actors turn to the camera and talk to the audience. If you’re used to interacting via email, try picking up the phone. Better yet, meet as many potential clients as you can in person. In other words, put a different perspective on your interactions.

Stretch beyond the borders. You’re an online content writer, but you’ve always been curious about writing marketing pieces for corporates. Or maybe you yearn to be a ghostwriter. Find ways to learn a new side: self-study, mentoring, classes at a local college or on Coursera, or write an article about the area and interview the top people operating in that space. They’re always happy to share knowledge.

When was the last time you pushed yourself into a new area? How often do you challenge yourself to learn a new skill or a new genre?

About the author




  • Devon Ellington July 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    One of my current professors suggested a new area that combines my strengths & Interests with the needs of her colleagues. I'm going to meet with her in fall, and we'll explore it.

  • Cathy Miller July 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I remember the first time I moved into case studies (years ago). Interviewing was not something I had done and was a bit outside my comfort zone.

    I realized that I enjoyed hearing people's stories so asking them about it was not the stretch I thought it was. Now, I love doing case studies. They are one of my favorite things to do.

    I also love public speaking. Did quite a bit in my corporate days, but I haven't figured out my hook for my business writing. I would like to eventually get paid for it.

    Keep us posted on your experience, Lori.

  • Lori July 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Pretty cool, Devon.

    Cathy, not sure of my hook, either. I don't enjoy public speaking, so this would be a big challenge all the way around.

    I like case studies, too. 🙂