I’ve been blogging on a daily basis since April, 2012. I’ve been a full-time blogger since November, 2012.
I have launched a number of different blogs, and have published well over 3,000 articles over the years.
All in all, it’s safe to say that I did the “required” 10,000 hours of work.
But all this time and mental energy didn’t make me a better blogger.
Popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 release, Outliers, the 10,000-hour rule is a simple and effective way of saying, “if you want to be great, you’ve got to work, work, work.”
But there’s one aspect we tend to overlook: the type of work that we do.
The trick is in the word deliberate.
Any other kind of work will not do. It’s not enough to just show up. It’s not enough to mindlessly produce content like crazy.
I have spent my 10,000 hours commenting on as many articles as possible and writing the same type of content, over and over again.
It didn’t make me a better blogger, and while it did enable me to build an audience, it was far from an inspiring experience.
The truth is that those 10,000 hours have to be invested in such a way that you better yourself as a blogger.
This means that you have to:
1. Invest in Your Blogging
This means that you have to learn the basics, master them, and then look for more information. This means investing time, energy, and money in online courses, books, tutorials.
After you do that, you should invest in an online coach. Why? Because you just don’t know what you don’t know, and if you don’t look for the missing pieces of the puzzle, all you are left with is a mess on the floor.
Better yet, after you’ve read about the basics of blogging, you could reach out to a person of authority in your niche and get them to mentor you. Even a couple of Skype calls, where you get to ask them a few questions, will prove valuable, especially long-term.
2. Build a Network
If you want more eyes on your blog, it’s as simple as commenting a lot. It works, it truly does. But what I didn’t realize until quite recently was that, while you do get a lot of attention, you feel a disconnect from your audience and your topic of choice.
Great blogging is a conversation.
And that’s why you need to deliberately work on building genuine conversations with other bloggers in your niche. You share ideas with one another, you inspire one another, and you keep one another accountable.
There’s also a bit of competition going on. Not the unhealthy, obsessive kind, but the truth is that you want to be a bit better than those you interact with on a regular basis.
If there’s one thing that you take from this article, it should be this: find a bunch of bloggers, make friends with them, and then work with each other, give each other feedback (honest and brutal.)
The hours you spend doing this are far more valuable than almost anything else you do, because while in the first step you are reading about what makes a great blog, in the second step you are doing, and you are receiving valuable information on what works and what doesn’t.