How I worked to become the best at writing

Being the best at what you do means that you do something you can be the best at. This means you drop working on things that you cannot or don't want to be the best at.

What does it take to be the best? Commitment. Commit to time. Commit the energy. Commit to focus.

You can't be the best at everything. Honing your time and energy into what you want to be good at can be the difference between success and failure.

By doing too many things, I was unable to spend any time on one thing. I made elaborate yearly goals like 3 hours a week learning German, read 2 books per week, or being able to do pull ups. These are all completely separate goals. And while it can work to a certain extent, spreading yourself too thin means you don't go anywhere.

Doing too many things also means that you give up on what you start when something new comes along. To name a few, I started: hand lettering, piano, other blogs, guitar, journaling, and so on.

If you get a chance, listen to JK Rowling talk about it. She says failure stripped away the unnecessary things in life and let her work on her talent: writing.

This year, outside of fitness, all my goals focused on writing. Blogging three times per week, becoming a contributor, volunteering, writing a book, and expanding business offerings all built toward improving my writing skills.

By completing these goals, I gained depth to my skill set instead of breadth.

Celebrate wins when getting people to use your services, even if it's pro bono

I started on my goal of writing more with a pro bono opportunity. I started writing blogs for AMA about their chapter, services, and events. While I was excited to be writing, I didn't always give myself an "Atta girl." After all, writing isn't that hard right? And it was for free, so it can't be that valuable?

I was wrong and here's why: I met amazing people and got a chance doing something I enjoy, even if no one ever reads it. It feels good to get use out of your skills, which AMA let me do. Some of my posts include:

By doing this, I put in extra time and effort which allowed me to feel more comfortable pitching paid work.

Leverage pro bono and bono writing to gain personal clients

Not all writing is the same and I wanted to get a variety of writing styles underneath my marketing belt. So I wrote for websites, blogs, and social media. I even had a chance to co-write a thought leadership white paper at HPE, showing me how different writing can be.

I turned this into a paid opportunity and created a blog on social media plugins for Wordpress. Wordpress site creation and social media familiarity made this writing type a more natural step.

Set goals around what you want to build

At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to be a contributor. I wasn't sure for who, although I did a lot of research into different content engines like Buzzfeed. I didn't land on anything in particular, but I still set a goal of contributing.

Through Facebook groups, like Being Boss, I found my first opportunity to write a featured piece on failure (coming at the end of the month!). I knew that my goal setting allowed me to get to the point where someone asked me to create content for them.

Create new offerings using your skills

After thinking about what customers needed, I decided that an e-book would be the best use of my time. It would also let me work on writing in long format.

However, writing an e-course/e-book is not an easy layup. It takes time and patience. By working toward this goal, I started to gain the ability to be more patient and set milestone goals. I built skills around the skill, which will help me on future projects.

How do you do all these things?

  • You need to want it. I spend my time outside of work writing or reading. Outside of training, I am doing those two things. My TV time and time surfing the internet has gone way down to help me reach these goals.

  • You need to work for it. Reading and writing go hand in hand, so make sure you're doing both. Anything worth doing takes time, so create the rigor around your processes to make sure you don't give up.

  • You need to own it. I went to an event and didn't even pitch people my own business. The client I worked with was giving me a lot of love, but I didn't follow through. To keep getting better and getting clients, shout what your value is out loud. Then people will be able to hear you.

What are you working toward? PS. If you want a shorter inspirational video, here's another favorite speech from Sylvester Stallone as Rocky.