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I write a TON. About a million words a year. It has completely revolutionized my business. Seriously—when you look at my annual revenue, there’s a very clear inflection point where I started writing.
Matt writes very little. What he does write is often dictated and put together with the help of his Virtual Assistant. He currently doesn’t write regularly or publish anything online. Yet, he has many successful businesses.
Should Matt keep doing what he’s doing? Is he missing out or leaving money on the table by not writing? How can he write if he’s not good at it?
That’s today’s show. It’s for you, the busy person, who knows writing is important but doesn’t have the time to write. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re a good writer. Maybe you don’t like to write.
We’re going to help you today. The episode is jam-packed with tips you can use even if writing is a challenge for you.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- Writing is communicating; if you can’t communicate, you’re not going to be able to grow or function.
- Don’t edit while you write—it kills your productivity.
- The more things you write, the more ways people can find you.
- Writing is how you make a name for yourself.
- The only difference between where you are now and where you want to be is a sea of imperfect work.
- Don’t ever delete old work, because it shows you where you came from.
- Make a commitment to write 1,000 words a day.
- There is no such thing as writer’s block, because if you can talk, you can write.
- If you keep showing up, you will get better at writing and the results will come.
- The most important thing is to build the writing habit, not a word count.
- Writing is a way to find out that you have something to say.
Supercharge Your Writing
Learn to write copy that sells, master the art of advancing people on the buyer's journey, and move people to buying with your words.
Understand how to position your product or service as the obvious solution and DOMINATE. No more competing. This course will change the way you think about writing and sales forever.
- 12:43 Sean: Matt, would you say that you’re good at writing or that you’re not good at writing?
- 12:54 Matt: I could write, but I was that kid in writing class who pulled out my laptop instead. We had an old school kid laptop, and I played on that. I was homeschooled. I learned the basic principles. When I talk to someone, I get enthusiastic but when I’m writing, I feel blah.
- 13:50 Sean: I understand. I thought writing was boring, too. I thought writing was a thing that writers did, and I’m not a writer. “That’s nice,” I thought. “Writing is good for you. I’m going to stay busy over here.” Once I developed a daily writing habit, it revolutionized my business. Now, I’m writing upwards of a million words a year. I’ve seen the power of writing. Writing takes on so many forms.
It All Starts With Writing
- 14:24 Everything you do starts with writing—this show, the outline we have, the course we’re working on, etc. Matt, we have to tell them about the course! After recording the last couple of episodes, we came up with the name. Expansion Framework is the name of the course Matt and I are working on, the step-by-step framework to making $100,000 a month. We’re very excited about this. Believe it or not, we got the domain ExpansionFramework.com, and I’m so excited about that. As of this recording, it’s not totally set up, but in the future, go check it out. We are going to have the whole framework taught, and you will be able to get that for free.
- 15:20 We are teaching the whole framework for free. We’re giving that away. The course itself, which is paid, is going to be the implementation, the how-to part. The actual “what,” what the framework is, we’ll map out for you. I’ve shared this with three people now, and all of them had “Aha” moments. It clicked for them. It was like, “Oh my goodness. I never thought of it this way. I’m instantly seeing the holes in my approach. Now, I get it and I know what I need to focus on.” They can just go and make money with that, and we’re going to give that away. I wanted to let everybody know that we finally have a name and I’m really excited.
- 16:04 That course, that framework, started with writing. It started with writing on a whiteboard. The way it’s going to come into reality and turn into videos, lessons, resources, and all of these things, is through writing. Writing is so powerful, and it’s not just podcasts and courses. Obviously, there are the more apparent things, like blogposts and books, but even speaking engagements, workshops that you do… everything comes back to writing. If I could give people one skill, it would be writing. I know that not everyone is comfortable with it or feels like it’s their style. What are your thoughts at this point, Matt?
- 16:44 Matt: When I first started my business, I thought, “I don’t need writing.” I started getting more in depth in contracts, communicating back and forth with multiple people, and you have to be able to communicate with everybody.
Writing is communicating.
If you can’t communicate, you’re not going to be able to grow or function.
- 17:07 You can’t do anything without writing—it’s like trying to do a business deal without talking. This applies to everything. If someone is saying, “Hey, I’d like to have you come out, inspect, and give us some ideas on this project,” you have to be able to spew out some ideas on an email. You can’t just say, “Okay, I’ll be out there.” I do a lot more now than I did in the past, but I cheat. How do I cheat?
- 17:56 Sean: Matt doesn’t really sit down and write a bunch of words every day, so how do you get business done, Matt?
- 18:04 Matt: This is how I sleep at night. I tell myself, “I’m too busy to write.” Within the last year, I know that I need to start writing. My main VA, Vicky, has been telling me since I hired her, “Even if you were writing it with me…” I know for a fact that I need to be able to write. I have a lawyer that gives me pre-screened templates for contracts and stuff, and I just have to change a few things. I still have to put in some of the projects and itemize everything that’s going on with that. In the beginning, I would talk to Vicky, and she would say, “What’s going to happen in the project?”
- 19:13 We would have the whiteboard out, and she’s in Australia, so we would video conference so she could see the whiteboard. I would say, “Okay, we’re going to do this and that.” She would say, “Okay, let’s break that down.” It’s exactly how Sean does his outlines. If you haven’t done Supercharge Your Writing, do it, because that really helped.
- 19:36 Sean: Matt, you cheat by using a VA, you’re saying?
- 19:38 Matt: Yeah, basically. I have different VA’s for all of my businesses, so I’ll just sit down and talk to them.
- 19:47 Sean: You’re just brain-dumping, essentially.
- 19:49 Matt: Basically. They filter it and type it up for me.
- 19:56 Sean: You’re not actually cheating, Matt. You’ve found a really useful trick, which is that you’re brain dumping and you’ve outsourced the job of editing. Someone’s transcribing, capturing what you’re saying, and editing. You’re just focused on getting it all out.
- 20:25 Matt: In part. Sometimes, with every word I say, I want them to put it down exactly the way I say it. I want it to sound like me. For people from other countries, especially, if it’s written the way a VA would say it, they might think, “Is this Matt?”
- 20:43 Sean: I’m talking about if it was something that was very obviously not supposed to be included. This is very similar to someone who is writing something themselves, because there are two modes. The mode you want to get in is the writing mode. When you’re writing, you don’t want to get into editing mode.
Don’t edit while you write—it kills your productivity.
- 21:06 Matt: I used to do that. As we would go through whatever it is, an email or something, I would say, “Let’s take that off.” We’re sharing a screen, so I could see what they’re writing, and I would tell them to take lines off. Just write the whole thing and then go back.
- 21:21 Sean: Get the whole structure, framework, outline, and message out. Get it on paper. Type it up. Remove the backspace key from your keyboard; you’re not allowed to go backwards. After I said this, Steve, who is one of the Community members, made a website called nope.press, and if you go there, you can write in it, and if you ever hit backspace or delete, you can hear me saying, “Nope.” All you can do is write, which is the point. Get your message out. Don’t edit. Don’t delete. Do that later. Right now, any thought in your mind is on the paper.
- 22:10 People are saying, “I don’t know how to get started writing. It’s just a blank page.” Write whatever comes to mind. Anything you’re thinking is on the paper, and you’re not editing it. You’re getting your message out. For some people, if you think out loud, you can do what Matt’s doing, which is dictation. You don’t have to have a Virtual Assistant to do that. You can use a microphone or your phone.
How Writing Grows Your Business
- 22:40 This is the theme of the course I’m putting out. I did a workshop first, Supercharge Your Writing, and now I’m putting out a full course that you can get at SuperchargeYourWriting.com, so go check it out. Sign up there. Why would you want to write? Matt’s saying that he can get by by cheating and using a Virtual Assistant, but he has to write proposals and he has to do things with his business in writing. That’s getting by. He’s doing the day to day operations. You have to send proposals, contracts, and things like that. Writing can help grow your business, not just help you survive in your business.
- 23:21 Right now, it’s about surviving, but writing can help spread the word about you. Maybe there’s word of mouth going around, and that’s how you get a lot of your business. That’s the best kind, but writing can help accelerate that word of mouth. It can automate. Right now, we have people watching us live, but there are also people listening to podcasts, reading blog posts, reading emails, reading auto-responder sequences, reading courses, and reading lessons. It’s all happening automatically right now. If you don’t have anything written down, the only place people are hearing you is in the room that you’re in, on the other end of the phone, or listening to the live stream on the podcast. Whatever isn’t captured can’t be heard repeatedly.
- 24:13 Matt: Not writing definitely limits you to the room you’re in or the few people you’re around. That can’t be distributed. Sometimes, we’ll record the meetings and we’ll have one of the VA’s transcribe it and send it out, but it’s not quite the same as if we were to write it down in a structured way. It would definitely be better if it was more structured and polished before we put it out there. There are a lot of things we’ve learned that we’ve put together on a piece of paper, and that’s just for internal use. If we were to polish that and put that out for the public, a lot of people could learn a lot of stuff from that.
- 25:04 Sean: I want to tease later on talking about Gary Vaynerchuck. He pretty much never writes. He gets people to transcribe things and do his books, and I want to talk about that and if that’s the approach you should take. Maybe you should embrace your strengths, but it depends on where you’re going. You may want to develop other skills. We’ll talk about that in a little bit.
Writing is how you make a name for yourself.
- 25:33 How do people find out about your work? Well, sometimes people spread the word, but why not create more entrance points for people? The more things you write, the more ways people can find you and come into your world. Sure, you can have a business where you’ve got a few dozen regular customers and you can survive just fine, but wouldn’t it be nice to have 20,000 people following what you do and hundreds of customers? That’s what writing affords you. It turns into everything else. You can take what you’ve written and make a video, a screencast, a course, a podcast, and all of these things.
- 26:13 If you are really good at writing, the delegation gets so much easier. If you’re only thinking out loud and you have all these assistants trying to help you, if they have to edit you down, then you put a job on yourself to review what they heard you say and make sure what ended up is actually the message you wanted to put out there. If you’re not auditing it, the wrong message could go out there, because someone could misinterpret what you’re saying. If you, yourself, are writing the original message, that message in written form can take so many other forms that you can delegate and never see because you wrote that message.
- 26:54 Matt: It definitely is a skill that’s so important. Now, I’ve started to learn as much as I can about writing and I’m starting to get back into it. Stuff gets lost in translation. Vicky is awesome and knows how I am about everything, but it took almost five years to get to that point. I’ve had issues with some of the new VAs where they mix up some of the stuff. They don’t understand some of the terminology, so they put something they understand, and whoever is getting the proposal says, “What is this? You told me this, but in the contract it says this.” I have to say, “Oh, that’s my mistake,” and I take the fall for something I didn’t even do. It definitely has it’s pros and cons.
Why You Don’t Write
- 27:54 Sean: Cory, why don’t you write?
- 28:04 Cory: I should do more personal writing. The only writing I ever do is for my scripts, and that’s it. I should probably do more writing about things I’m learning and things I’m thinking about, as a good exercise. The only writing I do is stories.
- 28:22 Sean: A lot of people are in a similar situation. “I probably should write more.” But why don’t you?
- 28:28 Matt: Sean, are you just saying writing in general?
- 28:31 Sean: Right now, yeah, just in general. What are the reasons that you don’t?
- 28:37 Cory: I just don’t make time for it.
- 28:42 Sean: Would you say that you feel like you’re not good at it?
- 28:45 Cory: I definitely don’t think I’m good at it. It feels weird to just write. Sean had me do it one time, and it ended up helping. He had me write whatever I’m thinking, no matter what it is. I thought it was dumb, but it made everything start flowing. There was a paragraph of nonsense, and the rest of it was what I wanted to say.
- 29:16 Sean: Cory also has some homework. Yesterday, he asked a question in the Community chat, and I said, “I want to hear your take on it. Answer your own question, work through it, and see what you come up with.” More often than not, you’ll find that you know the answer or you can figure out the answer. A lot of people don’t take the time to. It’s easy to ask a question, but they don’t want to find out the answer. Sometimes, rather than ask a question, try, as a writing exercise, to answer your own question. Work through it. Write, “Well, if it was this, this would happen, and then that would happen. If it was that, this would happen.” Break it all down.
- 30:05 What are the pros? What are the cons? Compare the two. Are they both viable options in different circumstances? What does that scenario look like? You’ll find that you have more in you than you realize. Tell my if I’m wrong, Cory, but I think you’re the type of person who isn’t afraid of doing something they’re not good at. You inherently understand that you have to do things to get better at them, and to me, you don’t seem like the kind of person who says, “If I do that the first time, I’m not going to be perfect, so I’m not going to practice.” To me, you’re the type of person who gets it, who says, “I’m going to be really good at it. I’m going to do what it takes.”
- 30:46 Cory: Yeah, absolutely. I think it comes down to the act of it. You will get better. I know I’ll get better as I do anything that I do.
- 30:55 Sean: For Cory, it’s making time. For other people, they don’t have the same personality type as Cory, and they don’t like writing because they get frustrated that it’s not exactly what they want. It’s not exactly what’s in their mind. What they write doesn’t align exactly with the message they want to get out there. It doesn’t flow well and it’s hard to follow. They see that and they get frustrated, and they say, “It doesn’t align with the picture in my mind. Therefore, I don’t want to do it.”
- 31:27 Matt: What would you say to that person if they were standing here right now?
Improve Your Writing
The only difference between where you are now and where you want to be is a sea of imperfect work.
- 31:44 Sean: You have to generate a ton of imperfect work. Picture a circle turning into a square one frame at a time, and there are a hundred frames in between. From the first to the second frame, it looks exactly like a circle. By the sixth frame, it looks exactly like a circle. In the very middle, you’ve got this rounded object that’s not quite a square, not quite a circle. Every day, every piece you put out, every blog post you put out, you are shaping yourself into a better writer, the writer you want to become. The only way to get there is to go through this sea of imperfect work. You have to generate it. The work you put out initially is not going to align with the picture in your mind, and that’s okay.
- 32:37 As Ira Glass says, that means you have good taste, but what you make doesn’t align with that taste. You have to keep creating. Or in the chat said, “Do you delete old content you think is not good enough after you become better in writing?” Don’t ever delete old stuff, because it shows you where you came from. Right now, you’re good at many things that you do, and you take a lot of them for granted. We forget that a lot of it took hard work, because not all kinds of work leave a trail or a track record. You can’t really look back and visually see how good of a delegator and a leader you were three years ago, Matt. That’s not something you can look at.
- 33:24 Writing leaves a track record. Creating art, anything that’s tangible, leaves a track record, so you can look back and say, “Wow, I was discouraged today, but look how far we’ve come.” I’m discouraged looking at things that are imperfect in seanwes tv, little audio quality things. I go back 150 episodes and, wow, you can hardly see me. It was so dark! Our lighting was terrible. You can barely hear me. Our best audio then was worse than our worst audio now. We’ve come pretty far. It’s an encouragement to yourself, but it’s also an encouragement to other people.
- 34:01 They look up to you. They say, “Matt, you’ve arrived, you’ve made it! How did you get there? I guess it was magic for you. It must have been easy.” No, go listen to Lambo Goal. When we reach our Lambo Goal and people say, “That’s nice for you,” we can say, “Go back to when we had a few thousand dollars and we were working hard. We shared the journey here.” Darold has a question, “Sean, did you ever struggle with writing and what did you do to get past the struggle of writing? I feel like constant writing is the missing ingredients to a breakthrough in many areas of my life not just business.”
- 34:38 My old writing was pretty bad. I wasn’t inherently a good writer. I got grades in the high 70s, maybe. I don’t even know if I got any grades in the 80s in writing.
- 34:54 Matt: Cory, what did you get? We’re following the journey.
- 34:57 Cory: I got a couple of 90s, but mostly 80s.
- 35:01 Sean: I wasn’t very good naturally. I was decent, I guess. My first blog posts were not that great. Looking back now, I think, “Wow, that was terrible. I don’t like it at all.” It was a matter of going through it. That’s always the answer, and it’s not really what people want to hear.
If you do a bunch of writing, you get better.
- 35:25 Matt: Sean just practiced.
- 35:28 Sean: It doesn’t take long when you write a million words a year. That sounds like a lot. My favorite number is 2,739. Do you know why? It adds up to a million in a year, 365 days. If you do 2,739 of anything every single day, whether that’s writing words or making that dollar amount, you make a million in a year. I love that number. It sounds like, “Oh my gosh, a million in a year!” 2,739 words a day is very doable. In July of this year, I’m going to be writing three books in a month. To do this, I have to write between 3,000 and 8,000 words a day. I’ve had a number of days where I’ve written 7,000 or 8,000 words, and it didn’t even take the whole day. It took a lot of focus for some hours, but it’s very doable when you’re focused.
How to Start Writing
- 36:38 I like to simplify this down. If I’m giving people some homework, I say make a commitment to write 1,000 words a day. Your life will change when you make a commitment to write 1,000 words a day. People say, “How do I do that? What do I write about?” They have all these questions. First of all, we touched on the how a little bit. The how is that you just start moving your fingers. If you’re trying to figure out how to say what you want to say, don’t worry about saying it the right way. Say it the wrong way. The wrong way will tell you, “Okay, that’s not what I want,” but it will get your brain going. You write down every word that you think.
- 37:28 Literally write the words, “This is a dumb exercise. Sean is a weirdo. I don’t understand why this is happening. I can’t think of the right way I want to say this, so I’m just going to keep typing because Sean said so. Also, Sean’s a weirdo.” You just keep going, but eventually, you will transition into writing what you actually want to write. You delete the first part later on. You’re not in editing mode. You’re in stream of consciousness mode.
There is no such thing as writer’s block, because if you can talk, you can write.
- 37:59 For some people, it’s dictation. Your phone has a little microphone on it. Tap it and talk. There are words in front of you. You’ve written with your voice. I have a question for you. What if someone is an amputee? Their arms or their hands are cut off, or they were born without them. What if they type with their nose? Are they a writer? What if they type by flexing a muscle in their cheek? That’s Stephen Hawking, the scientist. He’s a writer. He has a computer attached to his face, and he moves his cheek, because that’s all he can move at this point. It’s scanning along letters and words, but he is writing by twitching his cheek. He’s writing. If you’re using your voice to create words on a screen, you are writing. If you can talk, you can write. No one has talker’s block, so there is no such thing as writer’s block. That’s how you get started.
Where to Use Your Writing
- 39:29 Google “62 Topic Ideas,” because I have a post on this. I have a pdf that gives you 62 topic ideas. There’s your first 62. There are so many things you can write about. Write about what you’ve learned. Write about your process, your pricing, how to get clients, how to communicate with clients, your morning routine, how parenting helps your business and visa versa or the challenges of parenting with business… There is so much you can write about. Sharing these things is a great way to get started. Eventually, you can get more purposeful with using writing to sell in your business.
- 40:21 The beauty of writing is that, when you write, you can be free form. Write in the morning, because you’re able to focus and then you get it out of the way for the rest of the day. You don’t even have to be thinking about, “I need to write for this thing,” or, “I need to write for that thing.” You can be free form. You could write for your own personal journal, but you might find that something comes out of that that you can use later. You could end up repurposing it for something. Unless you have some kind of deadline where you need to write for something, if you’re just trying to build up the habit, don’t think about writing for a certain medium. Don’t think, “This has to become a blogpost/newsletter/video.” Get your message out there. Eventually, that can become blogposts, newsletters, podcasts, videos, courses, and speeches.
Focus to Write
- 41:37 Matt: I usually wait till time is too chaotic, so then I say, “Vicky, just listen to me, I’m not going to write. I’m thinking of too many things.” Any tips on when to get into the mindset to write 6,000 to 8,000 words in a day? How do you think about writing and block everything else out?
- 42:01 Sean: If you’re just getting started, don’t get overwhelmed by 6,000 or 8,000 words. I have to know my topic going into it. I have to know my purpose, have it planned out. If it’s something basic, write out a topic idea for the next morning. That way, you show up, and you’re not thinking, “What do I even talk about today?” Spend Monday coming up with topics or prompts for the rest of the days. Every Monday, come up with your topics. That way, when you get to Tuesday morning, you’re not thinking, “What do I blog about?” You have the topics right there.
- 42:48 Schedule those out. We need to do this, too, Cory. I come up with tons of topics, and then I look at them and think, “I don’t really want to write on that one.” We need to schedule the topic. This episode we’re doing here is from a title I wrote weeks ago. We now plan out a month of shows, and not just this show but all the other shows on the network, so we show up and talk about whatever’s on the schedule. It’s there. We don’t have to think about it. We’re doing it. There’s no choice—we do the work. I see that today we’re talking about how to grow your business with writing even if you’re not good at it.
- 43:25 Alright, let’s get started on the outline. There’s no friction. That would be the first thing. Schedule out your writing topics. Know what you’re going to write about. For my book, I’ll spend the first few days outlining the whole thing and mapping it to days and specific times. When I get there, I know exactly what to write about, and I just go. If you want the most momentum, write about what you know. Don’t think, “If I were to try and talk about this topic, what could I say?”
You know a lot of things, so write about those things.
- 44:09 What do you know, Matt? What are you good at? What are things that you know really well? Matt knows a lot of things. What do you do on a daily basis, the top things that are mostly on you?
- 44:25 Matt: Communicate with customers. A customer comes to me with a problem, and I think of a creative solution. Because I own all these different businesses, I can provide multiple solutions as opposed to just one thing. It’s more complicated than just saying, “Okay, we’ll build you a fence.” Maybe we’ll build a fence, redo the foundation, redo the concrete, redo the landscape, repair the roof, etc. That’s the beginning discussion. I have other customers where the design is already there and we have to build it. I come up with a plan with the crew to get it done.
- 45:16 Sean: I’m writing, and I already have three topics for Matt. He’s given me two sentences. Customer communication—Matt knows a lot about that. Providing solutions. When do you show a customer multiple options, and when do you say, “This is the best option”? There’s a topic for you. Coming up with a plan. How do you plan? How do you communicate that plan to your team? Do you take their ideas? All of these are individual topics. You don’t even have to click your fingers on the keyboard. Tell Vicky to ask these questions, and you can just speak. “Matt, talk to me about customer communication.” It’s going to start flowing and pouring out.
- 46:31 I have a screencast in this video, Watch Me Write a Blog Post, that shows you exactly how I write a blogpost. You’ll notice that, as a thought comes to mind, I put a little note at the bottom of my document. I’m not just writing whatever I need to write at the moment. What’s something you want to talk about with customer communication?
- 47:01 Matt: Whatever it is that their problem is. Break it down.
- 47:04 Sean: Okay, so we’ve got problems, setting expectations, communication methods, like whether it’s in person, over email, on the phone, all together, and so on. Building trust. As you think of these things, you add them to the bottom of your document. You keep writing. For the first paragraph, write about whatever you’re feeling momentum on. It doesn’t have to be in chronological order. Maybe you feel like, “I’ve got some great thoughts right now on communication methods and why I like talking to people in person vs. over email.” Start writing on that. Constantly add prompts and talking points to the bottom of your document. Flesh out all of your talking points at the top, and then you get to the bottom and you say, “Oh yeah! These things.” Suddenly, you have more to write.
Create an outline ahead of time and add to it as you go.
- 48:02 Cory: Right now, you’re hearing Sean expound on all these ideas of stuff he came up with right now. It ties in with Katie’s question. She asked, “I tend to be too concise. I’m not a rambler. Does it take practice to get better at expounding?” I feel the same way, and maybe Matt does too. You think, “Customer communication… I can think of two things. I don’t know what I’d write about.” You hear Sean going through all these things, and even right now, I’m wondering, “How does he come up with this stuff?” I think it’s practice, writing.
- 48:38 Sean: I’ll tell you what it is. Go to SuperchargeYourWriting.com. There are two ways that people have natural tendencies: People either ramble or they don’t expound enough, and both are problems. We each have natural tendencies that we have to compensate for. In our case, Cory, we tend to not expound enough. We’re very concise and we like brevity. We say as little as possible to communicate the message, not because we don’t care, but because we’re efficient. The problem is that that’s not interesting. To come up with more, we have to self-interview ourselves. You have knowledge locked away inside of you, and you won’t naturally procure it unless someone interviews you.
- 49:38 I have to ask you very specific questions if I want answers, because you’re not just going to share. Some people are sharers. That’s what they do. For us, we have to self-interview. Ask questions like, “Why? What else?” Ask anything specific that you can think of. If you’re a good interviewer, you won’t just ask those questions, but you’ll be really specific. “You said that communication methods are important. What is your favorite communication method and why? How many communication methods can you think of?” Well, you’ve got snail mail, email, text messages, phone calls, in person, and video Skype calls. Boom, now you’ve got five bullets within communication methods.
- 50:22 Now, expound on each of those. What does that look like? Give a general overview. Now, give me the pros and cons. Under each of those five, you have two sub sub bullets, pros and cons. Now you’re being objective. You can add another one, a conclusion for each of them. “I think, overall, snail mail is bad. It takes a long time and people don’t open their mail.” Do an overall conclusion, and that’s just for communication methods. If you come up with this epic outline, you can zoom in as much as you want. Just interview yourself and keep asking questions.
Get Better At Writing On Purpose
- 51:16 This is what I call my Cyclical Method. It’s a cycle, it repeats:
- Write like you talk. The easiest way to do this is to listen to yourself or dictate. Think about how you would say this. If reading what you wrote feels awkward, you’re probably not writing like you talk.
- Read what you wrote. While you’re reading what you write, record yourself.
- Record your speech and listen back. Listen to your own voice.
- 52:00 This is the interesting part. What you’ll find with reading what you wrote is that it feels a little weird. It doesn’t feel like a thing you would say. I tend to get into more complicated explanations of things and use really concise words that may not be as friendly and helpful to explaining to someone, so when I’m in writing mode, sometimes I tend towards that.
- 52:32 I imagine my friend coming into the room, and he’s not anywhere in my business or my industry. He doesn’t get this stuff. He says, “Hey, man. I want to come hang out. What are you doing? What’s this?” He has no idea. Maybe this is your spouse or your kid. Picture someone who knows nothing about what you do asking, “What is this?” You don’t want to be rude and say, “This is way above your head.” That’s terrible! Especially if it’s your kid, explain it on a conceptual level. Think about it for a kid. You don’t want to say, “No, it’s above your head.” Make it interesting to them. How would you explain what it is? You say, “I work for these people trying to solve this problem. When they’re solving this problem, they find that they don’t have enough of this resource. I provide it to them. Now, I’m trying to figure out a more efficient way to get my products to them using a trucking service.”
- 53:44 Note the words that you use when you explain what it is you do to this imaginary person. Note those exact words, how you would explain it with your voice, compared to what you just wrote. What you just wrote is obtuse. It doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to understand and comprehend. Imagine explaining that to someone who has much less understanding than you do, and suddenly, the way you explain will be much clearer. That is what you want to write. That’s the first part. The other way is that when you write your message, memorize a small chunk of it. Write your message, memorize a chunk of it. See how I said the same thing in slightly different words? That’s what you want to do.
Memorize a chunk of your message and record yourself speaking it.
- 54:39 Then, transcribe the words you said when you were repeating it from memory. Now, compare the two versions. What does it look like when I wrote it with writing? What does it look like when I spoke it naturally? Compare the differences. Find the discrepancies. Repeat this cycle. Rewrite your message. Now, you take your two messages, and you say, “I like the natural sound of the one where I spoke it, but it was a little too loose. I used words like ‘like’ and ‘so’ a little too much, so I’m going to rewrite this and come up with a better version.” Go through the whole cycle again and repeat.
- Write like you talk.
- Read what you wrote.
- Record your speech.
- Listen to your voice.
- Transcribe your words.
- Re-write your message.
- 55:29 Eventually you come up with what I call your Hybrid Voice, which is the ability to write in a way that reads like you would speak something. Someone can read what you wrote and they can hear you saying it. When they can’t hear you saying it, there’s a discrepancy in your writing style. What also happens, a phenomenal byproduct, is that your speaking improves. You learn to speak more clearly and you use less filler words. What you speak is very similar to what you write, to where, if you transcribe the actual words you’re speaking, it reads very well.
- 56:12 SuperchargeYourWriting.com—this is my big focus, and I’m excited about this course that I’m doing. Anyone that wants to learn to grow their business with writing, that is this course.
Show Up Every Day for Two Years
- 56:38 Austin says, “If you’ve been writing for a while, and you’ve gotten in the groove of publishing regularly, but haven’t seen incredible results, how do you level up your writing?” How you level up your writing is you write more. How you get results is you write more. I try and make these answers more friendly, but that’s the answer. You’ve written 20 blog posts? Write 200. You write 1,000 words a day? Write 3,000 words a day. That’s over a million words a year, and it’s very doable. Keep doing it. Show up every day for two years. That’s my mantra.
- 57:26 They miss all three parts. Show up—you have to actually show up—every day. “Some days I do. Most days.” Every day. “I did that for a month.” For two years. Show up every day for two years and don’t expect any results in that time. Any results you get are a bonus. Write every day for two years. Publish a blog post every day for two years. Why are we still doing seanwes tv when I get 200 to 400 views per video? I started in 2014. Show up every day for two years. The results will come after you show up every day for two years. You will get better. When the results aren’t there, the problem isn’t that you need to get better with writing. The problem is that you need to keep showing up.
If you keep showing up, you will get better at writing and the results will come.
- 58:34 Matt: You do that with anything. Growing up playing sports, what did your coach tell you? My sport was basketball, and they used to have us dribble and shoot a ton. We would practice our plays. He would say a number or a phrase, and we knew exactly where to go and what to do. It took tons and tons of times.
Schedule Writing Time
- 59:26 Sean: Kelsey says, “Should you plan to sit down and write at the same time every day, or should you write when you’re in the mood? I’m never in the mood, but I suppose many people don’t know which is more effective.” Kelsey knows—I’m never in the mood. No one’s in the mood. Set a schedule and a commitment. I write every morning and I write 1,000 words. That’s the commitment you need to make with yourself. I’m not on a rigorous 1,000 words per day in the morning schedule right now, but I end up writing for a lot of other things. That’s what I did for the first two years or so.
- 1:00:11 That’s my suggestion for people. Write 1,000 words a day, because that’s a great place to start. People say, “I tried it, and I wrote 1,000 words for a couple of days, but the next day, I didn’t have time or enough to say, so I figured I would wait and write 1,000 words once a week or every other week.” No! You have to build the habit! Don’t get caught up in the 1,000 words number. That’s the goal, but it’s a success if you showed up. If you wrote 600 words, that’s fine. If you wrote 800 words, that’s fine. If you wrote 400 today, that’s alright. Set the goal.
The most important thing is to build the writing habit, not a word count.
- 1:00:54 Matt: Do you think the time should be consistent, Sean? You give yourself an hour every day, and if you get to 1,000, awesome. If not, try and get it out within a certain time frame.
- 1:01:04 Sean: It’s just like any habit. You’re going to stick to something if it’s consistent. You always brush your teeth before you shower at night. It’s something that’s attached to something you do consistently, at a regular time, so you stick with it. Don’t say, “Well, it’s mid day. I have to write my 1,000 words. Maybe I can take a break and squeeze it in.” Make it consistent.
What to Write About
- 1:01:29 Hannah says, “What’s the best way to position yourself as an expert with writing when you are getting started and you have the knowledge but not the business experience to back it up?” Are you an expert or you don’t have experience? That’s where I’m caught up. Let’s take this question and say you’re a business expert but you’re not good at writing. Keep practicing. Keep getting better at writing. Now, let’s say that you’re writing, you want to position yourself as an expert, but you have no experience. You have to get experience. Teach what you know, not what you don’t know. Writing is a great way to teach what you know and find out what you have to say. Writing is just a medium—it doesn’t give you experience or a message, it just gives you a way to get it out there.
- 1:02:53 Matt: If you have to go on Google and look up random topics, just go to Google Trends and see what’s trending. Write your opinion on something. That’s what I do sometimes to practice.
- 1:03:07 Sean: Max says, “I’ve heard you talk about something to the effect of, ‘You learn what you think by writing,’ and it’s so true. Are there some helpful prompts to help jumpstart that figuring out your own thoughts process?” Figuring out your own thoughts is writing. Wake up in the morning and dump it all out. Don’t edit it, but dump it out and see if there’s anything good there. See if you can turn it into something. Edit it into something that’s usable. Writing absolutely does help you figure out what you have to say. There are a lot of people who think, “I don’t have anything to say, so I shouldn’t be a writer.”
Writing is a way to find out that you have something to say.
- 1:03:54 You find that out through writing. We didn’t plan 43 topics before we started this show. We just started the show. Every week, we show up, and we find out more that we have to say. We show up on the microphone and we share, and that’s what it’s like for a writer. The artists doesn’t come up with 365 concepts before they start drawing every day. They just start drawing. You find more things that you have to say or create as you write and put things out into the world.
- 1:04:35 Matt: It reminds me of a podcast I was listening to, and the guy had a guest on it. He was talking about how the guy wanted to come up with a new morning routine for himself to benefit his business. He studied all the successful entrepreneurs and found out what they did for their morning routine. He put those together and attempted to do those, and after he did them, he saw which ones benefited him. After he started writing it out, he came up with more things to add on the different things. Now he has a book out there on this called The Morning Miracle or something like that, and it was just knowledge that he put together himself. Now, a ton of people are benefiting from this.
- 1:05:49 Sean: Let’s get to the Gary Vaynerchuck topic. He pretty much only speaks. He has other people transcribing. Other people take the words he speaks and help turn them into books and blog posts. As far as I know, he doesn’t ever sit down and write. That seems to work pretty well for him, although he doesn’t have what I would call a Hybrid Voice. You read his blog posts, and you can kind of get that it’s his message, but it doesn’t sound like him. You can’t quite hear him saying the words. To underscore this point, the past few days he’s been recording the audio version of his book, the #AskGaryVee Book.
- 1:06:43 I’m going to be giving away 30 of those books. I bought 30, and I’m going to give them away. I wanted to do this 30 day writing challenge, and I’m still figuring out how to do it. Everyone who wanted to participate would have to say, “Yes, I’m going to write every day for 30 days,” and I was going to give away 30 books to those people. I was first thinking that it should be just a Community thing or a Supercharge Your Writing thing, and I’m still figuring it out. If I end up doing it, I’ll probably send it to the people subscribed at SuperchargeYourWriting.com. Gary is recording the audio book for his book, and when he’s recording it, sometimes he goes off script.
- 1:07:31 When he’s reading the script, I noticed that it just doesn’t sound like him. He doesn’t have the hybrid writing voice. He’s phenomenally successful, so we can’t say that he did it the wrong way, but he also doesn’t sell information, teaching, or training. With a couple rare exceptions, he doesn’t sell courses. He doesn’t write his own books. He doesn’t have information products. He’s said in some posts and videos that his goal is to put himself out of business, because he wants to help people so much that they don’t need his help. He says, “I don’t want to sell any of my knowledge,” so he relies on his businesses for income.
- 1:08:31 Apparently, that’s working very well for Gary Vaynerchuck. I wouldn’t tell him that he needs to do anything differently, but most of us are in a different place. We don’t have our income coming from a nine-figure business. We could actually be making money from information and knowledge, from things we could teach people. If you find that you can develop this Hybrid Voice, where what you write sounds like the way you speak and the way you talk is the way you write, it’s very powerful in creating new media and delegating. You can have other people help you turn your words into other forms of media and still have it sound like you and seem like you. He’s doing fine, but he’s in a different situation than a lot of people.
- 1:09:24 Matt: It kind of makes me think of my situation, because you can get it done and get by. You and the client know that whenever there’s that written communication, it’s not quite the same as speaking if you’re not good at writing. It’s definitely a struggle.
Speaking & Writing
- 1:09:53 Sean: Here’s another problem with people who don’t write. Gary’s a very good speaker, but when you don’t write, you solidify your own vocal tics. You have habits and pet phrases, and you solidify them. When you don’t audit yourself through writing, you can’t ever recognize them. When all you’re doing is outputting and you’re never reviewing or going through that cyclical approach, you don’t ever practice out those bad habits. The people who sound really good when they speak, who have very few vocal ticks, ums, ahs, ands, so, and likes, have developed a strong Hybrid Voice. They are also, in almost all cases, very good writers.
- 1:10:45 I was just watching a video earlier today by Simon Sinek, most famously known for the phrase, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” I absolutely love that. He has a great video on that where he conflates leadership and parenting, saying that all leaders have similar traits to good parents. Good parents are good leaders and visa versa. He also wrote the book Start With Why. I was particularly enamored with the way he carried himself in this video on parenting and leadership and how they’re similar. He’s very smooth in his delivery. This is not scripted stuff.
- 1:11:34 This is in an interview. He’s just going off the cuff, but it’s very smooth. You know he’s a great speaker, but also a great writer. I’ve noticed that people who aren’t writers solidify their vocal tics, and I think Gary’s one of them. It becomes almost an endearment, the different things that he does. He’s very effective, again, but we’re here for being the most effective. It’s never about saying, “Well, I guess we’ve arrived.” It’s about how we can be better. That’s why I think writing is powerful.
Speakers and great presenters could be even better if they were also writers.
- 1:12:35 Matt: No doubt. It’s definitely a skill that has to be refined and perfected to the best of your ability.
- 1:13:00 Sean: What were some of your biggest takeaways from this show?
- 1:13:03 Matt: Hybrid writing. I liked what Sean said about the focused mindset and the outline, adding to it when you think of it. Sometimes, when I’m writing, I’ll think of something. I’m a rambler, so now I know to throw it at the bottom and go back to it. I like the no backspace tip. I wish I could take my delete button off, because lots of times, that stops me. I lose my focus and my thought pattern.
- 1:13:46 Sean: Cory, what are your thoughts? What stood out to you?
- 1:13:49 Cory: When we were talking about expounding, the pros and cons, going deeper on each thing. Self-interviewing, I liked that.
- 14:02 Matt: I liked what Sean talked about writing and thinking of someone in there that knows nothing about what you’re talking about. Lots of times, when I’m writing different proposals, the client probably has no idea what I’m talking about, but I assume they do. That’s especially true if they’re new to the industry. I have to go meet with them and it takes forever, so I’m wasting my time, when I could have pretended they were there when I was writing it out. Great tip.