The world has gone up in flames just in the last few days, but the most pressing question facing us bloggers, especially the newbie ones like myself, is this: HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL BLOGGER WITH MILLIONS OF MONTHLY READERS?
Hey, it’s important! After all, we bloggers are striving to help our readers. It’s our BIG WHY! One reader at a time, we are enriching the lives of those we reach through our blogs every single day.
And, at the heart of this “success” we’re all striving for, is the content itself.
Let’s face it. The pre-requisite to being a successful blogger is… no, not a clever domain name, and no, it’s not a chic WordPress theme either… it’s a love for writing. Without that, my fellow compadres, we’re all doomed to mediocrity, if not worse.
It’s totally fine if you’re not a great writer in the beginning. Because contrary to popular belief, good writing is an acquired skill. Talent is a great thing to have, but hard work beats talent any day of the week. So, if you want to be a successful blogger making profit, however big or small, you need to consistently strive to become a better writer.
And to help you with that process, I have a few beginner tips that you can start implementing in your daily life right away!
Now, you may ask, why should you listen to me? That’s obvious, ain’t it?! I am learning to write, right now, so who better to let you in on the secrets than someone riding out the journey as we speak?
Now then, without further adieu:
1. The Obvious: Write Every Single Day
“If I started to wait for moments of inspiration, I would never finish a book.”
— Mario Vargas Llosa
Yep, that’s the first thing you need to do, and for good reasons too. First, writing, like any other craft or activity, requires discipline. Contrary to popular belief, writing does not much depend on inspiration. It depends on constantly crunching out ideas for stories. And that my friends, happens when you train yourself to do so.
I am not BS-ing you here. After I decided to take writing seriously, I started sitting down with my laptop every single day. The first couple of days were the worst. The blank screen gave me a headache pretty fast, so I switched to old-school notebook and Pilot G2. The headache subsided, but the notebook continued to glare at me with its blank pages none the less.
But then magic happened. I got an idea, and then the next idea, and now I can’t stop getting ideas! GUYS! I CAN’T STOP…. HELLPPP… I am thinking about the next article in the shower, while ordering my usual burrito bowl at Chipotle, and even in my dreams!
Here’s what you should do. Block out some time every day dedicated to writing only. Put it on your calendar if need be. This will create intention and will help you get in the mood. The key is to be consistent. How long or how much you write is insignificant at this stage. You may write for 5 minutes, or just one sentence, but the key is to continue to do this EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!
(Pro-tip: When just starting out, if you have no clue what to write, write whatever. Really… the sky is blue, the guy next door is too loud in the mornings… kid at Starbucks smells like pee… JUST WRITE! That’s all you have got to do — WRITE!)
2. Learn the Rules
I know the fad is to forget all the rules. That’s all nice and dandy, but in order to break the rules, you need to first internalize the rules. It’s like playing the piano. First, you practice for years to learn the rules, and then you can bend or even break the rules as you please, and still make a captivating sound. I’m not a pianist, but I’m quite certain that most jazz pianists would agree.
Writing works much the same way. You see, each genre of writing has its own set of do’s and don’ts. You need to follow a certain pattern for an academic essay, different rules for short stories, and yet more different rules for novels, or blog posts, or ad copy, or a perfect pitch. Learn the rules first, then bend or break them as you see fit.
Research what you want to write whenever possible. For example, I am trying to write more blog posts, so I spend some time every day researching what makes a blog post stand out: a captivating post title, an unconventional first line, short paragraphs and short sentences, headers and sub-headers, lists and how-tos, etc., for example.
3. Read with Intention
The best way to learn to write well is to read well. Don’t just read a text. Read with intention. The intention to learn and internalize everything you are reading. Keep a notebook and pen with you while reading so you may take notes on interesting usage of certain words, or a word whose meaning and thesaurus you need to look up, or an entire quote or passage you wish to revisit later. Reading is, in my opinion (and I’m sure many a seasoned author will agree), the most important and the most effective strategy for learning to write well.
Read a lot of what you wish to write. I have been trying to hone my skills for writing posts on Medium, so every day, I spend a considerable time reading popular posts on this platform.
4. Improve Your Vocabulary and Thesaurus
“One of the things that really good writing does is that it’s able to get across massive amounts of information and various favorable impressions of the communicator with minimal effort on the part of the reader.”
— David Foster Wallace
I know this is supposed to be advice from your fellow student of writing (a.k.a me), but here I feel like I should quote someone quotable to really drive the point home. The quote above says it all. Your writing needs to be simple but effective in order to be considered good. And the first step in learning to do that is by improving one’s vocabulary and thesaurus.
5. Revise, Revise, Revise
No piece of writing is complete until you have revised it at least three times. Well, at least that’s how many times it takes me to revise a single article for it to be considered sharable with the public. You do not revise only to eliminate spelling and grammar mistakes per se, although those are just as good as any reason. You revise to economize your words, make sentences more interesting, and just to improve what you have said already in a way that reinforces the David Foster Wallace quote I mentioned in the previous section.
Starting out, if you think revising three times is too much, then start off with revising at least once. Even that will considerably improve a certain piece of article/essay/post or whatever it is you are writing, I guarantee that!
Your first draft should be written freestyle. Don’t overthink it. It’s during the revisions that you really dig deeper and bring out the essence of a certain piece while getting rid of all the redundancies.
BONUS: Don’t Quit!
You’ve read it! Don’t quit guys! You will most definitely think of quitting when you first start writing, but that’s OK, and expected. Those who refuse to quit are the ones who make the coolest things happen in this world. Don’t be a quitter. Stick to it. Create your own pace, and improve at your own pace. But above all, do not quit. Keep going, keep writing, and soon you will fall in love with this craft, and you won’t even want to quit anymore! Because you know what? Writing is one of the most satisfying things one can ever do!
For the time being though, believe in what I am saying and keep going!
Share with me a writing tip that’s helped you with your blogging in the comments so we can all learn from you! 🙂
It's time to grow your blog already!
Sign up for weekly tips on blogging, branding, design, business, and monetizing your hobbies and skills + Subscribers get access to the library of epic freebies!
Your email is safe here; no spam, like, EVER! You can unsubscribe at any time.