Shelley Wilson Writing Mentor, Writing at Christmas
Writing Tips

How To Focus on Your Writing Projects Over the Festive Period #WritingTips

blank notebook and pencil on a wooden board surrounded by red and white Christmas decorations and tree branches

How to Focus on Your Writing Projects Over the Festive Period

December is upon us, and you’re either excited about the prospect of wearing your Christmas jumper and attending all the glittering parties, or you’re in a blind panic about how much you’ve got left to do. It’s the same with our writing projects. We can enjoy any time off from work by allocating some creative time, or we can struggle to fit in a single sentence as the chaos of Christmas unfolds.

How can you focus on your writing then? Here are my top 5 tips for staying motivated over the festive period.

  1. Leave all your expectations under the tree! Don’t commit to writing 5000 words in December or telling yourself you’ll batch write five blog posts before 1st January. If your festive season is usually jam-packed, then why is this year going to be any different? Give yourself a break.
  2. Get up early and take advantage of a dedicated writing hour before the household wakes up. There’s something quite magical about switching on the Christmas tree lights, making yourself a coffee or tea, and writing in the silence of an early morning.
  3. Organise yourself beforehand. Having your blog planner pinned to the fridge, or your novel outline to hand means you can dip in and out of your projects if time allows.
  4. Don’t underestimate the power of rewards. Yes, you might be squirrelling away selection boxes for the kids, scarves and gloves for the grandparents, and trying to disguise oddly shaped parcels in your wardrobe so inquisitive eyes don’t find them, but take time to reward yourself for every blog post you write and every chapter you finish. Even if that treat is something simple like a hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows as you juggle your writing and shopping sprees.
  5. Establish a routine. It’s well documented that routines help manage stress and anxiety. Creating a writing schedule at any time of year is a great way to motivate yourself for the long term. Setting aside just twenty minutes a day to write can be enough to get you over any busy times during the year.

Do you have another way of coping with your writing projects over the festive season? Or perhaps you prefer to take a wordy break and enjoy some time off. I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave me a comment or share any advice to my Writing Mentor Facebook page.

Nail Your 60 Second Networking Pitch, Shelley Wilson Writing Mentor,
Business Support, Networking

Nail Your 60 Second Networking Pitch

Nail Your 60 Second Pitch

Nail Your 60 Second Networking Pitch, Shelley Wilson Writing Mentor Blog

If you’ve ever been to a networking event there’s a strong likelihood that you’ve been asked to introduce yourself and your business in a short amount of time. Some groups are relaxed about this introduction and allow you to pace yourself and include a few anecdotes, whereas other groups use a stopwatch to ensure you don’t go over that allocated 60 second slot.

If you pre-plan your pitch then no matter how a group is run (relaxed or regimented), you’ll nail your moment in the spotlight and gain valuable connections.

There are different ways of referring to this process:

60 second pitch

Elevator pitch

Mission statement

Brand story or message

Whatever you choose to call it isn’t important, but what you say can make the difference between capturing a lead or disappearing into a sea of faces in a large networking room. There have been certain pitches I’ve heard over the years that have prompted me to seek out the speaker and introduce myself after the introductions. Not necessarily because I needed their services or products, but because they left a positive impression and I felt the pull to find out more.

If you follow a few basic rules when planning your 60 second pitch then you won’t go wrong.

  1. Who are you? It might seem like an obvious thing to start with, but you’d be surprised by how many people either introduce themselves by name and forget to mention their business name, or vice versa. By starting with a clear and confident “hello, I’m Doris and I’m the owner of the Dotty Dog Grooming Parlour,” you’ll have made a positive start.
  2. What do you do? It’s not enough to give out your business name without a short explanation. Dotty’s Dog Grooming Parlour is an easy stretch for most people to work out, but what if your business is called Xact Solutions? The other people in the room aren’t interested in how many years you’ve worked for yourself, how long it took you to find premises, or if you left a career in law to fulfil that desire for self-employment. They only want to know how you can help them. If Xact Solutions is a website design company then say that, if it’s a social media management company then include how you can make life easier for the people who are looking to outsource this part of their business.
  3. Expand on how you can help your customers. Doris might include “we offer two levels of dog grooming, the first is a basic trim and nail clip, and the second is a full shampoo, condition, blow dry, trim, and nail clip.” Straight away the people in the room can see how Doris and her company can help them. If they’re short on time and budget her basic service is a perfect fit, but she’s also given them an upsell option. We all want to know how a product or service will benefit us as consumers – think like a customer and sell yourself to fit the needs of your clients.
  4. Choose a key point to focus on at different events. If you offer a variety of services or products pick one to talk about at each group. If I attend a networking event with fellow authors I wouldn’t use my book writing pitch of “I can help you write your book.” That’s a redundant skill in a room full of writers. However, if I were to say, “I provide support for new and experienced authors to launch their platform and run book campaigns,” then I’m more likely to capture their interest. If you’re a VA you might have a few 60 second pitch options available to you. The best thing is to read the room, chat to a few people prior to the introductions, and go with your gut feeling about what the group might need help with. If it’s a young mothers’ networking group they may benefit from support with their social media content, if it’s a group of accountants, they may prefer help with data analysis, or running newsletter campaigns. Remember, it’s all about what you can do for them. Don’t cram your 60 seconds with a rambling list of all the services you can offer.

Here are a few examples of what a social media management company might include in their 60 second pitch aimed at three different clients.

Client 1 – “We help female business owners to expand their visibility and brand on LinkedIn to become a leader in their industry and boost their profile.”

Client 2 – “We help small business owners to create valuable social media content and build their brand visibility globally.”

Client 3 – “We support business owners with their Facebook advertising and brand message to generate sales while freeing up valuable time for them to work on their business.”

They’ve read the room (all female audience/small business owners) and chosen one specific area to target. It takes trial and error when out networking but the more you do it, the more you’ll be able to gauge what the attendees might need and how you can help.

Have a go at writing a few variations of your own 60 second pitch and test it out on a few honest friends or colleagues.

Need more help? Drop me an email with details of who you are and what you do and let me write that pitch for you. For more details about all the services I offer please check out my website