It’s easy to view yourself as an ‘expert’ once everyone else does. You get asked to speak on certain topics, requested for input into articles, and invited to sit on panels – for me that’s being a copywriter, a content coach, a marketing coach. You could be forgiven for thinking to yourself: I’ve got this. I reckon I know my stuff – (finally!).
And then suddenly you realise a couple years have gone by and you haven’t really done much ‘professional development’ or learnt anything super new in your specific field of expertise. Or along the way you’ve diversified, and the thing you’re known for is only one small string to your now blossoming bow.
That’s when #copycon18 came into my field of vision. Great timing and just the ticket to reignite my copywriter’s soul.
Christopher is muscular and tanned but lithe, like most of the men around here. They work, physically, for most of the day, every day of the week. His hair is long and dark, tousled and unkempt, and his eyes are dark but dancing. He has that relaxed way of wearing a shirt with the top few buttons undone and the sleeves rolled up, exposing strong forearms and a brown chest, that is suggestive, but not on purpose. He swaggers gently, meaningfully, and takes his time to construct his sentences, tasting every word in his mouth, ensuring they’re the right ones. The words finally fire out at warp speed, defying the calm countenance from which they emit.
He then sees us, shrugs to his friend, and says: “G’day, are you guys from Australia? I’m from Brisbane.”
You see Christopher made a choice. A very distinct, clear choice to live his life a certain way.
Book writing is a big deal. It’s no simple undertaking. The first question I get asked when someone is considering using my help for their book writing project is ‘how many words should my book contain?’
My answer is always: ‘How long is a piece of string…?’
No, really…how long is it?
I know that doesn’t help you AT ALL, and sounds like the kind of smartypants answer that would have gotten me in trouble at the dinner table, but it’s true. Your book needs to contain as many words as it takes to cover off your topic properly, without repetition and without gaping holes in the knowledge.
I get asked the ‘how many words’ question almost immediately people engage with me about writing their book. And it’s normal to wonder. I get it. Because a book writing project is a big thing. There are a LOT more words in a book than in anything else you’ve probably ever written (unless you were one of those crazy smart people who sat down and wrote a PhD.!) And the prospect of writing a whole heap of words can be daunting. It’s time-consuming, you’re wondering whether you actually know ‘enough’ and you’re hoping like heck that I’m not going to charge you for editing ‘by the word count’!
It’s just as frustrating for me as it is for you that there is no perfect answer to this million dollar book writing question.
So, will you settle for some guidelines for your book writing word length?
The irony is not lost on me that I’m currently drinking detox tea whilst eating a chocolate (admittedly, it’s homemade and has a high content of cacao, but still…). But sometimes that’s life and it’s also business, right? Sometimes things are just topsy turvey or not quite as expected or a real clash of ideas and effort. But guess what? It doesn’t matter one little bit. I’ve stopped worrying about this stuff now. I’ve stopped trying to be perfect in my life, my parenting, my business. Because God knows it was killing me trying.
I do however, always strive to be my best at what I attempt and to give my all to whatever I’m doing, but sometimes life deals you broken arms (my son’s second in 4 months), absent partners (my husband is overseas for his second 3-month stint in 7 months), accident-prone pets (my cat had his second trip to the vet in 2 weeks – first a broken toe, now a laceration to his belly), or cloudy brains (I just can’t quite get mine into full-on work mode when it’s so warm). And that’s ok. As long as you roll with it, don’t act like a victim, and learn to alter your course a little to adapt. (I did a short video about this yesterday, with some ideas on how to adapt)
Why am I telling you this?
At an event I spoke at recently, a question was asked of me: “Does content matter?”
Hells yeah it matters! With a caveat…
Content for content’s sake is garbage and a waste of time. Content that is purely self-serving and sales-oriented is also icky. But content that adds value, educates, enlightens, inspires, motivates, challenges, raises awareness, absolutely fricken matters. And that’s what we should all be aiming to create. Content with an impact.
I was thrilled to be part of the inaugural Sorrento Writer’s Group Author Event on Saturday. The event provided the chance for local authors to exhibit their wares and to connect with each other and their community, as well as for the Sorrento Writer’s group to let people in on what they’re about.
The opportunity to exhibit came to me at the 11th hour; I’m not a part of the Sorrento Writer’s Group nor do I reside on the pointy end of the Peninsula where most of the publicity was being focused. Happily though, it was by helping one of the members of my Facebook group (The Content Couch) with her table set up for the event that I became aware that this could also be a useful place for me to be.
I get this question (or rather, exasperated statement!) about content creation all the time.
“I can’t write!”
“How am I supposed to do all this content creation everyone expects when I HATE writing!?”
I’m one of those people you probably love to hate, because I love writing. I always have. Ever since I could pick up a crayon I have loved writing.
My essays won me competitions in school. My unsolicited articles secured me paid travel-writing gigs. My copywriting skills got me promotion. And my succinct wit has won me a number of 25 words or less competitions (my husband is still waiting for me to win a car or something more useful than hairtongs though…)
Yessiree, I am madly in love with the written word. It’s my favorite way to create content for my business.
However, I know for a fact that my love is not shared by all. In fact, I know for sure that some entrepreneurs actually hate writing. They may not even be bad at it, regardless, they hate it. And that’s cool.
I’m going to bust a myth that plagues the marketing world … that:
great content creators = great writers. Continue reading
You may or may not know that I ran away to the circus last week. I was accompanied by my daughter, who just happens to be an aerial student, but it was really me who ran away….
You see I always fantasised about joining the circus, enjoying the life of a traveller, with the smell of the greasepaint and the buzz-like-no-other of performing to a thrilled audience in raptures. But there was no circus school nearby when I was little, and my parents were middle-class professionals – they weren’t exactly going to seek one out to satisfy my whimsy. I did ballet and jazz and musical theatre and that was enough. It was wonderful, if a little controlled and contained.
But I always loved the circus. And then I forgot that.
I forgot that incredible thrill that the big top offers…until I saw Cirque du Soleil when I was in my late 20s. I remembered how intensely terrifying it is to watch the tightrope walkers and high flyers on the trapeze, I remembered the squeamish marvelling at the contortionists, I remembered the childish joy of the clowns. The feelings surfaced again, those feelings of freedom and unadulterated joy that I had when I was so small. So when Miss 9 was asked to join the performance troupe with her circus school, there was no hesitation. Living vicariously may have to be enough.
The first performance trip with the troupe was to The Lismore Show last week. Three days, nine performances and a whole lot of fun and craziness in between. Obviously I was there to support the kids but interestingly I learnt some things from the coaches and support crew that I didn’t expect. Things that can directly be applied to the world of business.