What to do when you hate to write.
A few years ago, if someone had told me to write for 365 days, a 1,000-word blog post, to change my life, I would say there has to be another way. You know how you feel when someone tells you – ‘you should – run down the street naked.’ Inside, your inner voice says, when pigs fly, I’m not going to do that; it won’t work.
I could write but just didn’t see the payoff.
Yup, that’s what I was saying to myself. That isn’t going to work, and I don’t want to do it. All I could think of is the movie, Field of Dreams, build it, and – do they come? Nope. I’ve been sitting on the fence about blogging forever. I’ve been asking people to prove it to me – what’s the use?
Why should anyone blog?
Of course, many fascinating writers, food bloggers like Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, one of my favorite business bloggers – Neil Patel – so smart, Mr. ProBlogger, Darren Rowse, and Seth Godin’s inspirational thoughts on marketing. This is my shortlist for people to follow.
But, like most people; I want instant results. I don’t want to be like Darren Rowse, who has blogged close to 8,000 posts to become number 15 on Influential Blogs. Don’t get me wrong, that’s impressive. After blogging daily for the past 39 days, that’s like twenty-nine times the size of all three Harry Potter books. Yes, that's would be 87 books. Assuming he wrote 8,000 posts @1,000 each = 8,000,000 words. The three Harry Potter books together were 269,338; thank you, Google.
WOW, that's incredible.
So, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s figure out what stops you.
Why You Hate to Write
My reason for not committing to writing is foolish. I didn’t know what to say and didn’t want people to judge me for my non-standard grammar and punctuation [that's how you say no bueno]. Many skilled writers say they just have to write. That’s not been my problem. I’m more of a type-A person; I write when I need to. How about you?
And then I found all the tools to help me put the commas in the right places—the software to help me sound like Hemingway [I wish]. And the writing courses and programs that I’ve taken. But still, I was reluctant to commit. A year’s a long time – right.
Until I looked back at last year, and my website had no blog posts. I was embarrassed even to put the tab on the menu because the cupboard was bare. As a copywriter, I should have a blog to let people know what I could do, but nope, still not doing it.
I love listening to podcasts. One day I was listening to Marketing Secrets by Russel Brunson when he said if you commit to publishing every day for a year, your life will be changed forever. He said to pick the platform you love, speaking – do a podcast, write – do a blog, or video – create a YouTube channel or Facebook Live. He sounded so genuine I thought what have I got to lose?
Having a list to choose from made it easy – it has to be a blog. And again, I heard the same thing from Neil Patel.
So, you know when you hear something more than once, you start to believe it’s a message for you from God? Well, that’s what I thought. So, I committed to putting in the work.
What to Do If You Don't Have Anything to Say
Just like the first day of school, I was ready; pencils all lined up, ready to go. Computer fired up, ready to write the world’s most awesome blog post. The first one was wonderful. I was giddy with delight – with myself. I had written 1,000 words and published it to my blog, Medium, LinkedIn, and Facebook. A legend in my mind.
Then… Day 2 and the blinking cursor hit me. What do I say? I reflected on Russel’s words your first 100 posts will be garbage, and nobody’s going to know. Because nobody knows who you are yet. Don’t sweat getting started.
I created a spreadsheet to log my posts, the topics, and the categories I was covering. Now I research every day for exciting topics, problems, or issues that surround marketing for businesspeople. At first, it was tough. I’m still working on my voice and tone to match it to my real-life persona.
I understand my foot-dragging in writing. Writing is like having a second personality. It takes knowing yourself to a new level. You have to be brave enough to put yourself out there. To let people see who you are in posts. Not too stuffy, not hypercritical, wishy-washy, stiff, confusing, or most of all, never be boring. Once you write it, while it isn’t like a tattoo, it is for the world to see… and judge.
Researching material is an everyday assignment. The truth is, once you’ve learned the ropes of a subject, it’s challenging to find interesting angles that your audience would enjoy as an apprentice or hobbyist.
I hang out in Facebook groups listening for their problems to unearth material for my blog. I suppose it’s something like a reporter and even like Jerry Seinfeld looking for something to talk about. As you might remember, the show spoke about everything and nothing all in one episode. That show was funny and a crazy slice-of-life.
How to write a blog post
Like life, you have to find your voice. I suppose that’s why Russel said everything you write or publish for the first 100 days or so is garbage. You have to find your voice. Once you figure out how you want to sound, you won’t have as much trouble writing. While no one is watching, you get to practice. Finding topics that work and those that you thought would be fun, well, they fell flat. Oh, well, next.
You’ll find out what works with your audience, and most thrilling, you’ll find readers. You’ll find people who get what you get. And they get you. You’ll find your footing with your thoughts, style, and formatting.
I like casual, loose, and free-flowing. I’m not going for strict grammar rules.
My style still has a sales angle. Yes, I’m looking for the hook, story, and solution. My blog posts will follow that format. Much like a People Magazine where you can’t wait to get inside to read the story, the cover sells it. A blog post needs a hook, no matter what; if you’re giving advice, have a mouthwatering recipe, or instructing on the latest SEO tips, you’ve got to grab their eyeballs.
Everybody can write if you give yourself the time and space to do it. Allow yourself to be bad before you are mainstream. Be prepared for people to criticize your work; you’re still working out the kinks. Get the software tools to clean up the mess after you’ve written. The most fantastic tip I heard is to write, write, write, and then clean it up.
Commit to publishing your work on a schedule. There’s nothing to watch on TV or Netflix, so use your time writing to help others. Read. Make time to read, novels for the story, dialog, and emotional impact. All good books should make you feel; good, mad, anxious, scared, or sad – but hopefully not all at once.
The Next Steps
I’m beginning to think of blogging as fun. Every day, I get to write to you, sharing what I know about life and how other people think. I’d love to help you write your next landing page, blog post, or website to move people. As writers, we have a mission to move people, make them feel, and make them pick up the damn phone and call.
Blogging is fun when you give it a chance. How do you want to change people’s lives for the better? Words matter; use them for good. And I still have more words to share.
If you'd like to chat about your next project, reach out at Linda@shinyobjectmarketing.com
Linda James Bennett; day 40 of 365 writing an article every day and making you a shiny object in the world.