AskPat 30 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What up, everybody? This is Pat Flynn, and welcome to Episode 30 of AskPat. This is where I answer your online business questions, five days a week. Today, we have a question from Chris about writing, tools I use, and the habits I have.
Related to that is the resource of the day which I want to share with you. This is a really cool site that I just discovered called 750words.com. This is a tool that you can use to help you build up your writing habits. 750 words is about three pages, and you get points the more you write, if you consistently write 750 words a day. You get more points. It's just . . . it's not a blog, it's not like a Tumblr, or a WordPress, or anything like that. It's just a place where you can start to build up your writing habits. Seriously, the more I've written, the better I've become.
So, let's actually get into today's question from Chris.
Chris: Hey Pat, this is Chris Palmer from MemberStartup.com. First off, thank you so much for all you do. You've really inspired me to be more human in everything I do. I really appreciate the way you carry yourself, your ability to put family first, and the example of hard work that you set for me and others. You're just awesome, so thank you so much. I've been lucky enough to have moderate success with online business. I've been location independent now for four years, although I like to have a home and stay in one place, kind of like you. I'm a family guy; I don't look to be living overseas or anything like that. I'm at the point where I'm finding the desire and need to branch out, and share with others the things that I have learned over my years as an internet entrepreneur.
So, as I branch out and start another brand, it's apparent to me that I need to be writing a lot more than I currently am. This is something that I've actively started already, and I've been doing, and doing quite well. But, you always seem to have clarity on these sorts of things that I really, really appreciate. So, my question is this: You seem to do an awesome job creating a lot of great content that's long form, and even your short form content is obviously really awesome, too. I want to know what are your writing habits like, and what type of writing tools do you use? Thank you so much for all you do, and I really look forward to hearing your answer on this. Thanks, Pat!
Pat Flynn: Chris, thank you so much for your question. This is a very important question because I know that writing is a huge barrier and struggle for a lot of people. I know this from my own experience because I remember when I first started my online businesses, both at GreenExamAcademy.com and at my main blog at SmartPassiveIncome.com. When I first started writing on those sites, it was a huge struggle. I would delete things. I would write an entire blog post. I would just not be happy with it. I would delete the whole thing and start over. I felt like I was just wasting time. But, over time, and with all the writing I've done, and I've since written 500+ posts in the past five years on multiple different sites, that is just . . . over time, I just got better. I can see it, I can feel it when I read these posts that I've been writing lately. I can crank out a 3000 to 4000 word post in a few hours now when, back in the day, it would take me just as much time to only write 500 to 750 words. The more you do anything, really, the better you're going to become at it.
Because your brain, it's like a muscle, right? If you want to grow your muscles, if you want to get stronger, you have to train it, you have to keep it active, and you have to create habits of doing it on a consistent basis. That's why one of my habits is to write daily. I write daily, and that's been one the biggest things that I've done to help me improve the quality of the content I produce, but also how efficient I am at producing it. That's a huge thing, a huge time saver. That, again, like I said, has only come over time. It starts by creating healthy habits. Healthy, productive, writing habits. That's why I mentioned that resource at the top of the show, 750words.com. I only recently discovered this site, and I think the idea behind it is amazing. I might actually start using it myself. Although, I've been in this daily writing habit for the last year and a half now.
I don't always write blog posts every day. I don't always write content for business or for any of my websites every day. Sometimes I just write for myself. Sometimes I just do like a journal entry, or sometimes I write a summary of something I've read, or just write a little story, or talk about something in my journal about something that happened that day, or something I found interesting in a book that I read. Whatever it may be, I need to write every day because that has been huge in improving my writing skills and my efficiency when writing, as well. I think, all around, it's been helpful for my business. Not just from where I'm writing text, but even for podcasts. When I'm writing bullet points for the episodes I'm doing, or I'm writing scripts for the intros, and things like that. When I'm outlining a video that I'm going to do. You know, it all comes into play.
So, I think one of the best things you could do is start a daily writing habit. 750words, which gameifies that idea, you get points when you write 750 words which is about three pages. That's not a ton, but that's not a little bit, either. So, it forces you to think, to try, and just put something out there. You can keep it private on that site, which is nice, but it's just, again, putting you in the habit of doing that daily. I know a few people who are doing 1000 words a day. My buddy, Srini Rao, from UnmistakableCreative.com, and also Jason Van Orden, from Internet Business Mastery. They've sort of made it . . . I mean, Srini's been doing it for a long time, and it's absolutely transformed his business. His . . . the books that he's published, and just how big they've gone, because of that daily habit and just sharing that information that he's written, very personal actually, from him.
But, Jason Van Orden, I've spoken with him recently and he's said . . . He's only been doing this for a couple of months now, it was like a New Years' resolution for him, and he says it's absolutely transformed the way he's been able to produce content. He's just . . . I've talked to him in person about that, and you can just tell that he's much more confident because he's a podcaster. Right? Jason is a podcaster but now he's a writer, and I can tell on InternetBusinessMastery.com that the writing that book Jeremy and Jason are doing over there is so much more . . . so much better. So much more better! So much better than what it was before. So, again, I just try to write something. Every day. I recommend that you do the same thing. So, that's my big writing habit, as well.
I've also found that reading has helped well, or listening has helped as well. I listen to books through Audiobooks.com. You can go to Audiobooks.com/spi to get a deal there, and get my book for free. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.] That's just a free plug for them 'cause they're awesome. But I listen to books, and I've found that the more I've been listening to books, I've been listening to books a lot on my runs, lately. I feel like my writing's gotten better because of that, too. Because I can, sort of . . . I don't know if it's consciously or subconsciously, or whatever. I mean, I am consciously thinking about how people are writing when I'm listening to these books. But I am, maybe subconsciously, picking up a lot of the nuances that they have with how they are presenting their ideas which transpires into my own writing, as well. So, writing, or reading, or listening to stuff is also helping. I think really all it comes down to is keeping my brain active. Like I said, it's sort of like a muscle.
Now, Chris, you also asked about some of the tools I use. There's a few tools . . . I mean, one of my favorite tools that I use, when I write blog posts specifically. When I write my daily journal entries, they're all in Google Drive, so it's just easy for maybe access. I can do it even on my phone, or when I'm on travel, or when I'm on my iPad, or whatever. I use a tool when I write blog posts specifically, where I need to be really clear in my mind about the transformation I want my readers to go through. The tips, and tactics, and strategies that I'm going to share that's going to help them get and go through that transformation. I use a tool called Byword. This is for Mac users. There's an equivalent for PC which is Omm Writer. O-M-M. That's two m's, “writer.” This is basically a tool that clears everything else on the screen, except your cursor and what you've written. So, it pretty much just takes care of all the distractions. One of the hardest things I've found is to actually write in WordPress because there's so many buttons, there's a lot of things going on, and your browser's open, and Facebook's right there. What I do with Byword is I go full screen, and that's the only thing I'm focusing on. So, that helps push me forward and keeps me going.
Google Drive, like I said, is another tool I use for my daily journal entries, just 'cause it's easy and is convenient. 750words.com to help create daily writing habits. I also use a tool called Lift. That's at Lift.do. You could download the app, and what you do is you actually you can create habits and join other people who are forming those same habits. I guarantee you that there's a habit there called Write because I'm a part of that. So, what you do is you check in to writing, as if writing were a place, like on Foursquare. You just pretty much announce, “Today, I've written!” People give you props, people give you thumbs up, you can see other people who are also doing that every day. It sort of encourages you because of that collaboration and that group effort, and the props you get from all your friends on there, to just keep going. It will remind you when you don't write, as well. You know, encourage you to keep doing it. So, that's why I love Lift. You can find that at Lift.do.
So those are the tools I use. Nothing totally crazy or out of this world. But I think the main thing there is just creating a daily writing habit. That's what's going to help you get to the next level with your content generation, with the efficiency in your blog content writing. Because that's something a lot of us spend most of our time doing. So if you could even shave 10 minutes off of every hour, because you're just a better and more efficient writer, that's huge over time. Think about how much you're writing, and how much time you could save over the course of a year. Over the course of three years. Over the course of five years. It could be huge.
So, again, Chris, thank you so much for your question. I'm so excited to talk about writing and share that with you because it really has transformed me, now that I think about it. It's something I don't even really think about because it's just automatic to me now because I do it on a daily basis. So, Chris, an AskPat t-shirt is headed your way for having your question featured here on the show. If you're listening to this and you have a question that you'd like potentially answered here on AskPat, head on over to AskPat.com, and ask your question there. Of course, the resource that I mentioned, that I highlighted today, I mentioned a few, but the main one I mentioned was 750words.com. If you get connected with the guy there, his name is Buster Benson, he's a super cool guy, never met him before, but he . . . this tool's helping a ton of people. Tell him I sent you. That'd be awesome.
Lastly, I want to leave you with a quote, as I always do. This is a quote from Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin said, “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.”
Write something worth reading, or do something worth writing. I love that last part because that's what I do. I put myself out there, I try different things, so I can write about them, and they can become lessons for people. So, for the private stuff, for the journal entries, that's something worth writing for you. But for your audience, if you don't know what to write, do something, so that you can have something to write. Alright. Take care. Thank you so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
A tool that you can use to help you build up your writing habit.