In this post Frank McKinley offers valuable information about how you can avoid making mistakes that could sabotage your blogging career and writing career.
You just started a blog.
Your writing muse is on fire. You name it, you can write about it. You write morning, noon, and night and never tire of it – ever.
You start dipping your toe into every subject that interests you.
Maybe you write about trendy stuff hoping to get some attention.
Or maybe you write on controversial topics to create some buzz.
Are you guilty of this?
Here’s How You Sabotage Yourself and Your Blogging Career
Let me let you in on a secret.
This is something the successful writers you admire know well.
Ready for it?
Don’t dilute yourself by writing about everything.
Why? Isn’t it a good idea to be seen in as many places as possible?
Well, yes – and no.
I’ve struggled with this.
I’ve made a lot of friends in the past year. They all have blogs I could write something for. And I’ve promised a lot of them I would – someday.
But do you know what?
It was too much.
I felt as spread out as a jar of mayonnaise wiped across a football field.
I wasn’t effective anywhere.
Nobody knew what to expect from me.
It was hurting my blogging career.
And I was so tired, I was falling asleep at the wheel on the way home from work.
Don’t do this to yourself.
Here are 7 ways you can pour yourself into something that matters.
7 Ways Every Writer Can Maximize His Impact and Never Run Out of Steam
1) Choose one thing you’ll write about.
If you’re like me, you’re interested in a lot of things. But there are a few you spend more time on than others.
Make a list of your top ten interests.
When you’re done, reduce it to three.
Then answer these three questions.
- Which of these do I think about day and night, and even on the weekend?
- What problem in this niche do people desperately want to solve?
- Do the people who know me consider me an authority on this topic?
When you have the answers, you’ve found your passion.
You need passion to make it through the sleepless nights of writer’s block. It’s passion that keeps you going on those days you write between shifts at your day job. Passion keeps the fire lit when the world pours water on it.
And when you’re ready to give up, passion pushes you to give it one more try.
When you finish this exercise, pick one thing and go with for at least three months. If it doesn’t succeed, try your second choice for three months.
Why three months? Because that’s a full season. It’s long enough for you to find out whether you’ve got what it takes to keep going after the trial is over.
2) Go deep with your one topic.
On the surface, it may seem like there isn’t that much to say.
Trust me, there is.
You can start by making lists of anything your topic touches. Some will be garbage, others will be gold.
If you need some assurance you’re on the right track, find a friend who is familiar with the topic to help you out.
Over time you can also address the same subtopics again. You’ll know more and you can write more. If nothing else, you can repurpose forgotten content that still has value.
3) Learn to say no to everything else.
Maybe you’ll just write one post about something totally irrelevant because it’s for a friend.
If you’re serious about getting attention, you’ve got to be laser-focused. When you do that, you’ll be in front of the same audience again and again. Picture those few people that come to mind when you think of a successful blogging career. They certainly do this. Do that and you can build a following that will stick with you for years.
Spread yourself everywhere and you’ll be last week’s news tomorrow.
4) Cut your goals in half.
I stole this one from Jon Acuff.
It hit me hard when I was sitting in front of the stage at the Tribe Conference in September.
“Cut my goals in half? What’s an ambitious nut like me to do?”
He was right.
I was trying to do it all, and do it now. And I was failing at a lot of those things.
So I made the courageous decision to let most of them die a painless death.
I decided exactly what I was about, and let the rest go.
Since then my influence has grown by leaps and bounds!
5) Do one major project a week.
Your time is valuable.
So don’t waste it trying to write a 100,000-page novel, 7 blog posts, and a dissertation.
Multitasking is the quintessential myth of our generation. We love to be busy. We can’t stand to be bored – so we fill our time with anything and everything so we don’t have to think about how boring our lives are.
The truth is, even computers only do one thing at a time.
They just do it lightning fast.
Juggling too many projects is like spinning 17 plates at once. It can be done, but not for long, not in a truly successful blogging career and not without wearing you out.
Pick one project that actually helps your blogging career and give it all you’ve got.
Next week you can do a new one.
6) Finish what you start.
There’s nothing as satisfying as finishing.
To finish is to put your work behind you. You can clock out, go home, and never think about your job again.
You don’t forget unfinished business. That’s why waiters and waitresses can remember your order until the end of your meal. Once it’s done and there’s no need to remember, they forget.
Don’t start anything you don’t plan to finish. If it means you fail, so be it. Learn a lesson and move on.
Who knows? You might be able to make a course correction before you’re done that minimizes the loss.
You’ll never know if you don’t finish.
7) Build relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Writers can’t succeed alone.
They need people to share their work.
They need blog mentors to show them the way until they get there.
And they need friends to sharpen them and make them better.
Here’s a warning. When you connect with a mentor or a friend, don’t just take, take, take. Offer to do something – even if the other person doesn’t help you. Your generosity might open the door to bigger things later.
If you want your friendships to last, help each other. Encourage each other. Cheer each other on to victory.
With friends like that, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Do This Now
If you haven’t already, decide now what you’ll be known for.
Want to double or even triple the chance someone will hire you? Make your website clearly state what pain you take away, what problem you solve, and what better future you create.
Your blogging career deserves it.
Do this vividly and simply and you’ll be living your dreams within a healthy blogging career in record time!
Published Author. Founder of the Tribe Builder’s Network. Writing Coach. Over 26,000 books sold.