Time flies, doesn’t it! Well, now that I’ve been writing full-time for three years, I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned. A few of these are really simple, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. On to the list.
1. Writing is rarely just about the writing. It is often more about presentation, marketing, and networking. If your website looks absolutely terrible, that is a contributing factor to why you don’t have many readers.
2.Your writing must be interesting. 99% of readers don’t care about Oxford commas, sentence fragments, run-ons and, in most cases, even typos. As long as the message is clear—that is, clear enough to let the writing entertain the reader—that is what matters most.
3. Publish less and edit more. I’m not saying don’t write a lot—you should—but don’t hit the publish button as often. One great or even good blog post is better than 40 mediocre ones.
Don’t try to compete with other writers putting out more posts or words than you are. You’ll never win.
4. Headlines are ABSOLUTELY critical to your success. Without a great headline, it is very likely only your mom and a few bored Facebook friends that read your posts.
5. Most advice about how to do things is just a preference or opinion. Very few other rules apply today as things change so quickly. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.
6. Your writing is not about you. If you want to write for yourself, that’s fine, but let’s be clear—that’s really more of a journal or a diary. Unless you’re Oprah (or some other huge celebrity) it is best to write for a particular audience or you will spend the majority of your time spinning your wheels. Write to help the audience. Even if you write fiction, you want to take the audience on an adventure and solve the problem of boredom.
7. If you want to be a writer, you have to be a marketer as well. It is UNAVOIDABLE. Marketing is NOT a dirty word. It is just how you spread a message or share a story. Don’t let the sleazy, pushy guy in an ugly sport coat skew how you view marketing.
Marketing is just storytelling. And if you write a good story, over time, some of them will spread.
8-10. But most importantly, I’d like to ask you to write these three things forever on your brain forever in regards to your writing:
Entertain. Inform. Don’t be a jerk.
That’s it. And yes, I know I mentioned your writing has to be entertaining twice in two of the points above. It’s THAT important. I’m not saying this is easy though. Even this post right here is competing with MILLIONS (if not billions) of other options fighting for your attention.
Want more writing info? Just click here and I’ll send you some helpful writing resources.
Got anything you would add to this list? I’d love to hear it in the comments!