Get a free video course on Writing and Mindset Click hereJoin my author mailing list

Why it’s always about more than one thing

Money mindset for writers

What’s wrong with this picture?

Send one thing to one place and wait to hear then have an emotional response

Stop before reading on and identify what’s wrong with this picture as a representation of the workflow of a working writer. There’s plenty wrong with this picture, but I’m going to focus on the first two steps in this post:

  • Writing a thing
  • Sending it off

and look at them one at a time. I call the ideas I’m talking about the More Than One Thing or MOTOT concept. According to the Urban Dictionary MOTO is short for motivation, and it’s useful to think of the MOTOT concept as a motivator – it will encourage you to write and to send your work out into the world. So what is the MOTOT concept all about? I’m glad you asked!

It’s always about more than one thing

It took me years to realise this, and it wasn’t until I did the Dream Author programme with Sophie Hannah that it finally sunk in, but having a career as a writer is always about writing more than one thing. In the case of novel writing, a career is about more than one novel. Even if, say, you had a smash hit with your first novel, with a huge advance, film rights sold etc, and of course that’s rare, you would still have to write another book (and another and another) to have a career. In this second post in this series on making money from your writing, I thought it would be fun to break this idea into small steps (as fans of my blog know, this is called the Small Steps Method).

First, a quick tip: Next time you get the chance to question a bestselling writer, ask them how many books they wrote before becoming successful. Do this every time you get the chance to question a bestselling writer and compare results. They might surprise you. That’s because we’re trained by the media to think that successful people are ‘overnight sensations’, that they found it easy, that they didn’t ‘fail’ first. Yes there are outliers, but usually, the reverse is true. The successful ones are not those who found success easy or didn’t make mistakes, they’re the writers who kept going.

Actionable steps

How does that translate the MOTOT concept into actual actionable steps? We already know that:

  • You (probably) have to write more than one thing in order to get published.
  • You have to write more than one thing to have a career as a writer.
  • You have to write more than one thing to be successful as a writer.

So the actionable step is obvious:

Write more than one thing.

Actually, write more than two things. Write several things. Break that into small steps and you’ll have a plan of action. Using questions helps, such as:

  • What can I write?
  • What can I sell?
  • What do I love to read?
  • How do I keep going?

Submissions and pitches

The MOTOT concept is also applicable to submissions or pitches. And it’s a concept that clicked for me when I took a course with Natasha Khullar Relph (aka The International Freelancer) called 30 Pitches in 30 Days in 2018. In other words, it took an extreme version of MOTOT – i.e. sending a pitch every day for 30 days – for it to sink in. Here it is in a nutshell:

Sending more than one thing to more than one opportunity increases your chance of success.

And therefore:

As long as you hone your craft, sending lots of things to lots of opportunities increases your chance of success even more.

This is only logical, but again because the media has trained us to think in terms of overnight success, a lot of writers give up after only sending one or two things out. Want the actionable steps again? Of course you do. I promised you I would apply the small steps method after all. So we know that:

  • You (probably) have to send out more than one thing out in order to get published.
  • You have to send out more than one thing to have a career as a writer.
  • You have to send out more than one thing to be successful as a writer.

Let’s complicate that slightly more before getting to the small steps:

  • You have to send out more than one thing at the same time to multiple opportunities to have a career as a writer.
  • You have to send out more than one thing at the same time to multiple opportunities to be successful as a writer.

That means that you need:

  • Regular sources of information about opportunities to sell your work.
  • Systems set up to manage your submissions.

And those two things will provide you with your small steps if you break them down. Again, it’s useful to turn these ‘problems’ into questions:

  • Where can I find regular sources of information about opportunities to sell my writing?
  • What sort of systems should I set up to manage my writing submissions?

What’s right with this picture?

At the start I asked you to identify what was wrong with the image describing a workflow of a working writer. Concentrating on the first two steps – write a thing and send it out – here’s an alternative version that will work much better for you if you want to earn money from your writing.

A blue powerpoint slide showing how it's imporatnt to send multiple submissions

An invitation

While you’re here, I’d like to invite you to do a free video course called How to Make Money from Your Writing in Three Steps. I made it because I want more writers to know how much mindset and systems affect our ability to make money from writing. It’s definitely not lack of opportunities or lack of resources that’s holding you back. Find out more inside the course.

More soon. Until then, happy writing,

Lou xx

 

2 Comments

  1. Robin Houghton says:

    Hi Lou, really enjoyed this post. Actually even if you’re not doing it for money (eg poetry!) it’s a good psychological strategy. I struggle to focus on two writing projects at the same time but I find that starting something new as soon as Project A is out the door means that if it’s rejected, by that time I’m already working on and excited about Project B.

    1. Louise Tondeur says:

      Absolutely. It’s such a useful strategy for dealing with rejection – makes it less personal.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.