You want a blog. You want a presence online of some sort. You want your ideas, opinions and insights to alter or improve someone’s day even in the slightest. But you haven’t done that yet.
There’s plenty of great information about what you should be writing about, how to host your page, differentiation, networking, email lists, making money and all that here ,here , and here, but I’m talking about the thing that matters most: the act of actuallywriting.
Here are 4 pieces of abnormal advice for all you would-be-bloggers out there.
Write For Yourself
A lot of us want a blog but we tell ourselves that we can’t start because of words like “SEO, domains, platforms, plugins, design” and all that. But that’s a lie. We don’t want to start a blog because we’re afraid that no one will read our best post – which will inevitably be our first post, and mathematically will be our only post.
If you want to start a blog, sell yourself on the idea that you will be the only one reading your posts for the first 3 months. Can you enjoy the writing craft enough – and do you have enough to say about a topic – to write for yourself (not to yourself) for a season? Because if you can’t, then there’s no way your blog will turn 5 years old, 3 years old or even 1 year old.
Your first posts are for you, not for everyone else. It’s to prove to yourself that you can take all of these complex ideas you have been trying to cram into an overstuffed suitcase, and find a way to make it concise enough to close the zipper.
Oh, and no one will read it. It will sit in the crosshairs of the Internet’s broken spotlight.
Fine wines are not fine wines at the stomping of a grape. Same goes for our writing prowess. We can’t get to our better posts, until we go through the aging process of our first posts.
This leads me to my next point.
Believe That Your First Post Will Be Your Worst Post
When I read the first post I ever wrote, I chuckle. It might not be my absolute worst post but at the time, it was the best thing I had so I put it out into the world believing that I’d have more useful things to say at some point.
I couldn’t know what those things might be at the time, of course, but it was a trusting that I needed to embody.
So if you only think you have 4 weeks of useful things to say, you’ll be surprised at what happens at week 5. Either you’ll be right, in which case you can stop worrying about continuing a blog and instead go do something else, or you’ll be wrong, and you’ll be able to discover the scrumptious pistachio of a post you had hidden behind the shell of tired ideas.
Write Less Than You’re Capable Of
I am morphing this from an idea on meditating that I read in Search Inside Yourself. Usually, to prove to ourselves how great we are, we’ll do exactly what we’re capable of. But, if in the beginning of the blogging process, we use our inspiration and write what we’re capable of, our over-bloated motivation will quickly metastasize into a chore. And that is zero fun. I used to write two posts a week because I could do it and was excited to do it at first. But it ended up being a huge emotional and time investment that I started to not enjoy it anymore.
So in the beginning, don’t try to post as much as you think you could. Post half of that time. Let roots take hold before you try to build your tree.
Each week I never really know what I’m going to write about. When I post an article on Wednesday, I immediately think to myself, “Well, that’s probably it. I’ve written all I can write,” and I quietly await the end of my writing career 7 days later. But funny enough, each week I figure out something else to write.
Blog post themes and topics come at the most ridiculous times and we have to be able to tattoo these flashes into our memory somehow. I’ve faked having to go to the bathroom on a date so that I could jot down a random idea into my phone. Crazy? Maybe. But after 3 years of adding to the document (not just on dates), I have potential material that is now 20,365 words long (or 45 pages).
I can go to this document and see what ideas my brain has painted before. A lot is rubbish, some is ok. I’ll mend, mold, delete and perform surgery on the majority of it but sometimes I’ll read something good that I have no recollection of ever writing in the first place, and I’ll build on it.
So those 20,365 words are quite often the primordial soup of future literary life. That makes the job of a writer immeasurably easier, trust me.
What unique tricks and tips have worked for you?