Years ago, I wrote a bestselling book called 9 Habits of Highly Profitable Writing. I’m assaying a second edition now, and that process includes posting each of the habits here for you, for free.
Habit 9: Think Abundance
Write Nonfiction is the most important habit for giving you the opportunity to make a good living as a writer. This last habit, though, is the most important for seizing that opportunity. It’s the difference between wanting to write for a living and actually writing for your daily bread.
Unlike other habits, this is less about what you do and more about how you think about the resources available to you.
Thinking abundance is the opposite of thinking scarcity, which is what most writers I work with do when I meet them. Most writers have the following monthly earning cycle:
- Write your butt off.
- Count up how much money you made.
- Spend that money.
It’s easy to fall into that rut, and the rut feels safe while you’re in it. However, it means you’re making only as much money as you happen to make. It’s no way to grow a freelancing business, and no way to meet those five year goals from Habit Seven. Perhaps worse, you never feel done writing for the month, or the week, or the day. There’s no “off” button because you haven’t defined a finish line.
Instead, consider the power of a different monthly earning cycle:
- Determine how much money you need to do the things you want.
- Figure out how much writing you must do to earn that much money.
- Write that much.
- Stop writing.
- Spend the money you earned.
This is thinking abundance. Instead of asking “Can I afford what I want?” you ask “What must I do to afford what I want?” It gives you control of how much you make from your freelance career, which means it lets you live exactly the life you want by writing for a living.
You can apply the abundance mindset to your time just as easily. When working a regular job, sometimes you have to be at work instead of going on vacation or seeing your child’s recital. When freelancing with a scarcity mindset, things get even worse. You skip all kinds of things you want to do because you feel like you have to work all the time.
Instead, apply the question “What must I do to get to do what I want?”
Want to coach your kid’s soccer team every Tuesday and Thursday evening? Schedule a little extra work on Monday and Wednesday night, or on Saturday morning before everybody gets up. Want to take a two week vacation? Spend two months doing an extra assignment a week until you’ve amassed enough saving to not have to work while you’re away. You never have to ask anybody for permission, and there’s no limit to the flexibility of your time…as long as you plan for it and commit those extra hours.
On the back end, this is how regular jobs figure vacation time. You get paid more than your salary for each day you work, and that extra pay gets applied to some time you don’t come to work in the future. That’s exactly like working harder for a day so you can take another day off. The only difference is when you freelance with an abundant mindset, you’re the one in control of how much, how often and when you get to do that.