writing

3 Questions To Ask When Your Writing Mojo Fails

By Sian Yewdall

Hands up who’s ever felt the powerful energy of a blog post writing it self?

When real motivation strikes, magic happens. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you can feel the vaults of inspiration surge from your toes to your nose. The words start flowing. It’s electric and your fingers can’t keep up with your mind as they dance over the keyboard.

Then…Boom! You’re done. It’s the best work you’ve ever produced and you walk away feeling like a sassy combination of Beyonce and Jane Austen because your work was just so darn good.

Slayed it!

But what happens motivation fails?

You know those days when you write simply to put words on a page to produce something and your mind has already left the laptop to prepare dinner, write a mental draft of tomorrow’s social media posts, and strategize your next free resource to boost your mailing list?

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve had many days when I’ll only do what’s necessary in order to get it off my to-do list and not infuse my words with the empowering energy they require.

Then, even when I know the article is less than stellar, somehow I still expect my tribe to fawn all over my post with gushing comments, just because I typed up a few notes and emailed them a personal message with a link to the article like I was the Queen gracing them with my presence.

Now, don’t mistake me, I’m not advocating perfectionism. But I do believe often as writers, bloggers, small business owners and Oprah-style entrepreneur enthusiasts, we feel compelled to write and produce content because it’s what the ‘rules’ say.

Yes, we’re well aware that consistent, valuable, entertaining and sharable content is gold. We know what makes the blogging online world go round.

But have you stopped to ask yourself what you really need in order to guide your next step and connect with that magical mojo again, or are you just putting one foot in front of the other because you fear being left behind?

If at some level you’re feeling a heart-driven pull to slow down on content creation to conjure up that magical writing mojo, here are three questions to ask yourself:

1.    Am I OK?
Does the sensation of sitting down at your laptop send a cold shiver down your spine? Are you tired? Exhausted? Drained? Frustrated? Is there a weight on your shoulders that you’ve not yet acknowledged?

Stop for a moment and ask yourself, ‘Am I ok? How do I really feel?’  Take a few deep breaths and give yourself permission to connect with your heart to find out what’s really going on for you underneath it all. Perhaps your lack of motivation goes deeper than not having a good blog post idea to latch on to?

2. Am I still on purpose?
If the word purpose doesn’t sit comfortably with you, then change this question to, ‘Am I still having fun? Am I happy with what I do generally? Does it still bring me joy?’

In order to reconnect to your motivation the original desire and purpose of why you do what you do needs to exist. If you left the 9 to 5 hustle to experience more fun and freedom as your own boss, or blogging is your creative outlet, does the intention behind your decision still hold true?

If at your core, you are still captivated by your service, then it sounds like you just need time out. If not, you may have hit on something deeper. Are you ready to acknowledge it and let go?

3. What can I do now to honour this feeling?
In an email I received from a Life Coach, she admitted she had returned after entire month off. No social media. No newsletters. No pre-scheduled articles. No connection with her tribe at all. She realised one day she hadn’t taken a significant break from her business in nine years and her heart and soul was calling her to step away. So she did.

The point being, she obviously loved herself enough to feel in to her heart, ask herself what she needed and then honoured the realisation by making it happen.

If she didn’t disconnect and gain space then the only person she would be letting down was her self. Her tribe, because they love her, completely bowed at her awesomeness and cheered, ‘Hell yes! Go you!’

Your tribe is your tribe because they love you. They will support you if you’re open, honest and transparent about why you need to do what you do, and if they don’t understand, then I’d question whether the relationship was a genuine heart-driven one in the first place.

In a world of constant connection and other people’s motivated energy coming through in your news feed, it can be very easy to believe you need to keep going at optimum pace everyday to maintain the hustle and strive to be a success.

But I like to think of the Hare and the Tortoise. You’ll get there in the end if you run your own race with love, honour and grace.

Sian Yewdall is the Founder of  The Woman Rising Network , a space dedicated to providing online workshops to help you cultivate your best life offline. 

She lives in Townsville, Queensland with her partner and two children, is addicted to dark chocolate and Netflix. Connect with her on Instagram via @WomanRisingHQ or @SianYewdall

Discovering Your Niche – a Freelancers Journey

By Tori Schaulis

Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a writer. While other girls my age were playing with dolls or putting on make-up, I was busy creating my own newspaper publication and writing stories to share with my family and friends. Years later I’m still writing, but I had no idea something I enjoyed so much would lead me on a great journey of self discovery, eventually opening a door to a professional career.

Soon after I graduated college I found myself mopping floors and rolling waffle cones at a local ice cream shop, wondering if my “real” job search would ever end. I was discouraged, to say the least, after spending hours applying to jobs, writing cover letters and tweaking my resume. The ending came six months later when I landed a job in Waco, TX (of all places) working for a little construction and design firm, called Magnolia. Chip and Joanna’s Fixer Upper phenomenon began as a small dream – a dream that needed a voice and language that would resonate with its growing following.

As I learned about the vision behind this couple and their business, I started writing, both for Joanna and her brand, Magnolia. I loved the challenge of getting in her head, putting words to her style and preferences and creating language that best represented her vision; it was thrilling to me. I started to come alive as I realized that something I enjoyed so much could be developed as a skill to help someone else and become a profitable business. It wasn’t until a co-worker suggested ghost writing could be my niche that I thought about pursuing the interest further.

With a year or two of experience ghosting writing for Joanna under my belt, I launched my own freelance writing business. Although it sounded daunting at first, I started slowly and let go of any expectations that I had to reach a certain point within a certain timeframe in order to be successful. For all you creatives out there – decide early on that your success as a creative professional is not dependent on how many clients you have or how many visitors you attract to your website. Starting a business is a process; you’re not going to build a client base overnight.  

At the beginning I spent a lot of my time building relationships with other creatives and entrepreneurs in my city. I also enlisted the help of some talented friends who offered to create graphics, take photos and help me build a website. Start networking with people now – you never know what kind of connections you will need in the future! The relationships I built early on became invaluable resources to me and eventually led to landing my first few clients.  

If there’s one encouragement I can leave you with, it’s to commit to the discovery process of learning about yourself – your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, stressors and refreshers.

Start making space for things you enjoy and feel refreshed by. Don’t be afraid to try something new and start connecting with other local professionals in your field. I feel as though I’ve discovered more of what I was made to do and be through this journey of discovery and I’ve never regretted the choice to risk. It was in the intersection of my strengths, things I enjoy and skills I could use to help others that I found my niche as a freelance writer.

My hope is that you commit to the process, take risks and eventually find your niche too.

And above all else, take courage, be brave, dear friend – you were made to come alive. 

Tori is a freelance writer who considers herself a creative entrepreneur and modern day pioneer. She loves telling stories, reading books that make her think and discussing the latest tips and trends. She believes words are powerful, and if used for good, are one of the most beautiful ways humans can express themselves. Beginnings are her favorite and she loves helping others communicate their vision and values by putting words on paper and into practice. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram or on her website.

Ready to learn how to market your biz like a boss? Our Digital Bravery Ecourse is open for enrolment now!

It’s ok NOT to invite people on your journey

By Monica Miller

In a recent blog post, I wrote about what lessons I’ve learned from working part time as I manage my own business. Today, I am going to tell you yet another lesson I have learned while I am on this daunting journey of self-discovery and growth by working part time:

I have learned that it is ok to leave people behind as you’re on your journey.

It’s ok NOT to invite people on your journey with you.

A lot of people were not MEANT to be on your journey.

Don’t feel bad when you leave them behind.

You might be wondering what prompted me to think about such a thing. Let me tell you a little story about me and my journey thus far:

You see, for over a year, I was spoiled by not working a part time job and I was able to focus on my business. My husband and I were blessed that I could do this for a year before I had to break down and get a job.

During this time, I networked heavily. I was surrounded by entrepreneurs and professionals ALL THE TIME. I loved it! These people had great vibes, good energy and completely understood me. Every time I went networking, I came home refreshed, revitalized, and energized!

When I began looking for a job, which by the way (and no judging here!) was in the restaurant business as a hostess. I chose this particular position because I knew it was an easy hire and I had been a hostess before when I was in college. I also chose a restaurant that is only open for breakfast and lunch; so no nights for me. Which is something I wanted because I still networked and had obligations at night that I couldn’t give up.

The first month was very rough for me and the reason why it was so difficult for me was because I realized that these people were NOT professionals! And that made me so mad! I would get so upset because these adults were not acting professionally, they were controlling, and most of all, they didn’t care (neither did management)!

Since I had been spoiled with professionalism and people who were constantly expanding themselves, I found myself realizing that most of these people were wanting to stay servers and not go out and further themselves. For me, that was a horrible experience! How could anyone not want to get out of this place and gain a better life?!

So what changed within me? Because you know my external surroundings were not going to change!

The biggest change was the realization that not everyone is invited to partake in my journey.

It’s not that I’m being mean or snobby, but I’m a high achiever who wants to screw any job and do what I want when I want; I want to be my own boss and I want WAY more than two weeks of vacation per year!

Once I came to the realization, my whole attitude changed. I still don’t like working part-time, but I know it’s a seasonal position and it’s what I need to build my empire for this time of my life.

Realizing that my journey and their journey is in two different lanes is completely OK with me now. I can’t invite everyone on my journey because not everyone has the same dream as me. Maybe their dream is to make ends meet by serving. That’s okay. My dream isn’t that and that’s ok too.

I am going to make this statement right now because I have found this true in my life: You may not be able to invite your family or close friends with you either. Your family may not understand the time and energy it takes to build an empire. Your best friend may be horrified that you work 60+ hours a week just to maintain afloat. It’s okay. Be okay with that.

I know it’s tough to not invite your family or even best friend on your journey, but it doesn’t mean they will always be like that. Perhaps one day they will understand and be part of your journey.

Next time you feel bogged down by people who don’t understand you, then remember that not everyone is invited on your journey and that is 100% ok and guilt free. Not everyone was cut out to be an entrepreneur (if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?).

So who do you invite on your journey?

You invite the people who have the same vision as you; you select the few individuals who are in your life who says, “I can see you doing that” or “You will make it! Keep going!” I would also encourage you to select the people who have the same mindset as you; if you’re an entrepreneur, then select entrepreneurs to be welcomed on your journey. These people will be your light in your darkness and your traction when you’re stuck in mud. That’s who you want on your journey. Invite other empire makers who want to see you succeed in building yours.

As we walk into a brand new year, who can you select today to be welcomed on your journey? How can you show them that you have officially invited them to board the Go-Getter Train? The Bigger-Than-Life-Dreams Train? It’s going to depart one day and they will either be on it or not; how can you let them know you want them on board, ready to rock and roll with you?

Monica Miller is a Book Writing Coach and Writer who helps women transform lives one word at a time through book writing and story sharing. She has been writing professionally for more than eight years and has one published book with two more in the making. Monica loves helping women find their confidence to adopt and write their books as they go through their writing journey. She believes that no writer should be left alone while on their journey so she comes along side them to get their book from their heads and onto paper quicker and easier! Monica enjoys spending time with her husband, Nathan, and their two dogs, Casey and Bella. She also loves hugging her cat, Sassy, and enjoys coloring, tanning beside a body of water and traveling.

The Ghost Behind The Keyboard

By Rochelle Holdsworth

We all know ghostwriting has been around for centuries. Some of the most famous authors have used the services of the mysterious ‘ghostwriter’.

Whether it was to save time and money, or because they believe two heads are better than one, they all chose to outsource their content to a professional writer.

In today’s PR savvy world it’s not surprising that ghost blogging is on the rise. Heck, I’ve managed to start a whole business around it.

What is a ghost blogger? A ghost blogger is a passionate, skilled writer who takes the hassle out of maintaining a blog and writes content that is professionally edited and SEO ready. They always remain anonymous and write under the name of the business or organisation that employed them.

Today we’re faced with an emotional economy where building relationships with your target market and sharing information outweighs the traditional sales focused hard sell. We live in an age where if you need to know something, you Google it and an online presence is essential.

Business commentators used to be divided about the need for a blog, but finally it seems that blogging has become common practice in the business world. It has proved itself as a successful platform to share and connect with your audience, demonstrate knowledge, build credibility and assist with your website’s SEO.

Unfortunately, not all businesses have the resources or skills to write their own blog posts. Time is a precious commodity and businesses are outsourcing more than ever.

Outsourcing blog posts is a no-brainer. Blogging is time consuming, especially if you’re not a professional writer. My business, Ghostblogger, was launched at the beginning of this year and as a ghost blogger I work closely with my clients to develop content that is engaging and personalised to their business or industry. I consider myself part of their team.

I won’t ignore the critics who argue that like ghostwriting, ghost blogging is unethical. They say that it’s dishonest and misleading. In my opinion, it’s no different to the speechwriters or media trainers who work with high profile personalities every day to massage their image and get them ‘public ready’. A ghost blogger is merely delivering a message in a more professional way. I never write for personal blogs or try to pass myself off as an individual. I work with businesses and organisations that are involved through the entire process.

It’s true. I don’t get any credit for my writing. However, I’m not in this for the fame. I don’t need to see my name in neon lights to feel a greater sense of accomplishment. I get to do what I love on a daily basis and write on a variety of topics that I would previously have never written on. I get to pick and choose my clients and write for people who are passionate about their work. I love this gig and it’s exciting, challenging and always interesting. 

Rochelle is a professional ghost blogger. She started her business ‘Ghostblogger’ in early 2015, combining her passion for writing, marketing and research. Although her business is still young, she's witnessing a rise in the demand for ghost bloggers and is excited to see what the future holds. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration!

The anatomy of a kick-ass about page

By Celeste Mitchell

If you think of the pages on your blog or business website being like the squares of a Monopoly board, your about page would be Mayfair.

So valuable is this piece of virtual real estate, people will come trampling through like it’s a never-ending open house whether you invited them in or not. They’re intrigued! They’re curious! They want to see if the curtains match the drapes, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Is your about page filled with the scent of freshly-baked cookies and beautiful blooms, or does it feel like the worst house on the best street? (Great in real estate land, not so great when it’s your biz and the street is full of your competitors.)

Remember, you’ve got approximately 3 seconds to seduce your Mr or Mrs Right (customer) before they jump ship to the instant gratification of another shiny domain. They’re instinctively going to head to your about page, and when they get there, what they see:

  • Needs to be clear
  • Needs to hook them in
  • Needs to answer questions
  • Needs to have an element of surprise

There are a few key elements that make up a truly memorable about page and how you play with them is entirely up to you. Read: The more you can tweak the page to show off your true personality, the better!

How are you faring in these five areas?

The hook

There’s a clever little tool in writing you’re going to need to get to know intimately, if you don’t already.

It’s called the hook.

It’s your angle. Your “bingo!”. Your “aha” moment. Your “slap me down and call me Suzy, this person really gets me” statement.

And the writers who produce the most memorable work are masters of the hook.

It’s all about infusing the theme of your message with the emotion that will reach right into the belly of your readers, make them spit out their muesli and pay attention to what you’ve got to say.

It takes in the worldview and assumptions of your reader and challenges them with a new idea.

Hit them right between the eyes with a powerful intro statement or heading to your about page that does exactly that. Surprise them, shock them, and most of all… become a master of intrigue through words.

Colourful language

Only when you start to write in your natural voice will you attract the people that think, ‘f**k yeah, this person really gets me’.

Nobody ever made a lasting impression by thinking, ‘I hope I sound professional’. Be bold in your language choices and work hard to ensure you don’t sound like everyone else.

Go through your copy with a big red pen and underline any words or sentences that feel too generic or cliched. If you think you’ve heard it all before, so will your readers, which means you’re not capturing their attention (refer back to the hook and try again)!

Photography & design

You may be a word nerd through and through but if your about page doesn’t look pretty (or work well on mobile) it’s going to be pretty easy for potential customers and clients to left swipe your ass outta there.

Invest in design. Use subheadings to break up chunks of text. And for the love of WordPress, do not publish your page without a photo that shows the world who you are (eye contact and smile, people!).

As a very wise friend of mine once said, you wouldn’t buy anything from a shopkeeper if you walked in and they were wearing a paper bag on their head, so don’t be shy. Show your fine self!

The personal touch

Don’t be afraid to stamp your personality on the page, but don’t feel you have to tell the world your ENTIRE life story, either.

Think back to your connectors, to your audience and don’t get too caught up. They want to know your story but they also want to be able to relate.

Give them just enough of what they need to know about you, but ultimately keep the page all about them (uh huh, that’s right… this page is all about THEM).

If you’re still champing at the bit to tell more of your story, why not write a blog post called ‘10 things you never knew about me’ or tell your story in an emotion-fuelled post like this one?

Or can you reveal your backstory with heart on another platform (like Cara’s Instagram post)?

Call to action

Once you’re satisfied your copy is alluring, interesting, informative and tells your customers everything they need to know, you’re ready to rock!

Think about what call to action you want to include on the page? What’s your priority?

Is it...

  • Directing people to your services page so they can book to work with you?
  • Asking them to contact you to make a booking?
  • Getting them to sign up to your email updates?
  • Sending them onto the blog posts you’re most proud of so they can immerse themselves in your brand?

Don’t overwhelm your customers with multiple links – keep it clean and simple so your about page can perform at its best.

Before you publish your kick-ass new copy…

Use this checklist to BYO (be-your-own) editor:

[   ] Are you using your natural voice? Is it in an easy-to-read and understand, conversational flow?

(PS. Your copy should be able to be understood by an eight-year-old who has no idea about you and your biz.)

[   ] Have you started with an impactful heading, designed to capture your readers and speak directly to them?

[   ] Are you using ‘you’ focused language (especially in your first paragraphs)?

[   ] Have you clearly explained what your biz does, who you (or your company) are and why your potential customers/clients should trust you?

[   ] Have you added your own quirky vibe with stylistic embellishments, slang words, pop culture references and a rocket-full of fun? Do they know who you really are?

[   ] Have you used subheadings and dot points to break up heavy chunks of copy? If so, are they attention grabbing or a bit stale?

[   ] Does it all fit within 200-300 words? If not, does it feel too long OR how can you provide some of the bottom part on another page or behind a hidden tab?

[   ] Have you spell-checked manually twice and asked someone else to check it for you? Even the world’s best editors make mistakes!

Celeste Mitchell is a whip-smart wordslinger & business pimp for entrepreneurs and brands who want to take their online presence from boring to badass.

As a journalist, former magazine editor and the founder of The Devil Wears Flip Flops she’s obsessed with flipping clichéd copy on its head and writing words that will make you sit up and pay attention.

When she’s not figuring out how to use the word ‘mofo’ in a sentence, you’ll find her gallivanting around the world writing stories for Escape, Australian Traveller and Renegade Collective and dishing out advice on writing with personality at thedevilwearsflipflops.com.

She created the DIY word-kit, YOU in Words, for anyone who’s ever struggled to write about themselves and is looking for the blueprint to create a kick-ass about page and bio for their biz (without dropping another couple of grand!).

Photo Credit: Krista Eppelstun