10 Surprising Lessons From 1000+ Blog Posts

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Victory Comes From The Exploration

How do you define success for each story? Many writers use stats like fans, readership or email sign-ups. I see all of those as secondary metrics. They’re essential; I check those numbers often, but the victory comes long before the first reader clicks on my story.

  • I reinforce something I already know.
  • In rare instances, I open my mind up to new opportunities and ideas I never considered.

Obsession With Stats Never Wanes

The first blog post I wrote received zero page views. That post was from way back when I blogged on a self-hosted Wordpress site. I still look at stats several times a day. I question anyone who claims they are unconcerned about their numbers.

It’s Okay To Experiment

I often try new styles, new approaches to writing. Most of these experiments fail. I post something new every other day, so I don’t worry about the failures. I know some writers worry that a poor performing story will tarnish their reputation.

Consistency Matters

There are more theories on this topic than there are writers. Should you write every day? Should you write every day but publish once a week? I write every day, even if I’m not in the mood. I do not publish every day.

It’s okay to write for yourself or to explore new ideas without any intention of publishing them.

Some writers follow the mantra, “If you write it, you must publish it.” I used to adhere to that rule myself, but it didn’t serve me well.

The Rule Of One

Each piece should have one promise to your reader. In this story, I promised you ten lessons I gleaned from my blogging history. That is all you will get. If I had decided to throw in a few pointers about marketing, it would distract you and weaken the message. If you read the most popular stories and essays, you’ll see that they all follow the rule of one.

Write down the promise you made to your reader and cut anything that obstructs or distracts from that promise.

Never Think You Have It All Figured Out

I am NOT an expert. I will never be an expert. I’ve probably learned .000001% of all there is to know. That means each day offers an opportunity to learn something new.

Be wary of anyone who claims to have All the answers, or even most of the answers.

Learn And Implement

Everyone loves to learn. We have the books and courses to prove it. I make it a point to learn from others. I make the time to do it because it allows me to grow.

Learn something new. Try it. Evaluate the results. Try again. That’s learning.

It’s also how you improve.

Fear Diminishes But Never Disappears

I wrote for sixty days in Google docs before I ever published a story anywhere on the web. I was terrified.

“If you’re not at least a little bit afraid to hit publish, you haven’t pushed hard enough.”

If you finish a story and feel little to no fear, then maybe you played it too safe.

Sometimes It Takes Two, Three Or Four Attempts

One of my earliest stories was about nostalgia. I wrote about it from a marketing perspective. It’s a powerful tool to attract and hold attention. The story went nowhere.

If you feel confident about an idea, keep at it until you get it right.

It’s worth the effort to you and your audience.

You Don’t Need All The Answers

It’s okay to write about a theory on life, relationships, business, whatever and tell your readers that you haven’t figured it out yet. It’s okay to write about your failed business, dating screw-ups or parenting struggles. It’s valuable information for others. It tells us what we should avoid trying ourselves. There is value in that. Plus, let’s be honest.

Who doesn’t take a little guilty pleasure in hearing about the misfortunes of others?

Complexity Is Your Enemy

You should never have to read a sentence twice to understand its meaning. People today are busier than ever. We read stories on our phones while gulping down a coffee and rushing to our office. Don’t make your readers’ job harder by adding unnecessary complexity. Avoid words that only a Ph.D. would understand (if unavoidable, define it). There are so many entertainment options, and it is too easy to click away to find something else.

Readers of all educational levels appreciate clarity, brevity and simplicity.

Here’s an effective question to ask yourself as you edit.

Experimenter in life, productivity, and creativity. Work in Forge | Elemental | Business Insider | GMP | Contact: barry@barry-davret dot com.

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