The Writer’s Journal

A writer’s journal helps me keep connected and focused on being a writer and all that entails

At the start of the year I began some self-examination of who I am and what I do. Not so much a New Years’ Revolution, but an assessment of 2016, what this year could be, and a look at some of the feelings I have around being a writer. One of the things I have picked up through this process is the Writer’s Journal. This is helping me focus on what I find important in writing, reminding me to be a writer, and keeping me aware of when I am falling back into the traps I set up for myself as a writer in the past year or two.

I am not a journaling kind of person. I don’t have piles of notebooks full of my innermost thoughts and feelings. I have been told time and again that I should, but it just isn’t me. Strange, considering that I like to write so much anyway.

During the first week of January when I was looking at ways to write, to consistently write, to BE a writer, one of the suggested items was a Writer’s Journal. This was not a journal where I pour out my feelings and thoughts and demons and stuff. This was a journal where I talk about myself as a writer. That might not sound like a huge distinction, but for me, I am okay being a writer, I am okay with telling people I am a writer, and all the trials and turmoils, highs and celebrations of being so. Hence, having a personal journal about being a writer was a little stretch, but still within my comfort zone. Or rather, it was just outside my comfort zone enough that if I got scared I could come back at any time. Read more »

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You need more than a free hour of your time to land clients

Getting new clients can be difficult. Competition is so tight that you need to find a way to give a new client something which shows them how awesome you are, but won’t cost too much for them. Classic Sales Funnel techniques, where you offer a little bit, and then a bit more, all the way to the bottom of the funnel where they get massive value for the biggest bang for their buck. It’s that first step into the funnel which you need to think about things.

I have heard many businesses offering a free one-hour consult, or a free catch up to see if what they offer is what you need. For me, I call this the ‘Free Measure and Quote’. It should not be seen as something magical and fantastic that you’re offering. This free consult? It should not be THE THING which gets a new client on board. You really need to be giving this free meeting as standard for anyone, and have something different, something unique to you, which grabs the attention of a potential new client.

So, if the ‘free measure and quote’ is going to be complimentary and a part of the standard sales funnel, what can you do to wow your new leads? Read more »

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Why Subscription is the best business model for you

Do you have a monthly subscription to a g ymHow many services have you subscribed to? A gym, Netflix, an online course, magazine or newspaper? The list goes on. How much d id you use that subscription when you first got it compared to now, after a few months, or years of having that subscription? How long have you ‘subscribed’ to your current internet provider, just paying the bills month after month for their service? How much money are you giving to service providers without much thought? This is why I love subscriptions.

I am a little cynical to subscriptions where you’re paying for something which is never changing, and is just the same.  Often you’re paying a lot of money to get the chance to use something, but it is up to you to use it. I often tell my students how I love the subscription model.

I ask my students who here has a gym subscription?

Hands go up. I then ask, who has not been to the gym in the past month. Some hands remain up. And yet you still pay for the subscription? “I’ve been busy” is often a response I get. And yes, fine, you’ve been busy. The gym doesn’t care. The gym still gets your money, and they’re quite happy with that. Read more »

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Self-sabotage – 3 ways you can help yourself to keep going

Every person I know has the potential to do awesome things. Every person you know has the same potential. It is not that difficult to do really good things, to create fantastic stuff for the world. The biggest thing standing in our way are ourselves. Self-sabotage is the biggest hurdle every creative person faces when it comes to creating good art. I am learning that the excuses are simply that- excuses, which should be ignored, put away, stomped on, and I just need to get on with it.

Let me set up my most magnificent example of self-sabotage. Back in 2012 I self-published my first novel – The Girl From Out of Town. A rollicking Steampunk adventure, featuring a Royal Refugee from another dimension, and a bored office worker from Accounts. Adventures, gun fights, swordplay, skyships and dragons! How awesome!

It is now 2017 and I am having to be threatened, pushed kicking and screaming, to work through the edits to try and get book 2 published by the end of March. A book whose first draft was finished at the beginning of 2014. And, Book 3? Only 2/3 of the way finished. Why am I not writing and publishing books! It is what I have told people I want to do! Read more »

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4 Reasons Why Hand Writing Your Plan is Best

Hand writing a Plan can give you a stronger emotional tie to your plan, much like a journal

If you want to succeed in life, in the big things in life, you need a plan. Easy enough to say, right? If you also want to succeed in the smallest things in life, having a plan is a good idea too. And I have discovered the best way to have a plan, to create a plan, is by writing it down, making it with your hands, and not a computer. Go old school, take your time, so you feel more invested in the plan.

I will be honest with you. I am not one for plans. I am not good at making them, and I am not good at using them. I know the process of creating a content plan for others, I even have a worksheet I make my clients fill in for me – http://www.matthewfarmer.com.au/linkedin-products/download-resources/. And yet, for me, I haven’t been able to plan things out. Why is this?

While I could say it has to do with the creative side of myself, the need to be spontaneous. However, looking harder at myself, there is this gap of confidence in what I do as a business. I don’t know how long I will be able to keep up the freelancing lifestyle. If I plan to do all these things, what happens if clients drop off? What was that famous quote? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Good old Benjamin Franklin And strangely enough, he is true, in a sense. While I am not failing, I am certainly not rocketing to the heights of success… yet. Read more »

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Showing my Author some Respect.

I am a writer, a Professional Writer. I produce written content for a variety of clients, to be used in a variety of media- blogs, newsletters, websites, articles, social media and so on. I am fortunate to be able to claim a modest income from a skill which I am very good at, doing something I love to do- write. However, during the quiet time in the first week of January, a question formed in my mind- what about me as a writer, as an author? What am I doing about that?

The question then resolved into – how do I show respect to my writer self? More importantly to my creative, Author self. See, I compete in Nanowrimo every year, and have completed, or won, 14 years in a row. A huge accomplishment, and yet I only have one novel published, for sale, and that was back in 2012. What have I done since? Why haven’t I published book ?

I say more importantly, because I see my Professional Writing Self and my Author self as two distinct entities, and I don’t think I have been showing either of them the right amount of respect. But what exactly do I mean by this? Read more »

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2017 – My Year in Review

This time of year we are winding up, finishing work or getting excited for Festivus. It is a chance to look back on the year, see what great things you’ve done, and acknowledge and celebrate them. How do you measure your success for the year? Followers? Dollars? Food in the belly?

My year had differing goals to them. In 2015 I wanted to begin a one-to-many model of delivery, run workshops and educate. This sort of came true for me, as I was appointed as a trainer with Swinburne University of Technology. I was given the chance to teach young people about marketing, communication, social media and the like. What I thought it would be like, and what it actually was like, were not entirely congruent. Read more »

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When you want it bad enough, you will find a way.

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-2Isn’t it funny how, if we want something strongly enough, we will make it happen? November is always a fun month for me. No matter what is going on around me in life, this is the month where I participate in the National Novel Writing Month, the crazy event where participants write 50 000 words in 30 days. I am the most productive with my creative writing during this one month, than I am in the rest of the year.

This is my 15th year competing. I have completed this challenge for the past 14 years in a row, and I am a stubborn person, so gosh darn it I am going to do it again. As I write this, I sit close to 30 000 words. The story is going along well. There are conflicts, gun fights, murders to solve, aliens to frame for it. You know, all the usual stuff. Read more »

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Language Warning

photo-1431207446535-a9296cf995b1I love words. They have such power, can impart such meaning upon people. They can illicit hallucinations in your mind, imagining what it is you just read. Words can convince you to buy, to sell, to do things you would not normally do. They can make you happy, and angry, and often it is the same words which will do that to you.

Words are free. It’s how you use them that may cost you.” –Kushand Wizdom

I attended a conference this past week, the 8 Percent Festival, a place for creative entrepreneurs. I may have slightly misunderstood those two words, as I am a creative person, a writer, who is soon to be writing a creative novel. And as a sole trader with many ideas, I figured that got me a guest pass into the entrepreneur spot. However, I think it meant entrepreneurs, who have creative ideas and want to utalise that to make loads of money.

It was a good couple of days, and there was some workshops where we talked about gamification of education, and how I can bring games into the classroom to get my students engaged. But what was one of the best parts of the event, was when I got into a conversation about words.

The person I spoke with was an NLP practitioner, and uses words and voice to influence a person’s thinking and their mindset. I use words in the written form to do the same thing. For example, when you read the title, did you think- I wonder if he is going to use swear words?! How controversial, I must read more! Read more »

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Want to understand SEO and Target Markets? Watch Family Feud

survey-saysTrying to understand keywords, SEO Copywriting and target markets can sometimes be confusing. What words do I use to connect? What do they want to know from me? If someone wants to search for item X, what words do I need to attract them to that item?

A friend of mine, Mischa from Melbourne Fire and Safety  came up with an amazing metaphor for this problem. When it comes to SEO Copywriting, and target words to use for a question, there is no better example than… Family Feud.

Each round they ask one hundred people a question, and the top responses are displayed on the board for the contestant to guess. Top 8 responses from the 100 people asked. Read more »

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