“Write what you know.” It’s a cliché critiqued by many.
The edgier alternatives recommend you, “Write what you don’t know” or “Write what you want to know.”
Here’s my take on the idea: “Write what you hustle,” or the reverse, “Hustle what you write.”
Nowadays, it doesn’t matter what you write about—just that you’re hustling to promote it. You must promote yourself and your writing to grab people’s attention and involve them: Create a platform, create a brand, create a blog. Surely, you know the drill by now.
Starting my blog—HUSTLE UP—was one of those “ah-ha” moments: I realized I had to hustle what I write. As a freelance writer and communications consultant, I’ve tried my hand at a lot of different types of writing and topics, but nothing really clicked until HUSTLE UP.
My first attempt at blogging covered the environment, politics, travel and such. Since I focused my scholastic studies on these subjects, I was trying to make sense of it all and blog about something I thought I should. I was lost. I didn’t know what I was doing or how to hustle it.
However, I now understand that each attempt was part of my journey to bring me where I am today—to a place where I’m more calm and confident about my path as a writer. Through trial and error, I discovered a blogging format and topic that I enjoy: featuring people and their “hustles” in interview-format profiles. It’s a fun way for people to share their stories, promote their projects, and get inspired!
Hustling is something we all do to make a living and survive. It’s about working hard, pursuing your dreams, and figuring out what makes you happy along the way. The traditional definition of hustling implies shadiness and struggle, but my definition is honestly putting your heart, soul, and guts into everything you do—and seeing where it takes you.
Here are a few tips that may help as you hustle along:
* Explore and try your hand at different types of writing. The path to figuring out what you like may have some twists and turns. That’s okay. Enjoy the ride and don’t trip.
* Be prepared to promote what you are writing. Make sure it fits with your personality and day-to-day lifestyle because you’ll need to blog, Facebook, YouTube, and tweet about it on a regular basis to garner any kind of an audience.
* Engage all of your friends, family, colleagues, and contacts. Networking isn’t enough. People need a reason to care. Involve them. Scratch each others’ backs. Support each others’ projects. Comment on each others’ blogs. In other words, share the love!
* Go with the flow since your writing projects may take you somewhere unexpected. You might start in editorial, then segue into copywriting, screenwriting, or ghostwriting. If something piques your interest or a random opportunity presents itself, go for it and see where it leads. It might be somewhere exciting!
Romance novelist Valerie Sherwood (who wrote those books in the 70’s and 80’s that had hot Fabio-looking dudes ravishing women on the covers) was famously quoted as stating:
“Don’t write what you know—what you know may bore you, and thus bore your readers. Write about what interests you—and interests you deeply—and your readers will catch fire at your words.”
And I would add to that: “Don’t forget to hustle it.”
Shannon Flaherty is a writer in Los Angeles who’s hustling many projects: her career as a copywriter (she currently works for the Walt Disney Company), in addition to being a screenwriter, journalist, and blogger. HUSTLE UP is an interview-format blog that presents tales of tackling jobs, dreams and the in-betweens. Also, visit www.shannonflaherty.com and give her a shout. She wants to know “What’s Your Hustle?”
Tags: Blogging Following your Passion Hustle Up Shannon Flaherty To Write & To Hustle Valerie Sherwood Writing