Become A Successful Fitness Writer TODAY — Here’s How

by tffitness on August 6, 2016

tm-pilbox.global.ssl.fastly.netOver the course of my 25+ year career in the fitness industry, I’ve managed to become very successful and respected across the World.

The success I’ve enjoyed isn’t due to the fact that I have an amazing physique (I don’t), or because I’m the smartest coach out there (I’m not) or because I have dozens of famous clients in my stable (I don’t).

Rather, the reason that I’m so well known is due to my written body of work — I’ve penned well over 1500 articles in various print publications and websites, hundreds of blog posts, and a handful of books to boot.

Now mind you, my prominence in the fitness field isn’t solely due to the fact that I know how to write — it also has a lot to do with the fact that I have something worthwhile to share — in other words, I know my stuff and how to teach it to others. That said however, no matter how well you’ve mastered your craft, if you don’t have a tool with which to leverage your knowledge and insights to a wide audience, you’ll toil away in obscurity forever. What a shame, right? You have so much to offer the World, but they’ll never experience it because they’ve never heard of you.

Well let’s get that problem fixed, shall we?

The best starting point when it comes to this subject is to realize that we’re not really trying to become writers as an end unto itself. Rather, writing will simply be one of several possible ways to extend our reach to wider and wider audiences. In other words, coaching is what you do, and writing is how you communicate to prospective (and current) clients or students.

I’m Not A Great Writer — I’m a Great Communicator

Honestly, I’m not a fantastic speller, and my grammar isn’t perfect. I don’t really know what an adverb is, and I never learned how to type. Strangely, I type with my left index finger and my right middle finger — go figure. Despite these shortcomings, I manage to convey my ideas through the written word because I know how to communicate. My point here is to make the point that writing is simply a means to an end for you — it’s just one of several possible tools you can use to reach your target market.

If you really think you’re just hopeless as a writer, then don’t write — simply dictate your thoughts into some type of recording devise and then dictate them later. Or pay someone to dictate your work. This method often results in very readable text, and in fact, one of my personal goals with my writing is that if you read it aloud, it shouldn’t sound like you’re reading. In other words, good writing is usually very “conversational.” That’s why I often use words like “wanna” and “lemme.” Also, I almost always use contractions rather than saying “you are” or “there will” or “we have.” When you write like this, the reader is less apt to feel mental “friction” and will more easily consume what you’ve written.

The Impact Assessment

It’s very instructive to do an 80/20 analysis on your business-activities — in other words, what are the 2-3 things you do on a regular basis that have the most powerful impact on your bottom line? Once you discover them, then figure out ways to do those things more often, and all the other things less often.

When I assessed myself this way, I quickly determined that writing is a high-impact activity for me — a significant chunk of my income comes from writing. That income isn’t restricted to the money I make writing articles and books by themselves — in addition to that, when people read my stuff, they’re becoming acquainted with me, learn to respect and admire me, and often, are persuaded to buy my products and services.

Once I realized how impactful writing really is on my bottom line, I started doing a lot of thought on how I could get myself to write more, and with less effort. After all, despite the benefits, writing is a challenging task. It requires a ton of discipline, creative thinking, concentration, and patience. It’s also risky — after all, what if your new article is poorly received? Even the most successful writers struggle, but it’s a fight worth fighting.

Up next: A VERY powerful habit that will make the pill a lot easier to swallow.

1000 Words A Day

Throughout my ongoing quest for writing tips, tricks, strategies, and shortcuts, the most powerful tool I’ve ever come across came from a marketing guru by the name of Dan Kennedy, who by the way, is an absolutely prolific writer. Dan has written over 40 books and countless articles, blog posts, and newsletters.

At one of Dan’s talks I attended, he told us that his “secret” is writing 1000 words a day, every day, no matter what. He even made the point of telling us that he wrote 1000 words the day his mother died. When I first heard this, the thought of writing 1000 words every single day sounded daunting, but I was super-intrigued by the overall strategy.

So the next day, I wrote my 1000 words — I was off and running. Piece of cake. Another 1000 the second day. And the third. But somewhere around the 4th or 5th day, I failed to hit my goal — I can’t remember exactly why, but I sensed the need to slightly modify the 1000 W/D strategy to make it something I could manage consistently for the long term. After a few weeks of experimentation, I finally settled on the idea of writing 5000 words per week.

By making the goal weekly rather than daily, I could “front load” my work week by writing more than my daily quota for the first 3-4 days, and possibly earn myself a long weekend. And, if something came up on any particular day that preventing me from writing, I’d have the opportunity to make it up later in the week.

(By the way, this article has just reached the 1000-word mark 🙂

In addition to front-loading each work week, I also try to front-load each work day, by hitting my quota as early in the day as possible, while my energy is still high.

Ponder These Numbers

• If you manage to write 5000 words a week, every week, for one full year, that’s 260,000 words a year, which is the equivalent of 4-5 books or 130 full-length articles! Think about how your life might change if you actually did that!

• If you type 40 words a minute (I can do over 50 with two fingers), you can finish 1000 words in only 25 minutes. Ask yourself: if you could write 4-5 books or 130 full-length articles over the next year simply by writing for 25 minutes every weekday, doesn’t that sound worthwhile? Now, yes, of course, you won’t be straight-out typing for 25 minutes — you’ll be starting and stopping while you think of what to say next and so on, but even if it takes you 2 hours every weekday, the payoff is still outrageous!

Reward Yourself For Your Work

Aside from the obvious long-term financial rewards you’ll reap from writing 5000 words per week, you should also provide yourself with immediate rewards for putting in your daily work. The work itself provides one of these immediate rewards: you can now relax guilt-free for the rest of the day, knowing that you’ve “put in your time” on your highest-impact activity. Rest and relaxation is all the sweeter when you’ve “eaten your vegetables” so to speak.

A possible second reward that you might consider is something I’ve been doing for years. I keep a “gratitude list” where I document all the good things that happen in my life. The mind tends to default to the bad events in life, so as a way of maintaining perspective, I proactively keep track of the good things in this list. So every day, I write down how many words I wrote. This sounds like a trivial thing to do, but you’d be surprised how satisfying it is.

Quantify Versus Quality

Now writing 5000 words a week (or if you insist, 1000 a day) is a great way of quantifying your writing output, but what about the quality of your writing? Clearly, there’s no point in writing 5000 words a week if most or all of it is trash. On the other hard, if you’re too tough on yourself regarding quality, you’ll never put in the work over the long haul. My solution: everything I write is intended for publication. I might not have a home for it yet, and I might need to polish it up a bit later, but I’d be at least fairly happy with it if it were published “as is.” So in other words, don’t be excessively hard on yourself, but don’t be lazy either. Find a reasonable middle ground, remembering that you get better and writing by….writing. First, just do it. Then, gradually over time, do it better.

The Performance Model: Rehearsing And Performing

Now one very common hang up — especially for me — is having a topic, or a subject, or an angle, or a pitch — or whatever you wanna call it — for the piece that you’ll be writing. For me, once I’m clear about what I’m writing about, the rest is smooth sailing. So if I think of myself as a professional writer, I try to pattern myself after successful performance artists like singers, actors, or dancers. If you followed Beyonce around for a few weeks, you’d quickly realize that there are two primary facets to her working life: rehearsing, and performing. The former occupies the vast majority of her time, and the latter is where she earns her keep.

I think of writing in a similar way: for me, rehearsing is the time I spend generating topics and angles for my writing projects — this requires far more time than the writing itself. My rehearsal time isn’t formal or obvious. Rather, I try to notice things in the gym — usually things I see people doing that annoy or depress me — or I notice my internal thought processes about my own training. I try to be aware of problems I face (with my own training or with my clients) and the solutions I come up with for those issues. I read a lot, and not just fitness. I look at how other people structure articles, and I look for cross-connections between concepts and strategies in other fields, and my own scope of expertise. When I’m explaining something to a client or watching someone do something at the gym, I’ll often think to myself “hmm, there might be an article in this.”

Then, using Evernote, I’ll add a new file in my “Unfinished Articles” notebook. Then, at a later date, I’ll scan through my unfinished articles, looking for one that I think I can contribute to that day. On any given day, I might add 300 words to one article, 200 to another, and 150 to a third. Eventually, over time, these unfinished articles become finished pieces, and then I start shopping for a home for them.

But Wait – There’s More! 5 Bonus Tips

I hope you’ve found this article useful and perhaps even inspiring. Before I leave you, I’d like to share a handful of helpful tips that have worked really well for me over the years.

• Try to develop an awareness for what times of the day you have the most creativity and mental energy. For me, it’s early mornings. Whenever it is for you, get your words in during that time

• Although I haven’t done this in a while, I used to regularly sign out a study room at my local library. It might sound daunting, but when it just you and your computer in a small empty room, you’ll get more done in an hour than you otherwise would in a day. Set a time limit (I’d suggest between 60-90 minutes) and leave your phone in the car

• I’ve found that wearing earplugs is an amazing way to tune our distractions that will help you focus and stay on track. Try it — you’ll be surprised.

• The easiest articles to write (and to read) are “list” articles: you’ve seen them … “The 5 Best Exercises For…” and “7 Tricks To Improve…” These are easier to write because you’ve already sub-divided your article into manageable chunks before you even start. So if the article is “The 3 Best…” all you’ve got to you is write an introduction, then the three items, and finally, a conclusion.

• Have a quicksand easy way to record writing ideas for potential future articles. For me, I just text myself, using my phone’s microphone rather than typing. My last text to myself was: “write an article about 1000 words a day”

Note: I completed this 2161 word article at 8:59 a.m. on May 26, 2016, after about 2 hours of writing. Now I’m off to make a post in my gratitude list — go do some writing, and then take the rest of the day off!

 

You May Also Be Interested In:

• Charles can be your coach! click HERE

• The Muscle Manifesto: 4 Tactics For More Lean Mass

• Follow Charles on Instagram!

• Making Continued Progress In Your 40’s, 50’s And Beyond!

 

 

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh

Hi Charles,

Over the last few years, your articles have helped me completely transform the way I think and execute my lifting routines. I look forward to them every time. You mention about shopping for a home for your articles. In a future post, could you expand upon that process and how you find (or found) places in which to shop? I don’t plan to write about fitness, but your insight would be very helpful.

Thank you for all your great advice and hard work!
-Josh

Reply

Sebastian

Thanks for this article! Since i write, my overall knowledge about my topics is better and better. I learn through my writing. The research for my topics is the real key. I know my stuff and after i finished i know it even better. And my readers learn to. Its Win Win. The 1000 words a day is the best tip i got and i hope a lot people read this one from you.
Greetings, Sebastian

Reply

tffitness

Thank you so much Sebastion!

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