As a writer, I’m all time concerned about how to promote myself effectively and maintain a constant activity online. If I write too little, I feel guilty because I should do more to get adequate visibility. On the other hand, I fear publishing every couple of days would transform me into a throwaway writer, and my message would lose its credibility.
Assuming that both situations are undesirable for someone willing to make a living out of writing, what to do? What’s the balance between being a lazy publisher and spamming your audience with your articles? I think the difference comes in the quality of your text.
A clear intention makes a great article
First of all, what makes an article stand out? It depends on your target audience, of course, but there are some things that excellent pieces have in common. They’re clear, engaging, grammatically correct, and deliver a meaningful message to the readers. When an article includes such features, readers feel that who wrote it knew what he was talking about. It’s not that simple, though. You might be surprised that there are plenty of articles on the Internet where you can spot mediocrity. And I assume you don’t want to be a mediocre writer.
How to avoid being a low-quality writer? First, make sure your text has a solid structure and do a rigorous grammar check. And then, a golden rule: write only when you have a message to deliver. Don’t write about obvious stuff. I know, to produce a couple or more posts per week to hook your audience and get more readers is tempting, but what if you publish bad written content? Wouldn’t it be better to write one outstanding article per month?
Forget about copy and paste stuff from here and there. You need to have a clear vision of what’s the message you want to deliver. You have to be original and sincere. In this way, your writing will get a unique voice, and you’ll differentiate. You don’t want to hook superficial readers, I bet. If you wish so, I can’t help you. I’m not an expert about getting such an audience.
How to be more confident in your writing?
A writer is, first of all, a reader. What I’ve learned by greedily reading all the books that came into my hands is far more valuable than what I might have learned with an online course. I’m not against online courses, though. I’ve done some, and I believe they’re a powerful ally to boost your skills.
But I also believe that if you want to be a successful writer, you need to read a lot first. It’s never too late! I know of people who have learned how to play the piano at an old age; I don’t see why you shouldn’t become a better writer by reading more. Everything is possible with a solid motivation beyond.
Something we often underestimate is that everything is a potential source of inspiration. Since I was young, I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop music. At an older age, I realised I do so because I love how the lyrics dance and bounce through the whole song. The words are so intertwined and carry such a strong message, but they do so creatively. And that’s why I believe that writing is an art form.
If you want to be more confident in your writing, you should get your hands dirty. Write compulsively about everything. Even your grocery list can become a stand-out text. Don’t be afraid of showing up. Maybe a friend needs help with a Facebook post. That’s silly, you might think. But you’d be surprised how writing a catchy social media post and engaging the audience is everything but straightforward. That’s why you should get all the opportunities you might come across.
Take risks. By doing so, you’ll step out of your comfort zone and get some feedback. If you want to improve, there’s no other way. It’s better to write a bad draft and get a negative reaction than not writing anything at all. Yes, it might be frustrating or even demotivating, but if you’re humble, you will turn your mistakes into opportunities.
A few tips to effectively write a good piece
You’re staring at a blank page, ready to work on a new article, a little excited. That slight sense of turmoil is here again. You think you’re focused enough, but words don’t come out. You can’t get anything out of your head. Heck, you’re blocked.
This situation is common among writers. Who hasn’t ever experienced it? But it doesn’t have to discourage you. The best way to fight writer’s block is not to put too much weight on it. Allow it. Let your lack of inspiration be there. It will fade sooner than you think. Meanwhile, go for a walk, play some music, call a friend. Do whatever you feel like, but don’t think about your block.
When you finally found the inspiration for a potential article, what to do? Well, it depends on what kind of writer you are. Perhaps you start reading similar articles to get an idea of what’s going on about the topic. Or maybe you write everything at once, let your intuition flow, and then go for a structure check. It is so subjective that I won’t tell you how to set up a working routine that works best for you.
What you can’t ignore is that you need to focus on quality rather than on quantity. Giving birth to excellent work takes time. It’s not a matter of hours. Unless you’re highly talented, of course. Don’t rush, but don’t be lazy either. Here are some tips about how to optimise your productivity:
- One hour of focused work is better than five hours of mindlessly staring at the screen. That’s not news. It is well-known and documented that working less can lead to higher productivity than pushing ourselves to the limit. A couple of hours of focused work can have much better results than a full eight-hours working day. You would be less prone to distractions, less bored; in other words, your productivity will soar. The way you invest your time is crucial for your success. Imagine you have one hour per day to write: would you spend it scrolling your Instagram feed?
- Keep it simple! Less is better. If you’re in doubt about whether to keep a sentence in your text, ask yourself: does this sentence give an added meaning to the message I want to deliver? If not, don’t be afraid of cutting it off.
- Your ideas matter. I know. I’ve been doing that for years. For some odd reason, we’re afraid of losing our readers by saying something wrong or that might offend them. Don’t silence your voice! This strategy is counterproductive. You will end up writing without feeling it, and you’ll risk losing your authenticity. If you don’t allow your opinions to come out, your voice won’t reflect what you want to express. The line between being yourself and exposing too much is thin, and it takes a lot of practice and experience to understand where you want to fix the limit.
- One nailed proposal is better than applying to hundreds of job offers a day. That goes to those who’re looking for a job as a writer. When applying for a job, we mistakenly think that it’s better to send proposals like crazy. That’s statistics, after all: eventually, you’ll get an employ. Well, let me tell you, that’s not how it works. It could work if you’re on a transition and looking for something that can give you some earnings. But if you’re looking for the job of your life, I guess it’s not a smart choice.
- Be aware of the message you want to send. I will never get tired of pointing out that you need to know what you want to write. Try to do proper bibliographical research before writing, and outline your article with a coherent structure. The quality of your pieces will likely rise.
There’s no magical recipe to be a good writer. But there are, for sure, some tips that make your life easier. As with everything in life, you need to start small. Don’t lose motivation because you’re not getting where you expected to be. Have a clear vision of your goal, and work unstoppably. It takes time, but if you work smart and use the right method, you’ll get benefits in the long run.
And if you get discouraged, remember what’s your motivation behind it. For me, that feeling you get when you end a piece and reread it, putting yourself in your readers’ shoes, has some magical nuances. You realise that what you’ve given birth to is now outside of you. You no longer own it; it started to live its own life. That’s the magic of creation.