What I learned after writing 532 blog posts and 7 books
I still suck at writing…
Even though I probably passed the magic 10,000 hours a long time ago I’m still far away from mastery. Not only this. I’m far away from being among the best of the best in my field.
Nonetheless, I feel like I’ve learned quite a few things about writing. And because most of the stuff on writing is repetitive, I’ll try to focus on the things you’ve probably never read anywhere else, yet.
And yes, I’m not among the best in the field of writing, so I’m not qualified enough to give you advice on writing. But whatever…
# BS in. BS out.
If you constantly read listicles and useless garbage, then you’ll also produce useless garbage. Try to be as selective as possible about what you read online. I read maybe 2–3 people online.
People only read your stuff when they trust you. After all, reading an article is a commitment. It’s an investment. It’s a time investment. And time is one of the most important things we have. So don’t buy into this storytelling BS out there that it’s necessary to write 2000 words long posts. If I don’t know you, if I don’t trust you, if I don’t believe that you’re worth my time, then I’ll just not read your stuff. I know. Writing is art. But the best art in the world will not be looked at or appreciated when we don’t know the person it’s coming from. So make it easier for people to find out about you. To trust you. And to read your stuff. Shake it up every once in a while and don’t write 2000 words long stuff.
Try to shake things up every once in a while. Write short posts. Long posts. Post videos. Pictures. Reinvent yourself. Constantly. Do what nobody else is doing. Do what everybody is afraid of. Do something that’s against your “brand.” That might hurt your “brand”. Don’t think about the consequences. Just think about shaking things up every once in a while to keep things fresh…
By the way, if you’re constantly worried about your brand, you probably don’t have a brand…
# Have a day
If you don’t have an exact day dedicated where you write and publish that blog post, it will never happen. Consistency is key. And for me, the best thing I ever did was to write and publish one post a day. Simply because it takes away every decision and time wasters of writing. When you write every day (or every Tuesday and Thursday or whatever), then you won’t have to worry about what to write about, when to write, when to publish, will it be good enough and some more useless thoughts. All you’ve gotta do is to write. And then hit the publish button. No matter what.
# Write what you know
I know. This advice might seem simple. Still, most people don’t seem to follow that advice. Most people write about things they have no clue about. They write about the stuff they have read somewhere else. And you know what happens when you write about something that you have no clue about? The first thing that’s going to happen is that you’ll sound like everybody else out there. And the second thing is writer’s block. The only time I ever had writer’s block in my life was when I tried to write about something I didn’t really know that much about. Simply because if you haven’t done it yet, if you have no clue about it, then you won’t have enough stuff to write about…
# Write about your thoughts
Write about the things you think about. Not only will this help you to kill writer’s block, but it will also make your writing authentic. Because you write down your thoughts. In your own voice. And that’s authenticity. The stuff people like. But what if you only have crappy thought? See #1. BS in. BS out.
# Talk to yourself
Everything I write, every piece of advice I give is advice I give to myself. So that maybe one day I might be able to follow my own advice and become a better person.
# Don’t start
If you’re already super busy and your schedule just doesn’t allow it, then please don’t start writing. Or at least don’t publish it. If you don’t have the time to write, if you don’t have the time to improve your writing, then you’ll never be able to see any results. No one will heart your stuff. No one will like it. And because we’re all humans with feelings and emotions this will only drag you down. No matter how much you say you’re doing this just for you. Because at the end of the day you’ll be frustrated if you don’t get any feedback at all. That’S just how we roll. And then all of the other stuff you’re doing will also be affected. So please, do yourself a favor and don’t start publishing your stuff online if you already know that you don’t have enough time..
That being said, not every article you publish has to be a home run. As a matter of fact most of your articles will be just ok. Just like most of my articles are just ok. Just like Seth Godin’s articles are just ok. I need to write maybe 20 blog posts to write one really good blog post. Maybe even more. So how can you write more really good blog posts? I don’t know about you. But for me, the second point works…
# Talk less
Sometimes I don’t talk to anyone for days. The more you talk, the less time you’ll have to think. And the less time you have to think, well you know the results. You can see it every day on TV and in the news.
# Read less
Reading doesn’t make you a better writer. Only writing does make you a better writer. So stop reading your 5000th blog post about how to become a better writer and get going. Sit down and write. And then never ever stop again!
# Be everywhere
People constantly ask me where they should write. “Should I start my own blog? Should I write on Medium? What about Quora? What’s the best platform for me to get started?” Here’s the thing. I don’t know! Be everywhere. Publish your stuff everywhere. You’ve gotta be everywhere. You’ve gotta be where your readers are. And not where you want them to be.
# I don’t know
I use this all the time. Why? I don’t know.
# The first two
The first two lines and the last two lines are the most important ones. The first two lines because if they suck, people will stop reading. And the last two lines because if they’re good, then people are going to hit the share or that like button…
# Break the chain
You might think you can skip writing for a day. Or a week. No problem. But that’s wrong! The moment you break the chain, you’ll get sloppy. And the first time you skip it won’t be the last time. You’ll do it over and over and over again. Until it’s been a few months since you wrote that last piece and then it’s pretty much over…
# Write like you’ve got nothing to lose
No matter what you do, copy the hell out of someone who has already successfully done what you want to do. But always remember the first rule. Limit your consumption to a maximum of 5 people whose stuff you read. BS in. BS out.
# No money
No one makes money writing anymore. Maybe the people who started blogging and writing 20 years ago still do. But everybody else just doesn’t make enough money to survive. Maybe the top 0,1% do. And the rest of us have to find other ways to be able to pay the bills.
But the most important rule of them all is that you should ignore all writing advice out there. Including this one. Especially this one…
This was a part of my upcoming book. You can pre-order it here.