Let me tell you a story.
Last year, I took a few Pilates classes. For the uninitiated, Pilates is deceptively simple. The instructor started us off doing basic breathing exercises, standing on our tippy toes, and bending this way and that in a way that felt natural and not at all challenging.
Having come to this class after three months of rowing for an hour each day, I wondered if I was wasting my time.
Except, the next day, for no reason I could determine, I felt sore. And within two weeks, I felt as though I was in better shape than I had been after months of different kinds of aerobic exercise. My body felt more at ease.
This got my attention.
And in speaking with my instructor, I learned about the true power of the human body.
Not the power of brute strength, hitting and kicking, lifting weights, or of force. This power didn’t come from fancy “techniques.” It came from harnessing the power of natural forces—gravity, breathing, and balance—and aligning the body in a way that used them to garner incredible strength.
So it is with writing.
I have been writing for over two decades.
I’ve met and worked with thousands of writers.
I’ve learned at the feet of highly-respected authors and editors.
Here’s what I know: The most successful writers and editors don’t care about impressing you with ninja moves.
Only lacking-in-confidence amateurs do that.
The experts get excellent at the basics.
They draw on the power of storytelling, of knowing their market, of understanding what their clients and their readers need and want. They don’t say “Oh, I want to write a 10,000-word story on mental health in America,” they say, “Let’s take a look at this magazine and see what kind of stories they publish and at what length,” or “Let me talk to that business owner and see whether they even need blog posts for their business or whether a newsletter is a better fit for their customers.”
Something to think about.
And I urge you to seriously think about it.
Because mastery doesn’t come from adding more bells and whistles to your writing, it doesn’t come from “tricks” and shortcuts, it doesn’t come from making the best political argument on social media.
It comes from getting exceptionally good at the basics.
Of writing. Of marketing. Of understanding who it is that’s buying and reading your writing and what they’re looking to get out of it.
You can see how I’ve used these forces in my content marketing career in my book The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Content Marketing.
Go here to read about it:
And if you buy a copy this week (or have bought a copy before now), forward me the receipt, and I’ll send you a recording of a group coaching call we did in the Finishers that covers some of these pillars of writing and marketing and how you can apply them to your freelancing.