You want to be a full-time writer.
Someone who makes a living sharing ideas and changing lives with your words.
You read countless books and blogs on writing, freelancing, business, and entrepreneurship, hoping that some of the authors’ magic mojo will rub off on you.
But inside, you still doubt.
You wonder if writing is too risky a path and you won’t be able to take care of yourself or your family.
You worry that you don’t have what it takes to be a professional writer, to turn your dream of writing for a living into reality.
Worst of all, you’re afraid making a living off your ideas is only for superstars like Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Casey Neistat. NOT for ordinary people like yourself.
The truth is, you’re wrong.
There ARE non-world-famous writers who make a living off their words.
Writers who juggle parenting and writing and running a business (sometimes, more than one).
Writers who started off knowing nothing about the craft, and now are making a comfortable living simply by publishing their ideas on the internet.
In fact, you’re about to meet one of them.
Moreover, he’s just an ordinary guy like you:
Ayodeji Awosika is a prominent personal development writer on Medium.com. But he didn’t start out that way.
He began writing five years ago, after a series of lengthy FB posts were discovered by a friend with a website, and over the years, he’s developed an ironclad writing habit that has propelled him to writer stardom.
Since his humble beginnings, Awosika has published 3 books and hundreds of articles on a variety of platforms, from Medium.com to LinkedIn to the Huffington Post.
Oh, and did I mention he is supporting himself and his family with the 6-figure income he makes from his writing business?
In this first part of my interview with Ayodeji, we talk about the ins and outs of his writing strategy:
- How he finds ideas to produce 2–3 articles per day.
- How he manages two different writing topics/audiences without running out of steam or burning out.
- What practical advice he would give to aspiring writers who want to create a successful and satisfying writing life.
So if you’re serious about becoming a successful writer (and human being) you don’t want to miss this.
(And if you reach the bottom of this interview, there is an extra opportunity to learn from Ayo himself, plus some bonuses you might be interested in)
Without further ado, let’s get this show on the road!
On Being a Pro Writer
What do you love about being a writer?
I love that I’m able to share my thoughts with an audience. I love running my mouth, I’ve always been full of ideas, and I have a lot to say about society and the people in it. Writing is my cathartic way to get all of my creative energy out of my system and help people at the same time.
What do you hate about being a writer?
I’m not in love with all of the little minute tasks that come with building a writing career — tech stuff, putting together all of the moving pieces in a marketing campaign, staying organized, sending out individual emails, etc, but it facilitates the writing so I’ll do it.
You started writing because a friend discovered your FB posts and asked you to write for him. When did you realize writing could be your career?
I’d say I knew I was going to make a career out of it after about two years. I’d published two books and I simply had put in so much time and effort that quitting no longer made sense. That’s where you want to get. You want to make so much of an investment into your craft that quitting just isn’t an option. And honestly, for me, I had no trouble continuing to write after I wrote my first blog posts. Even then, I kinda knew. I love writing.
What is the best thing you’ve ever written?
My new book, Real Help. I’m not just saying that. I must have edited the book like 20 times. Easily my best work.Writing is my cathartic way to get all of my creative energy out of my system and help people at the same time.Click To Tweet
On The Writing Process
What does a day/week in your life look like as a professional writer?
Pretty simple. The first 2–4 hours of the day are for writing. After that, I do YouTube, social media and managerial stuff. And I do that 5–7 days per week.
You publish 2–3+ posts/week. What do you do to maintain your prolific writing schedule without burning out?
I focus on generating ideas constantly. I write ten new blog post ideas per day. I also have a process I use to publish articles prolifically — essentially a glorified brainstorming process to get my ideas out, a quick and dirty outline, then writing comes next. Again, I love to write and have a lot to say. If you love to write, why not…write?
What differentiates you from other writers in your niche?
I just call it straight. I’m willing to say things other writers won’t say. I’m not PC. I talk about the unsettling truths that we all kind of know but just don’t want to admit (there’s a lot of that in the book). Also, I articulate exactly what people are thinking and reflect it back to them. I get in people’s heads and write out their thoughts verbatim into a blog post. People love the mind-reading effect. It builds that personal connection. Also, I just don’t… lie. I say whatever it is I believe to be the truth and people can tell.
Do you publish everything you write, or do you ever write just for yourself, or throw things away?
I don’t publish everything I write right away. Some ideas don’t work so well, so I’ll let them sit and come back to them weeks or months later. I keep a journal, which I don’t share with anyone, and it helps me process my emotions and clarify my thoughts.I just don’t… lie. I say whatever it is I believe to be the truth and people can tell.Click To Tweet
On Writing Marketing and Strategy
How much time and effort do you spend on the behind the scenes aspects of writing (research, SEO, promotion/networking)?
Not much. I choose the 80/20 approach. Write my ass off and let the chips fall where they may. Now that I’m more established, though, I will focus on things like SEO.
How do you balance two audiences/two websites? (personal development and writing abut writing)
Not well to be honest. Personal development usually gets much more love than the writing content. I’m working on fixing that in 2020. One thing I make sure of — I don’t overlap different verticals on the same day.
Do you do everything yourself, or have you ever tried working with a team and/or assistant?
I recently hired assistants and web developers to help with the launch of the book. Eventually, you’ll just reach a point where you can’t do everything yourself. Learning to delegate and outsource can scale your efforts a ton and I will be doing so more in the future no doubt. But this comes after you first do the work on your own. Assistants only amplify what you’re already doing well.
How do you juggle two sites, a new YouTube channel, a Medium account, and multiple social platforms?
YouTube and social media are fun hobbies for me right now. I don’t put too much stress on myself if I’m not one hundred percent on top of them. Writing is always number one. If I get my writing done, everything else is house money. Having my days fully to myself helps a lot, too. I wouldn’t suggest doing more than one platform until you’re full time. Last, I’m always productive when I’m doing things I like do to. That’s my secret. These tasks don’t feel like work to me. I’m having fun.Writing is always number one. If I get my writing done, everything else is house money.Click To Tweet
On Advice for Aspiring Writers
What skills do you think writers need to develop, aside from just getting started, and persisting past the 90 day, then 2 year, then 5 year mark?
The ability to reverse engineer what works is the number one skill you should have as a writer. Too often, writers write in a vacuum and just vomit out whatever they think is good instead of actually becoming a student of the craft. That’s the number one problem with most writers — they’re selfish. They think people should read whatever they write regardless of what they write. If your writing isn’t resonating, there’s a reason for it. Change your style and become observant.
Aside from practice and persistence, what is the most important lesson you have to share with writers who are not yet where you are?
A derivative of those two, which is patience. Just block out the next 24 months. If you can make it two years deep, odds are, you won’t quit.
Fear and procrastination are two of the biggest monsters facing aspiring writers. How have you overcome these challenges in your own writing career, what advice do you have for writers struggling with this?
Honestly, once I started writing, it was like I had smoked crack. Instantly hooked. My biggest strength might be that I’m not a perfectionist at all. I’m quite absent-minded. Perfectionism seems odd to me. Who cares? They’re just words. You’re not going to die if they’re not perfect. That’s my attitude towards it all. Writing should be fun. If you like to write, then write. Putting all of that extra emotional context on it with the perfectionism thing makes no sense to me.If you’re writing isn’t resonating, there’s a reason for it. Change your style and become observant.Click To Tweet
How do you practice writing/improve your craft?
The best strategy would be to first imitate what works and then find your unique voice later. I learned traditional blogging techniques from places like smartblogger.com and learned all the basics before I really honed in on my own style. So, yes, that included things like writing a bunch of basic listicles. Just get through that phase in your writing and you can grow much more esoteric over time.
What is more valuable/what do you spend more time on — reading books or reading blogs?
I like both, but it’s been blogs more lately. I don’t make enough time to sit down and read as I used to. Blogs give you those quick insights. Also, I’ve read so many full-books to have a solid foundation. Now blogs help me tweak and refine my thinking.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in writing, marketing, and book promotion?
Compounding — Your skills, audience, and marketing efforts compound like an investment account. You work like crazy without getting great results for years and then all of the sudden things explode. Keep practicing until you hit that tipping point.Writing should be fun. If you like to write, then write.Click To Tweet
On the Future
Aside from writing poetry and attempting a novel at 18, have you considered writing more creative works or fiction? If so, what would you write about?
I’ve never seriously considered writing fiction yet. I probably wouldn’t even try until I was in my 50’s or something (I’m 30). I have many non-fiction ideas to work on and fiction is an entirely different beast. I do want to give it a shot one day. If I did write a novel, it would be semiautobiographical like Bukowski. I don’t have the imagination to write some crazy sci-fi books or thrillers.
You recently started a YouTube channel instead of a podcast, as some friends have suggested. Why YouTube over podcasting, and what are your plans for the channel?
I like being on video. I like being in front of people. There’s something about that visual aspect to me that was more appealing than podcasting. Also, I think each medium requires it’s own unique set of skills which is why I chose to focus on just one. I think YouTube might be a better outlet for growth as opposed to podcasts, too. Podcasts require a lot of commitment and investment to listen to whereas YouTube videos don’t.
Want REAL Help Making Your Writing Dreams Come True?
If you want no-nonsense kick-butt plan to turn your strengths into your own life-giving side-hustle, you can get Ayodeji’s newest book, Real Help, here.
And if you order your copy before the end of the month (January 2020), you will receive free epic gifts, including 2 masterclasses on leveraging your strengths + using your writing to make an income, plus a Journaling Genius course for Brilliant Writers).
Just grab the book and shoot me an email, or leave a comment below, and I’ll send your gifts your way!
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