On Sunday, Darren Rowse over at Problogger.net published a guest post I sent him on “How Getting An F On Your School Paper Makes You A Better Blogger” (you can check that guest post out by clicking here!) Throughout the article, I went into detail about how we are conditioned…for the most part…to become boring, research paper writers from the moment we put words on a page. Now…I know the teachers and professors were trying to teach us fundamentals that I am probably using as we speak, but I do believe that the strict structure and forced context really puts off a lot of students that would normally enjoy reading and writing.
The pure fact that I am sitting here as a blogger, publishing ebooks and writing over 2,000 words a day is mind blowing. I am that guy…the one that shouted to the heavens how much he hated reading and writing. If I could have gotten away with it, I wouldn’t have written another word for the rest of my life! Every time I sat down at the screen, I could physically feel the teeth being pulled. Any distraction was welcomed with open arms as I was looking for anything to whisk me away into another world away from words.
My economics senior thesis at the University of Georgia was actually one of the hardest things I have ever had to accomplish (professionally). Not because the content was hard…not because I wasn’t capable…it was because I actually had to sit down and write the longest piece (at that time) of literary work I ever had and get graded on it! It was terrible! I was dreading it from year 1!
So…how is it that I can sit down on a daily basis and crank out articles and actually enjoy it? What is so different now that I actually choose to accomplish the same tasks that once before would put me in an early grave?
Why You Don’t Have To Like Writing To Be A Great Blogger
First…I am not alone. There are a lot of bloggers that felt the same way I did and are now every successful all thanks to their words on a screen. Yes…there are those that have loved writing from day one and now blogging is there outlet to share those words with the world, but I was not one of those people.
An interesting thing happened several years ago that opened my eyes to show me that I could actually enjoy writing. I started writing on a subject that I was passionate about. Once I made the jump into blogging about cycling, I found that I actually enjoyed writing and sharing my thoughts with others. Bike198 was started on the premise that I wanted to be apart of the industry instead of just another rider spinning the pedals. By jumping in head first and sharing my opinions…I was able to accomplish this and grow a business at the same time.
There are bloggers out there that have been very successful on subjects they have zero passion or interest in. While I commend these bloggers for their success, this is not a road I would be able to take. Being a born again writer…I would have thrown in the towel without a second thought because of the pure nature of writing about a topic I in which I have zero interest. Could it be hugely profitable? Sure…but why spend your life making money at something you don’t even like? I might as well just sign up for a 9-5 if that is going to be the case.
Absolutely not! Part of the appeal to blogging is connecting with individuals who all have different styles and tastes. The conventional way of thinking as it relates to writing is typically thrown out the window in favor of personality.
Does this mean that you can get away with 34 typos per article and just throw everything out the window? Not at all…but it does mean that rigid sentence structure and references at the end of every article are not necessary. If you really want people to connect with you…and not how smart you think you are…the more personality you bring through in your writing, the more success you will see as a blogger.
My typical mode of operation as I draft up blog posts is to write as I talk. After all…you are soaking up what I have to say, so it might as well sound like me! After I have gone through and thrown down all of the content, I go back and edit through the entire article looking for the glaring mistakes. While it shows character and personality to write as you talk, it shows a lack of attention to detail and seriousness about your content if you let obvious errors slip through the cracks.
Do I have typos, misspellings and other formal writing automatic point deductions make it through to the publish stage from time to time? Of course…but I am pretty sure that you guys are aware that I am not an uptight novelist or literary scholar, so it goes excused as long as it is not in excess.
When I first started out…
…I had zero clue what I was doing. WordPress code might as well have been in Chinese…my writing was choppy and unorganized…luckily…there was no one reading my blog at that point in time because everything was a complete mess. But, there is something that began to happen the more I wrote and hit that publish button. I started to get better…and then started to grow an audience.
It is natural to think we should be great at blogging right away. We have been writing our entire lives, so what is different about blogging and getting people to actually read our words splashed up on the screen? Should be easy right? Like anything else in life, you are not going to be great at blogging right out of the gate even if you are a great or accomplished writer. Blogging is a skill and it takes practice to really get into your grove.
Some of you may be sitting in your grove right now and loving every second of it. Some of you might be struggling to find your rhythm and your voice that will connect with the masses. Either way…practice makes perfect and your writing will continue to evolve over time. You do not ever have to be a perfect writer and I would actually recommend that your goals should never include that bullet point. You want to be getting better with time without a ceiling.
I am not some fantastic writer…but I like to think of myself as a pretty good blogger that continues to practice and enjoy his skill. From one guy who used to hate writing…I can now say that it is my outlet for expression and I truly enjoy laying down my words. For those of you that were once in my shoes or are sitting in them right now, know that it gets easier with time and you too can enjoy a creative outlet that used to be a headache.