Tim Ferriss is an inspirational individual, whose work includes writing, running enterprises, investing in businesses, and public speaking. Labeled as “this generation’s self-help guru” by The New Yorker Magazine, there are a number of things writers can learn from him. After all, Tim is also the author of three books; all bestselling works.
His books include The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been sold in more than 35 languages worldwide. It is also a #1 New York Times bestseller. His other works are The 4-Hour Body which is another #1 New York Times bestseller and The 4-Hour Chef – a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller, a New York Times bestseller, and winner of a Gourmand “Best in the World” Award at the 18th Annual Paris Cookbook Awards. Read on to learn about some lessons he has given, and how you can apply them to your writing.
1. Start Small
“My quota is two crappy pages per day. I keep it really low so I’m not so intimidated that I never get started.” – Tim Ferriss
The quote above shows a very good strategy for writing. Setting up to write two pages per day as a goal is perfect; it’s a goal that’s within reach, and once you’ve reached it, you will get encouraged to continue: another two, then another two, and by the time you’ve finished, you’ve written more than you initially thought you would!
2. Write it well
“I write about what most excites me and assume that will hold true for 10,000+ people…if I write about it well. If I get 100 die-hard fans per post like that, I can build an army that will not only consider buying anything I sell later (assuming high quality — most critical!), but they’ll also promote my work as trustworthy to other people. This compounds quickly. The product — here writing — needs to stand on its own two feet.” – Tim Ferriss
If you’re in a dilemma about what to write, choose to write what excites you, rather than what you think you should write, because in order to write well about something, you need to be passionate about it. Also, have confidence in yourself and your writing. That way, the final piece will be authentic, as your voice will shine out of it, and over time you will gather an audience that will stay with you through your writing career.
3. Remember you’re in business
“Wrangling book blurbs or cover testimonials is one of the biggest wastes of time for new authors. Take the same number of hours and invest them in making a better product and planning your marketing launch.” – Tim Ferriss
This is sound advice for any writer. If you want to improve your craft, and gain more readers, focus your energies on what you do best – writing. With each book you write, aim to make it better than your previous one, so that the final product you deliver gives your readers an outstanding entertainment and/or educational experience.
Also, if you’re self-publishing then you’re in charge of marketing your book. Don’t leave this to chance. Start thinking and planning how you’re going to get your book into the hands of people, and on eBook readers and apps well before you finish writing it.
4. Take your time
“If you can’t dedicate at least a year of full-time attention to a book (which might be 70/30 split between writing and PR/promotion), don’t bother writing it.” – Tim Ferriss
Do you want to write a book well? If so, and unless you’re a super-fast writer, take your time. There’s no hurry and no need to rush. Depending on what you’re writing, you may need to do extensive research. It’s better to well research material you need for your book, find appropriate references and use them to enrich and add credibility to your work.
If you’re writing a piece of fiction, writing for a month, leaving it for a few weeks and then coming back to it, will stimulate your creativity, and spark ideas for character development and plot adaptations you previously might never have found, had you been writing nonstop for weeks and weeks on end.
5. Seek help if you need it
“If you’ve decided on traditional publishers, I also suggest getting an agent.” – Tim Ferriss
If you’re planning on going down the traditional publishing route and want to take a chance with some of the bigger publishers who transcend geographic boundaries, a literary agent can help. Such an individual can negotiate on your behalf, in order to get you an advance and land you a favorable contract. And even if you’re not going to approach traditional publishers, and are going at it alone, get help where you need it, whether it’s an editor, cover designer or a publicist.
Image credit: Benjy Feen on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic.
As a 22-year-old art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.