5 Mistaken Beliefs that Keep You From Blogging — And What to Do Instead
For creative people, the problems are mostly in the mind. And the solutions are mainly mindsets.
If you’ve been struggling getting started as a blogger or a writer, here are 5 myths that need busting.
Myth 1) I need to get a sense of clarity first, then I can start writing.
That’s not how it works.
Clarity doesn’t come until you’re taking action. You can’t steer a boat that isn’t moving.
Do what it takes to get a sense of momentum.
Once you’re in action, you can make adjustments as you go. Start writing now and start posting your writing online now.
After you’ve been doing this regularly for a month or more, you’ll have more of that clarity you need.
Myth 2) I don’t need a system. I just write.
How’s that going for you? Have you been writing as much as you want to?
If you don’t have a system, you’ll try to write and edit at the same time. This doesn’t work. You’ll get bogged down. Writing will start to feel like a lot of work.
Put a system in place for the different steps in writing:
- Collect ideas/prompts/topics
- Turn them into paragraphs
- Compile, develop, and edit for a final presentation
Writing teacher Jeff Goins calls this the 3-Bucket System. Read this:
Myth 3) I’m going to put my big idea into one self-contained presentation.
No, you’re not.
It takes a great deal of experience and hard work to be able to put your biggest, best idea into a single, complete unit. You won’t learn to be a great communicator by attempting this right out of the gate. You’ll end up looking like a crazy person. (You know it’s true.)
As a writer, it’s normal to want to help people understand things as you see them, big picture. But other people don’t know what you know; you have to give them a piece of the big picture — not the whole thing.
You’re growing as a communicator. Don’t try to put all your relevant knowledge about a topic into any single presentation right now. (Don’t try to put everything into a single article or a single book.) All knowledge is connected to other knowledge. If you try to show all that you know, your presentation will likely sprawl out and become impossible to digest.
Don’t even try to put all the important information into a single presentation.
Change your criteria. Include only what is most essential.
- Show that your topic is important.
- Motivate the reader to seek out answers in more depth on their own.
- That’s it!
Here’s how to do this:
Ask yourself, What would I say to someone about my topic if I had just 10 minutes to talk with them? How much ground could I cover?
Or for a longer presentation such as a book, ask, What would I say in a 1-on-1 conversation that lasted 1-2 hours?
In that limited time, what is the one thing you would explain to someone so that they could immediately benefit from what you said? That’s the material to give them. (Basically, you can orient them and motivate them. That’s it!)
Myth 4) I can do this alone.
No, you can’t.
Bloggers and authors are weird. Most people don’t have that same passion for writing and creating. It can get lonely. Even alienating.
You need to be around people who understand the passion for writing and creating.
- These people will keep you grounded so your writing won’t “talk down” to your reader.
- Peers will help you find opportunities you didn’t know about.
- Eventually, the right peers can help promote your writing, and visa versa.
“Networking” sounds like a cheesy sales thing, but you need to take the idea seriously. Grow a personal network of people relevant to your goals.
This doesn’t mean being weird or pushy or trying to get people to do something for you. It means being interested in other people who are doing work similar to yours, and being friendly and intentional.
To grow your personal network, try this:
1) Pay attention when you come across people who could be interesting or relevant to you. If they are writing or creating content, that’s a good sign. These could be people you see in person or on social media. They could be other writers ranging from beginners to experts in the field. As you come across people who might be relevant to you, keep a list. Don’t evaluate as you add people to the list. Just write down names you *might* want to remember.
2) Around once a month (or more if you have time) contact one person. Message them on Facebook and say, “Hey, could we do a phone call today?” You don’t need to offer much explanation until they ask. Then tell them you noticed their writing or their posts, you found them interesting, and you thought it would be good to get to know them. It’s that simple. If they are not on Facebook, try reaching out via email or Twitter.
3) If you’re wanting to get to know a higher profile writer, ask if they would like to be interviewed. As the interviewer, you do most of the work. The other person just shows up. This is a realistic way to catch the interest of someone who already has a large audience. Once you have spent time with someone in an interview context, the ice is broken and they will at least begin to think of you as more than a stranger.
Myth 5) I am a disciplined person.
No, you’re not.
Even if you’re disciplined in other areas of life, discipline in creative pursuits such as writing rarely comes naturally.
Don’t imagine that you’re more disciplined than you really are.
Deal with the reality:
Often, you don’t feel like writing. Often, you write as the whim comes. And sometimes that’s for the best. But if you want to move toward becoming a more serious and productive writer, you’ll need to put a system in place to help with your discipline.
Create a simple Time Log.
Each day, fill out the amount of minutes you spent writing. Set a small minimal goal per day. Exceed that goal as you feel like it.
Daily Writing Goal — 20 Minutes
January 1: 30 minutes
January 2: 10 minutes
January 3: 60 minutes
Your will-power is not something you should take for granted. Will-power comes and goes. Do what it takes to set habits and routines that let you succeed even when you’re feeling distracted or unmotivated.
Students taking music lessons typically have to fill out a time log. Your will-power isn’t that much greater than the kid. Sometimes kids are motivated, sometimes not. But a time log can keep them on target.
Don’t expect yourself to be superhuman. When you use a time log, you’re acknowledging that writing can be hard work, that you are not superhuman, and that you sometimes need a system in order to be at your best.
If you have an “off” day, log it as 0 minutes. The fact that you tracked your work (or lack thereof) will keep you honest about what you’re really putting into the project and what kind of results you should expect to see based on that work.
Typically, what gets measured, gets improved.
I need to get a sense of clarity first, then I can start writing.
Get working, then clarity will come.
I don’t need a system. I just write.
The best writers have a system to collect ideas, compose, and edit at different times.
I’m going to put my big idea into one self-contained presentation.
A good presentation has to be selective. You will say it better when you try to say less things.
I can do this alone.
You need a personal network of writers.
I am a disciplined person
You need a Time Log and a writing routine.
Now that you’ve dispelled these 5 myths, get started. After all, writers write.
One more thing: Would you like to use my personal system to get started?
Click here for free access to Writers Write: The 5-Day Challenge.