These are the rules of writing today:
1. Have a blog and post at least 2-3 times a week.
My rule: I now only write when I have something important to say.
2. Build up web traffic (via Facebook and Twitter) promoting yourself.
My rule: Sure I do this some, but I don’t schedule tweets or posts to any social network. I try to share others work more than I share my own as well.
3. Get as many comments, retweets and likes as possible, because they are the currency of blogging.
My rule: If I get those, that’s fine and dandy, but that’s not how I judge if the writing was effective or not. I have to like the writing myself and be able to say, “Hey, I really enjoyed that post.” I also only check my web stats a couple times a month, if that.
4. Build your email list.
My rule: Connect with people. I prefer to connect with people on Facebook, Twitter, email, text, and phone calls. Newsletters are impersonal to me, so I try to connect in a more personal way.
5. Guest post to get even more traffic.
My rule: I am super selective and make sure I can serve the host’s audience well. I don’t guest post all over the place any more, rather just in a few intentional places.
6. Reuse blog posts in ebooks to sell as products.
My rule: Some of this is unavoidable, but I don’t want a product to be the same as my blog. I try to keep the overlap as minimal as possible.
7. Follow steps 1-6 to get the attention of publishers and build up your audience.
My rule: I don’t want to publish with a traditional publisher. I believe strongly in self publishing. Sure, I want my audience to grow, but I also want to give the readers more personal attention.
I’m sure the original rules might work for some folks—and that is great—but they don’t work for me. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work for everyone.
The key is to find what works for you. Many of these things are so new what worked yesterday and brought success very likely won’t work tomorrow.
Have you found what works for you with your writing?