“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” -Steven Pressfield
Blogging and content writing is a hot industry right now.
With just a brain, a keyboard, and access to the internet one can take what is in his/her imagination and share it with the world.
He or she can take their passions and share it with the world.
This amazing opportunity is a double-edged sword.
- It is a positive because everyone feels so special that they want to share their voice with the world.
- It is a negative because if you are one of the people Pressfield is talking about above, it will be one of the scariest things you’ve ever undertook.
The irony is you have been given a platform where your wildest dreams are so easily accessible but find yourself terrified to pull the trigger.
I’ve been there. I’ve been writing for my entire life. Most of that life I kept my writing to myself. I thought I wasn’t putting out “good enough” work for the world to see so I kept it to myself.
About a year ago I changed that and started publishing my work online. Since doing so I have seen my work:
I have built a community of writers on my site.
I have built an income as a result.
I have had my work published on other sites.
I’d like to share the lessons that I’ve learned with my writing in order to produce better content.
Write until your hands hurt.
“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” -Stephen King
Writing is a very difficult endeavor. Writing “good” content is even more a pursuit. Well how does one get better at content writing? The simple answer is practice. Write every fucking day. There really is no excuse. Most of your writing is going to be bad. It’s like Venture Capitalism: You invest in 10 companies knowing 9 will fail. The 1 company that does succeed will pay for the losses of the other 9.
“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” -Bill Gates
This is a very hard step in being a writer. We think everything we put out into the world is “solid gold.” The hard truth is that it’s not. Again, so much of your content is going to be bad, So seeks feedback from your audience (or your potential audience). How do you do that? Well send your work to friends and family. Also, make sure to foster comments and a discussion with your work.
Understand that your opinion is different than the reader’s.
“The perception of beauty is a moral test.” -Henry David Thoreau
I’ve fallen into the trap of always thinking my work is crap (sometimes it is). I’ve seen so many times throughout my writing career that I will write an article, think it’s crap and get amazing feedback. People will respond and tell me, “wow, this is fantastic. I really like your writing.” It surprises me often. On the other side, I can feel like I’ve just written my “Magnum Opus” and get negative feedback. Once the content is out in the world, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. That’s a beautiful thing.
Ask and seek help.
“A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.” -Simon Sinek
You cannot get to where you want to go alone. You are going to need people who have been where you are looking to go. You are going to need people that can help catalyze your progression. We live in such a beautiful time that we can access this help through many different means (cough, cough enter Quora for instance). You can find video modules, ebooks, Youtube, conventions, online coaches etc on top of meeting people in the flesh.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” -Stephen King
You cannot get better at writing unless you read a bunch of material that is being put out into the world. Human beings aren’t created in a vacuum. We are social creatures. We need to spread and absorb ideas. Look at the style of other writers, look at the vocabulary of other writers, look at their sentence structure. Read articles, read non-fiction, read fiction, read poetry. Get your hands on whatever you can and expand your own language set.
Have the belief in yourself that you can do it.
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” — Thomas Jefferson
This is a fundamental attribute for every facet of life. If you are going into a baseball game with your team and think for just a moment that you aren’t going to win, chances are you will lose. This is true as a content writer as well. If you always think your work is crap and that you are a “bad” writer, you probably will always and forever remain a terrible writer.
There is no “shortcut” one can take in order to become a better writer overnight. It is going to take time and practice.
Think about when you were a kid in perhaps second grade. Why did you take math class?
To get better at addition and subtraction.
It took me a long time to understand how this applies to the more subjective fields of writing and art- but it’s true!
You are going to need to practice and put your words out in the world. This is the best and more efficient way to become a better blogger and content writer.