The key to remember, is writing gets easier.
I’ve written right around 100 blog posts so far for this site (I have two others that I play with but this is the ‘flagship’). I am by no means a writing expert but by nature of my work and my interest marketing, technology and social media, I end up reading about writing and specifically how to write a successful blog quite a bit.
This post was originally inspired by a series that Chris Brogan published on how to write a book (links below) With that said…
Writing gets easier the more you write.
You have to find a groove and find your voice and the only way to do that is to write and write some more and eventually it becomes easier.
Specifically for a blog, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Whether its for fun or for work, it takes time. You shouldn’t expect hundreds of visitors after your first post, maybe even after your first year, or even five years. In fact, you’ll probably be incredibly disappointed after you’re first ‘masterpiece’ of a post is published….because no one showed up. Where is everyone?
Chris Brogan is actually a great example of what NOT to expect. He posts every day. He has hundreds of followers and he makes lots of money. This doesn’t happen right away. It may not happen at all but what you can take from Chris and others like him are simple rules to write by. I highly recommend reading the series of posts he wrote on the discipline of writing and what works for him. And if you want a good book on writing in general, I loved Chuck Wendig’s 500 Ways To Be A Better Writer
Put Forth The Effort
In his posts one of the key points he tries to hit home with is, It’s all about putting forth the effort. The biggest obstacle I face, like most people, is sitting down to actually write. Topics come from all sorts of places so if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find them. Once you have a topic in mind, sitting down and putting your thoughts on paper (or keyboard) is the hardest part.
Another point that Chris talks about is making a habit of writing. That means setting a schedule and sticking to it. For me, its posting on Thursdays. I make myself post each week, which doesn’t sound that hard, but things get in the way. Writers block sets in. You can’t find your voice. You’re going on vacation…all of a sudden it’s late Wednesday night (or worse, Thursday morning) and you’ve got nothing. All of those may be good excuses but if you let yourself skip one week/one day/ one month whatever you’re schedule is, you’re more likely to skip next time you run into something that just came up.
Something else to remember about keeping your schedule is how you make yourself available to write. Truth be told, a lot of my ideas hit me around 8:00 in the morning when I sit down at my desk, open my email and check some headlines. Maybe that’s when my brain is most open to ideas and not so cluttered with what needs to get done that morning, but it’s a time when my ideas seem to hit me. Being that I’m at work, I don’t open WordPress to start writing a new post. Instead I’ll send myself a quick email or use Google documents to jot down some quick notes on what I was thinking so that I don’t forget.
Regardless of how you save your ideas and keep notes (Evernote is another good one), doing it makes writing so much easier. If you have something to help guide you and get started, sitting down and finishing becomes a much less daunting task. I very rarely actually write my posts in WordPress. They are all usually copied and pasted from my doc and then edited in WordPress.
This isn’t anything new or ground breaking. It’s repeated by numerous writers and bloggers over and over again…and again here, but it’s a good reminder.
Set Realistic Goals
Something else that goes along with this is to set realistic goals. One of the more noteworthy people who have preached this is Seth Godin. He’s written numerous posts about keeping a schedule and not breaking the routine. He also talks about not setting yourself up for failure. So don’t start writing and think that you’ll put something out there every day (unless you really have the time, effort and ability to write daily), make it realistic and work your way up to the goal. Start writing once a week or once a month, whatever makes the most sense. Then if it becomes easier, increase the frequency. Never decrease or you’ll end up looking back to a several month gap since your last post and by then it’ll feel too late to start up again.
The last thing I’ll mention that has helped me tremendously for keeping this thing going and hopefully continuing to stay on schedule is simply to keep writing. The more you write, the easier it becomes. No matter what you’re writing, for fun or for work, the more time you spend finding your voice, the easier it becomes to use it.
If you’re interested in this topic, check out some additional books and articles that I’ve found extremely helpful and motivating below. If you have any of your own, please leave them in the comments section below.