What I Learned From Writing 200 Blog Posts
How making one step at a time led to a viral post
I started taking blogging seriously only four months ago, promising myself to write one blog every day for three months. If you’ve just started a similar quest, I salute you for your bravery. This article will help you on your journey.
Making this intention is already half of the work. I hope my journey will give you enough techniques and inspiration to keep your journey to the summit going, even in times of headwind. The first top for me was writing a viral post. I will explain how this was not possible without first going through the Navy Seals training for aspiring writers.
Pulling yourself out of the slick mud of non curation and six views after you poured your heart and soul into a piece is an important part of the mental training to make it to your summit.
You will have your unique challenges, as you have your unique personality. But I believe there are some general obstacles to deal with for all aspiring new writers, phases in the writing process that will occur for most of us, and moments of acceleration. They always come unannounced and that’s one part of the fun and reward.
At the end of the day, we are all climbing our own Kilimanjaro of creativity and the best advice is to look just one step ahead instead of stopping to stare at the peak too much.
I do read the work of fellow bloggers that are standing on the peak and wave at us with their brilliant pieces, most of them on a daily basis. I can do nothing but dream to get there one day. I guess we share the same dream when you are serious about your goals. To do so, keep on walking, one blog post at the time. I hope my crystallized experiences will inspire you and further motivate you to make your journey easier on days you have sore feet and blisters.
The first part of my personal writing process was to set a goal. This was the three-month challenge to write every day. From December 2019 until February 2020. It had nothing to do with making money or setting money targets. Don’t put that first.
Define your goal and make it realistic and yet challenging
You will never grow when you don’t need to push even just a little bit. When you write one piece a month now, make it one piece a week. Realistic means you will make the time and space for it. That’s your first commitment.
It doesn’t have to be Kilimanjaro right away, maybe make it the 2,500-meter base camp with visible tracks that many have taken before you. When setting a clear and fixed goal, your stamina, focus, and determination will be tested. On my first track, I read many stories by other bloggers about their first journey to base camp to find out how this platform works and to stay inspired.
I reached my 2,500-meter base camp in two months. This first part of my journey was already such an inspiring journey, it transformed my life. That fuel made it possible to set my next goal, reaching the 5,000-meter camp.
The more you stick to your goal, the more inspired you will be
Holding on to my goal and reading others that did the same struggle before me, were the two things that kept me going in this first phase of earning under $100 a month. It was my dry food on the way, but in the mountains, it becomes of vital importance
Learn to Write First
The best teaching I had from reaching base camp was learning how to write blogs, and this is an ongoing process. When I hopefully at one moment will reach the top summit of my abilities, I know that will bring its own set of challenges.
Who knows if there will always be another summit hidden behind what we think is our limit
I discovered that writing every day, or almost every day, has become an amazing mirror and organizes my life in a miraculous way. It offers me clarity, connects me to my deeper creative currents. It gives me a deep feeling of satisfaction every time I hit the publish button. I am a creative writer. I meditate in the morning and tune into my inspiration for that day. Sometimes headlines just pop up and I start from there. Sometimes there is no inspiration: a street in Milan during a quarantine.
Because I have my goal and I know these days will pop up randomly, I am mentally prepared for them. Sometimes I surrender. I empty my head and socialize, I play frisbee with friends on the beach and I need to be away from the screen for a day. Sometimes I push through on will power. Training your writing muscle is about stretching it one blog post at a time and respecting your breaks to avoid writer’s burn out.
In my first two months of writing, many pieces got into the category of 21 views, six reads, and zero claps. I swallowed the bitter pill of low reward. We are not even talking curation yet. I gave everything I had for each and every single piece, and so should you. six reads is a slap in the face for sometimes four hours of work, even when I was convinced the core idea rocked. The idea might have been good, but apparently I still lacked the writing skills to mold that idea into gold for my readers. I didn’t know yet how to pour the message into enough value for my reader.
If your writing is great, you can write about almost anything, including the best way to hoard toilet paper in times of crisis. People will read this because you write coherently and appealingly. You learned to say everything with the least amount of words possible. Each sentence becomes a nail that hits the point in one go.
Your message becomes a present for the reader that unpacks itself organically throughout the post
That’s art, your end goal, the summit. The end goal for now. The little spurts I made in those first weeks in my writing skills were decisive to move on. I was learning something and that gave me fuel and joy. I believed that when I just would continue on my track and pace it would be only a matter of time to write that viral post. I didn't think about that at all really, I was just trying to make coherent valuable pieces and to get curated in the process. Recognize and celebrate your growth spurts but don’t focus on them. It is like looking back and seeing that you are suddenly 500 meters higher without even noticing.
Realize that when you write 30 pieces, one will stand out because you are learning and improving with each piece. It is like doing math, developing your unique writer’s rhythm will teach you everything about your creative and productive wave. And this wave for me was the key for going viral.
The Creative Wave
In my first two months of my three-month challenge, I made it to my base camp at 2,500 meters. I realized my growing spurts had little to do with claps, reads, or even curation. It was the feeling that I was slowly, very slowly, mastering something. The constant showing up seemed more important than the statistical reward. Not even talking money here in base camp. The reward was simple: to make better pieces one at the time.
The stats are a very useful tool and of course, they told me what readers like to read from me. But sometimes I just knew I wrote quite a good piece and nothing happened. Somehow Medium can be like a sudden cloudy storm obscuring the road ahead of you. The algorithms become whimsical powers of nature that make you believe you fell in a crack of curation jail or make you walk in a circle for a while. Don’t try to even understand them. I used the stats as a compass to find the tracks to base camp, but I kept on using my own intuition and inspiration.
When a subject or idea sets me on fire, I need to write about that disregarding how popular the theme is or what I believe my readers might want.
In the last month of my challenge, I was steadily on my way to the 5,000-meter camp, not knowing somewhere on the road would be my viral piece. Looking back, it wasn’t understanding the Medium Algorithm, it wasn’t my interpretation of the stats, it wasn’t changing my profile that made me write the viral piece.
Understanding my creative wave and learning to surf on it was the most important thing that led to my most successful post
I started to utilize all the above takeaways as I started to understand my natural rhythm of writing, so I acted accordingly. I started to recognize when I was super inspired and the words just poured out, and when I needed a break. I learned that it is all about this alignment. And suddenly I was there, at 5,000 meters. The viral piece. I can honestly say it went effortlessly. Why?
I found myself on the crest of the biggest creative wave so far. It was the accumulation of everything I had learned. All the steps I had made, one after the other, and remembering and integrating all the challenges including enjoying the journey. This is the piece:
- When you just start to write blog posts on this platform, make your first goal very clear and stick to your intention.
- In the process, you might stumble upon your niche or start your own publication. This requires full commitment, but you will be able to publish your content instantly and grow a niche following
- Write regular pieces that stretch your limit in order for you to keep on growing. Experiment both in subject and in style.
- In this process, you probably will start to discern your own creative wave. Learn how to optimize this wave on the way to your inevitable crest. Slowly but surely become the master of your creative impulses and rhythm.
- Dedicate yourself to take one step at a time. Take a break when you need and read a lot. Finally, don’t look at the summit too much.
I am sure you will find yourself suddenly on that peak, effortlessly writing a viral piece. Good luck and don’t forget to enjoy the process !
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