Some authors are prolific. They write books like other people drink coffee or sit in traffic (or do both at the same time).
- Anthony Burgess (writer of A Clockwork Orange) authored five and a half books in one year.
- John Creasey penned more than 500 novels.
- Alexandre Dumas wrote over 250 novels.
- Enid Mary Blyton published more than 800 children's books.
- John Creasey wrote more than 600 books.
- R.L. Stine has written hundreds of books.
- Dame Barbara Cartland wrote more than 700 books.
- Agatha Christie authored 91 novels.
- Isaac Asimov published more than 500 books.
- Nora Roberts has written over 200 books.
- James Patterson has somewhere around 150 books to his name.
- Joyce Carol Oates has written dozens of books.
- Stephen King has had more than 60 books published.
Many of these same authors have also published short stories and/or novellas. There are far more writers that could be added to the list but you get the idea. What does that have to do with blogging?
My point is this: what's stopping you from starting a blog, something that requires far less than the 70,000-80,000 words of a book which is significantly more than the typical blog post that "best practices" reveal should end at a minimum of 500 words and stretch up and onward topping out at 1500, 2000, or higher?
Why don't you have the courage to blog?
Professional Blogging...for Others
If you've been blogging for someone else, whether it is a company or an individual, isn't it time you blogged for yourself? What's holding you back?
"Who cares about what I have to say?"
"I'm known for writing about _ why would anyone want to read my thoughts on_?"
"I don't have the time to figure out how to begin from scratch."
"The company/my client receives tens of thousands of visitors to its blog each week. Who wants to start at zero?"
Sound familiar? If you don't have a blog, yet here you are once again reading about starting a blog, you likely have something going through your head that makes you pause or paralyzes you entirely.
**The Cold, Hard Truth
You, my friend, need to stop using the Cowardly Lion as a role model. There's no Wizard of Oz around to grant you the strength and drive to move forward. If you need a visual reminder of the courage it takes to write at all, grab that leftover good sportsmanship pin still clinging to your 1990s-denim jacket and tack it on.
No one has the time to begin a blog, let alone keep it consistently updated. That's probably a large part of the reason why an incredible number of blogs are abandoned each year.
Back in 2009, the NY Times shared that 95% of blogs are abandoned. Today, it appears that number could be even higher, as people begin blogs, drop blogs, then start again with a new one.
But why aren't you blogging? There is always room for one more.
If you are already writing for a day job, blogging is a place of your own. It's something that no one can take away from you. The successes and failures of your blog are all yours.
You are right. It is overwhelming to begin, stressful to figure out the details, and agonizing to get those first posts just right.
But you can find the courage to blog.
It starts by realizing that no one online actually knows what they are doing. Even the biggest, brightest, most dazzling A-list bloggers fell into their success seemingly by accident and they don't know how it happened.
How many bloggers have admitted that success sort of happened to them when they weren't looking?
How many bloggers have stated that they began blogging because they were laid off or fired from their job and needed to do something?
How many bloggers wrote that they began to vent about their job, to share their travel adventures, to keep in touch with friends and family back home, or to highlight their own creations? Then they tell you that it just took off from there.
Sure, they sometimes received a bump in traffic thanks to a link from a major news source or other bloggers. But how many times did it appear to come out of nowhere?
My first blog began to showcase my writing skills to potential freelance clients but then became a PBS segment, a bi-monthly newspaper column, and an award-winning book.
Nope. I have no idea how that happened.
But I don't need to know. You don't either. Not really.
To be a successful blogger, maybe you just need to show up, write even when you don't want to, and plod on when times are good, bad, and run-of-the-mill.
“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig (150). Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success.
Job loss or gain, new baby, birthdays, holidays, or travel--don't let anything stop you. Let it work for you. Find new inspiration. Grit your teeth and dig in.
Eventually, it becomes a habit. Your blog will become something you don't have to do, but something you need to do.
It doesn't matter if you don't think anyone will care about what you want to write.
What matters is that you write it and that you care about it enough that you will stick with it.
Do You Feel Like You Aren't Enough?
Entrepreneur Richard Branson left school at 16. Former Twitter CEO Evan Williams left college after a year and a half. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum dropped out of college. CEO and founder of Tumbler, David Karp, never earned a diploma. Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey dropped out of college. You already know about Mark Zuckerberg.
If formal education doesn't necessarily equate success, what does?
Grit. The determination to keep going even when it is difficult, to learn things on your own that you need, or, perhaps, the determination to even begin instead of talking yourself out of it first. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison.
Maybe the answer is coming up with that Big Idea, that Scary Idea, you know, the one you can't stop thinking about, and running with it.
It's silencing the voice that whispers "You can't do this!" and instead focus on the voice that quietly asks, "Why not?"
Does your grammar suck? Join the club--or download Grammarly or one of the other tools to help you out.
If you already write, does social media make you cringe? Then use MissingLettr to take the hassle out of planning what and when to post to your accounts.
The point is that your experience (or lack thereof) in high school or college doesn't get to decide what you do with the rest of your life.
If you want to blog, then blog. It's much like writing a book--there is nothing that says you need to have an advanced degree with honors to begin. To be a blogger, you simply must blog. You don't need experience. You don't need internships. You don't need to worry about what "they" say.
The answer is you.
Don't give up because you have problems with the more technical side of blogging.
Don't throw in the towel before you ever begin because you can't decide on what theme to use or which blogging platform to choose.
Yes, there are emotional risks involved. Internet trolls love to drag down others. There's even a site dedicated to hating on fellow bloggers as though we don't do that to ourselves enough as it is. But.
When you want to tell your story, to share recipes or snippets of your life or gardening tips or DIY projects...there is nothing better.
For as long as you keep the site up, you will have something to turn to and remember. It will always be yours. And that is a good thing.
Don't Just Sit There. Blog.
Put on your big kid pants. Keep your head down. Press on. Don't let anyone drag you down. Yes, you will receive mean comments that are so full of rage it blows your mind. Yes, you will have days when technical difficulties keep you awake half the night figuring things out.
But the good days make every bit of the bad days worth it.
That moment when you get to point to something that you created, that you built, and that is entirely yours when you can say, "I made that." Well, that makes it worthwhile.
Most people give up. They grumble. They make excuses. But it doesn't have to be you. Set a deadline. Make lists of what you want, what you need, and what can wait until later. Don't talk yourself out of it. Don't rearrange the kitchen cabinets, paint the walls, or call your mother as an excuse to get out of it.
Everything can wait. Your story? Well, it has waited long enough, now hasn't it?