Welcome to the first edition of The Essence!
Since you’re reading this, if I had to guess, you’re a writer. You might be taking the craft as just a hoppy or a side hustle. Or you might be a professional writer who’s already making big bucks from your writing business. But are you a six-figure writer yet?
I’m not. I’ve gone pro not so long ago, and I’m pretty far from catching the six-figure writing dream. A question that popped in my head from the get-go was how feasible the six-figure writing dream really is? Is it truly as easy as many of those bloggers tell us? Or they’re just trying to sell us their courses?
Since I’m not a six-figure writer, and you’re probably not—if you are, give us some tips!—we can’t answer. We can only get the best answer from a true honest six-figure writer, such as Ayodeji Awosika.
Ayo is a top Medium writer with an impressive following of over 84,000. He once wrote this piece on his blog, Ayo the Writer, where he presented the “secrets” to make $10,000 per month from writing. Consistently.
The short answer to the $10,000 question is yes. It is very feasible. There are thousands of writers already making much more. The real question is, however, what and how long does it take?
The Real Reason Why Most Aspiring Writers Fail
Well-known blogger Jon Morrow said that it takes anywhere from 4—6 years to simply have enough writing skill and business acumen to earn six figures as a writer.
The first gem Ayo dropped in his post was that most aspiring writers fail because they refuse to become marketers. They think that they can write about turtlers, their ridiculous childhood stories, and get paid a dollar per word for that.
Without actively promoting yourself and writing for a targeted audience, you will never earn six-figures writing.
Dang. That was harsh. But it’s true. Successful writers are successful marketers. They know how to sell their words and make their words more valuable than most other writers’ words. They understand human nature: people’s deepest fears and desires. They know what people want and need to read.
Fifty Shades of Grey, although it has bad prose—according to Ayo, I have neither read nor watched the thing, but it seems terrible enough—is quite successful. Why? Ayo’s answer should be enough:
“Because writing isn’t about the words themselves. It’s about the underlying concepts and emotions framed by those words.”
My simple methods for studying marketing:
Study successful headlines and highly popular ads such as The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches ad.
Read marketing and copywriting books such as Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and The Boron Letters.
The better marketer one writer becomes the better writer he becomes and the more money he makes. Take this as a rule.
After studying marketing, develop your marketing skills and apply what you’ve learned. Here are a couple of ideas that can help you:
Create an email list opt-in freebie
Build an email list through social media promotion and start nurturing the list
Outreach and network
Marketing helps you understand that you’re not writing for yourself, but an audience. It helps you see your writing as a product.
Practice beats talent
There’s no doubt about it. It took Ayo five years to consider his writing as good.
Though, as Ayo wrote, writing a blog post isn’t practice. Actual practice is writing a blog post while trying to execute a new technique. For example, trying to write better headings. Ayo explained that he keeps trying a new technique until that technique becomes second nature for him. Then move on to a new one. We should try to do the same.
Ayo’s steps to become a six-figure writer
Write 3—5 articles per week for 90 days
From 90 days to 12 months: Iterate
Begin to make major moves
The last step is where you begin to expand your writing business. Whether through working on your first book or your first digital product, or any other way. In Ayodeji’s case, he published his first book ten months after his first blog post online, making over $6,000.
After your first year writing online, get creative and start crawling to the six-figure income writing dream.
How Fast Can You Type?
I’m a pretty slow writer, at editing too. I used to write around 500 words per hour. But now, I can get almost 1,000 words per hour. But I can’t even imagine being able to write 4,000 words per hour, as David Majister claimed to do in his article. I know you’re lying David, you only added an extra 0 to 400. I was faster than you even when I was a complete beginner.
David mentioned Einstein’s quote in his article:
“The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art.”
Then, he went on to write:
“To write fast is to get better acquainted with the mystery of your subconscious mind and discover the treasure it has to offer.”
Majister mentioned how bestselling novelist Ray Bradbury wrote his bestselling novel on a timer! Bradbury sat in front of a typewriter in the basement of UCLA’s Powell Library. With a book to write and a family to feed. The typewriter had a money slot and a timer. One dime = 30 minutes of typing. Bradbury was literary writing for dear life; every second counted.
It’s no surprise that within only nine days, and in 49 hours, he finished the manuscript. It cost him $9.80 in dimes.
Although David only shed light on the typing speed, I’m coming with another angle. Bradbury’s story reminds me of an Instagram post I came across a long while ago.
The post looked something like this:
Despite the absurdness of the question, there’s still something to learn. Just like with Bradbury’s story, when squeezed, we’ll almost always find a way to make it. When you fill a balloon with water, and you squeeze it, it will explode, and the water will find its way out. That’s why many people are working four hours a day more productive than others who work eight hours a day. Squeezing the workday into a few hours forced many people to cut the crap and work smarter, making every minute count.
In Bradbury’s story, it was his writing speed. The dire situation he was in pushed him to the edge of his limits.
I wonder how he looked like wrestling with the typewriter. “Bang! boom, bang, tack, tack!”
The stress and the broke writer’s nightmare seemed to have worked quite well for him. He even became an advocate for fast writing:
“In quickness is truth. The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effect for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth dead falling or trigger-trapping.”
Simple steps to write faster:
I won’t lie; writing fast is fun. And effective. It also makes writing feel more causal, which readers love. It pushes your limits, removes your extra filters. It makes you feel freer while writing, jumping from thought to thought, from experience to experience. It makes writing feel more like what writing truly is—art.
David Majister mentioned his steps to write at a radical 4,000 words per hour writing speed:
Full screenwriting app, such as Calmly
Setting a timer for 11 minutes (I set it for 45—50 minutes)
Pour your thoughts into the page
Remember, if you want to catch the six-figure writing dream, you must learn marketing first. Write almost daily for years, and actively practice by trying new techniques. Finally, get creative and use your business skills to start making the big bucks.
Thanks for reading,