If you’re building an online business then unique, quality content should be a major part of your business strategy. Not only is content in the form articles and blog posts what you use to attract traffic to your website, but longer form content (e.g. eBooks, reports, etc) is what you will need to use to persuade people to subscribe to your mailing list.
And of course longer form content is one possible strategy for your online business to earn revenue. You can – and probably should – create eBooks, Reports, etc that you sell on your web site.
But there’s a problem with creating longer form content – most people are daunted by the thought of writing 30 pages. Or 40 pages. Or 50 pages. Or more. It’s almost like a scientific equation – the longer the content that you’re aiming to create, the greater the resistance you need to overcome becomes.
And it seems that the resistance grows exponentially as you aim to create longer material. So the resistance to writing a 100 page eBook is not just twice that of a 50 page eBook – it’s greater by a factor of 6 or 8 times.
So How Do You Overcome This Resistance To Get eBooks and Reports Written?
There’s a force you can use that will help you overcome this resistance. That force is Momentum.
If you can create enough momentum in the early days of your eBook or Report – when the creative fire is burning bright and your enthusiasm is high – then you you’ll find that you’ll be able to conquer this resistance and drive forward to the end of your project.
Once you’ve successfully completed a couple of projects you’ll find that the resistance levels to creating eBooks and Reports drops. Complete a couple more and you’ll be cranking them out like a pro.
So How Do You Create Momentum?
Creating momentum on your eBook or Report is a factor of applying the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair on a regular basis. And actually writing the damn thing.
The sense of Momentum comes from recording your daily progress. Whenever I’m working on an eBook or Report I keep a track of what I’ve written using an Excel spreadsheet.
I have an entry for each day, and I record how much I’ve written that day. Using some of the simple mathematical functions built into the spreadsheet program I then get an instant tally of how many words I’ve written in total. Plus a percentage estimate of how much of the writing is complete.
I’ve found that once I get to 55/60% I KNOW that I’ll finish the eBook. And once I get to around 75% I find that the last 25% of the eBook gets finished at a sprint pace. So progress tracking via Excel really helps.
But in the early days of writing eBooks and longer form content I started several reports and eBooks that just never got finished. I got stuck – and the eBook stalled. If an eBook stalls in the early stages there’s a good chance that it won’t get finished.
To avoid stalling, you need Strategies that will build your momentum. I’ve got four strategies to share with you.
Momentum Strategy #1 – Make Yourself Accountable To Other People
If you make yourself accountable to other people you reduce the likelihood of getting stuck in the first place.
An ‘accountability buddy’ is one way to do this. Find someone you know who’s trying to achieve something for themselves, then suggest you be accountable to each other. What you do is create a timetable of what you’re going to do and how much you propose to do, and then at the end of each day or session you email you’re progress to your accountability buddy.
Their job is say ‘Well Done,’ or ‘Good job,’ if you make progress. If you make no progress their job is to email and say: What’s going on? And keep you focused your plan.
The quid pro quo for them is that YOU are doing the same job for a goal that they are trying to achieve.
This strategy works even better if you have more than one accountability buddy. If you are part of a Mastermind Group tell everyone in your group what you are doing, and enlist their help. So that if on a particular day one person is away, or not in email contact, there will be others around to help keep you on track.
I’m a member of a private forum at www.5000bc.com, and there are about 450 members there. There is a section of the Forum that is devoted to providing accountability to people who are striving to achieve something. There are always people on hand to give you encouragement, offer a positive word if something is not going to plan, and generally help in your endeavours.
Momentum Strategy #2 – Outlining To Avoid Getting Stuck
Most people start their eBooks and Reports, write a few pages and then come to an abrupt halt. And that abrupt halt kills any momentum. As often as not, it’s caused by lack of a detailed outline.
If you’re writing an eBook or a report creating an outline prior to the actual writing is just about the most important step in the writing process. That way you’ll never get ‘stuck’ because you don’t know what comes next.
With a detailed outline all you have to do is turn up to every appointed writing session, look at what’s next in the outline, and write.
Here’s a tip from fiction writers: don’t measure your writing sessions in time, measure it in words completed. There are days when the words will fly out of your fingers and you’ll feel ‘inspired,’ and you’ll knock out the number of words you’ve allotted yourself in not time at all.
But there are days when the words seem to dry up and your typing speed will drop to 5 or 10 words per minute. And you feel like your writing is insipid at best, and utter crap at worst.
When this happens – and it happens to just about everyone who writes – those with an amateur mindset give up. Those with a professional mindset keep going – the professional attitude is that maintaining momentum is the important part of the process. And the insipid and crappy writing can be edited later.
Here’s the thing though: if you do this, struggle through the days when the words are painful to get onto the page and just keep going forward there you’ll be in for a big surprise when you reach the end of the project and go back to edit. The writing on those ‘slow’ days will be virtually indistinguishable from the writing on the ‘fast’ days.
If that sounds weird, I agree. But it’s happened too many times to me on different projects down the years – both fiction and non-fiction – for me not to share it with you. So don’t sweat it if your writing feels slow and turgid. You can fix it at the ‘edit’ stage – if indeed it needs fixing.
Momentum Strategy # 3 Writing A Minimum Number of Words Per Session
In the early days of writing a new eBook or Report you have to write at every allotted session. And set yourself an achievable goal and meet it in every session. If you have not written much before, make that goal 250 or 300 words. That’s 5 or 6 paragraphs – everyone can do that.
If 500 words is a more achievable goal, then set the bar at 500 words. What’s important is that you write at every session – and you write at least the number of words you have set yourself as a target for a successful session.
This is what every professional fiction writer does. Read Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’ and you’ll see he writes a 1000 words every day except for Christmas Day and his birthday. You can do an awful lot for your website business with 360,000 words of content a year. Hemingway was the same – I think he aimed for 1000 words a day to. Read about fiction writers and, irrespective of the genre they write in, you’ll find they take this approach.
So set yourself a daily target. And nail it every day – no matter how long it takes. As you get more accomplished, increase it by 100 words, or 200 words. The more successful writing sessions you have, the more of a habit writing becomes. And the easier it becomes.
You’ll find your ‘resistance’ levels drop too.
Momentum Strategy # 4 – Achieving Critical Mass
I wrote above that if I get 55-60% of an eBook or Report written then I KNOW that I’m going to finish it.
Now that I’ve discovered that I use a fourth strategy that is the most important strategy for me. This strategy is about achieving this 55% ‘critical mass’ as quickly as possible.
To do this I need a detailed outline of the eBook or Report, and then I try and complete ten 1500-word sessions in a week. There are three tips I’d like to pass on that help me achieve this:
(i) Don’t stop for anything.
I make sure my MacBook is fully powered, that I have a couple of cups of coffee to hand, that I’ve been to the toilet, my mobile phone is off and that my iPod is charged. Then I dial in my ‘writing’ music, press ‘Play’ on the iPod, and write as fast as I can.
If I need to ‘research’ anything, or check a fact, I simple type XXXX or put a note in a bracket in the text (CHECK FACT) or (CHECK QUOTE). No stopping is allowed.
(ii) Make Sure Everyone Around You Knows Not To Disturb You
If you work at home, find a private space. Make a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign if you have to. Just do whatever it takes so you won’t be disturbed.
(iii) I Never Write In Order
Writing is a personal thing – we all have to find the method that works for us best. For me I’ve found over the years that in the ‘critical mass’ accumulation phase that if I try and write in the order of the outline that I’ll get stuck somewhere.
And the momentum will bleed away.
So I don’t do that anymore. If I get to a section that needs a bit of reading or research to write, I simply skip that and go to a section that I can write off the top of my head.
Often that means I’ll write the introduction and the first couple of parts first, then jump to the overall summary, then go back to part 4, then jump to part 6, etc etc. There’s no rhyme or reason.
If you have a detailed outline, that outline is your safety net. Yes you might need to edit some sections more carefully at the end of the writing phase of your project – but if you have a detailed outline and know where you’re going then you won’t.
I’ve done this with every long form project I’ve ever written – fiction, screenplays and non-fiction – and it works like a charm for me. If you get stuck on a project, try jumping to a section that you can write.
Often the act of writing – and the momentum it creates – carries you forward towards the finish line. And you can come back and write the ‘difficult’ sections later.
Creating quality content should be a major part of your business strategy. Long Form content – i.e. eBooks, Reports and the like – should be part of the income generation strategy for your online business.
When writing eBooks or reports of 40 pages or more in length, it’s crucial that you generate momentum for your project to help get you over the finish line. And actually get your eBook or Report done and out there.
In this article we looked at some strategies you can use to help generate that momentum.
1) Make yourself accountable to one or more people (the more the better!).
2) Outline to avoid getting stuck.
3) Setting yourself a target of how many words per session you will write – and sticking to it.
4) Achieving Critical Mass.
Here’s a quick hint: if you employ ALL of these strategies simultaneously you’ll maximize the chances of finishing your eBook and getting it out there.
I talked about overcoming resistance – the best book on that topic is called THE WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield. I highly recommend it – you can find it on Amazon, and it’s pretty cheap. Nightingale-Conant also do an audio book version that you can download, that’s about $25 – but it’s money well spent in my opinion.