I’ve been blogging daily since April 2012. Since then, I published more than 2000 articles on art, inspiration, writing, motivation, and, yes, blogging.. And if I look back on what pieces got the highest exposure, follower growth, and made the most money — 80% of them are about blogging:
And this makes me think that people who spend too much time reading everything there’s to be read about blogging will probably never become successful bloggers.
Do you know why?
Because reading these posts is a form of procrastination.
You tell yourself that you need to know the “secret” that will make you a better blogger and help you turn a hobby into a full-time income.
And I get that. I used to look for secrets too. I used to search for a “hack,” and I used to think that people who “made it” knew something I didn’t.
The truth is, there is no secret.
You achieve success as a blogger the same way you achieve success in almost anything in life: by doing something regularly for a long time and becoming better at it.
But most articles about blogging success aren’t about that, because it would disappoint the aspiring blogger who thinks there must be a way to grow fast without much work. The aspiring blogger wants tactics, details, tips and tricks.
But the truth is that if you don’t have it in you to put in the work in a consistent manner, none of those tricks will do you any good.
The Only Piece of Advice You’ll Ever Need to Become a Successful Blogger
I find smart people spend their whole life figuring things out. They always trying to figure out an easier way, and a quicker way. And another thing I found out about smart people, is they just don’t get around to doing nothing […] But the winners do it.
What do they do? They do whatever it takes to get the job done. They do it, and do it, and do it, and do it, and do it, until the job gets done.Art Williams
Let me tell you a story.
My girlfriend and I spent a couple of months last year working on a cosmetics store.
Now, this has been a dream of hers for quite some time, and she’s been researching products, formulations, and private label cosmetics producers for quite some time. She’s also read articles on how to market, sell, and package cosmetics, watched a dozen tutorials on designing a logo, browsed through a ton of online guides about developing a brand, promoting on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and studied essays about advertising, about creating the kind of product that leaves people speechless.
She also spent one week working on the logo. She downloaded 1,304 different fonts and tried them all. She downloaded images, icons, vectors, you name it. She used three different apps for that…
Now, the logo ended up looking great…
But she’s still to do any real work.
What did I do in this time?
Well… I just do stuff. I try to do stuff. I had a website up and running in about an hour. Added the domain name, found a cosmetics manufacturer, and choose a theme for the e-store.
She’s still writing lists: of products, product names, and some other lists that I’m afraid to look at.
And this got me thinking… and I realized that she’s afraid. Obviously. This comes up in our conversations from time to time.
What if I don’t sell anything?
What if people are going to hate the products?
What if this happens? Or that? Or what if, worst of all, nothing at all happens?
And what do I have to say to all this?
Just Do it!
When I decided to sell online courses, I spent half an hour deciding on which platform to use, and then I had my credit card next to me to pay for the damn thing. The next day, I was already compiling tutorials and other material for my first course.
And there were a lot of other things to figure out along the way. A lot of them. Issues I stumbled upon, problems with payment processors…
But I just did it. I worked on it. Every single day.
The same principles applies for blogging.
Just punch the damn keys. You don’t have to have it all figured out by the time you write your first post.
You just have to produce a lot of work. That’s how you realize what works and what doesn’t, what sells and what doesn’t.
Something is Better Than Nothing
It’s okay if you feel that your posts are crap. They probably are. Personally, I hate to look back at my old blog posts.
That’s how an artist’s life looks like: we have to go on despite self-sabotage and fear of rejection.
There’s nothing to fix about a blank page. And this often makes us feel like it’s the right thing to do.
But a blank page does not earn you readers, comments, or money.
A blank page does not make you feel like you’ve accomplished something, does not make you proud, and does not show you your own limitations and fears.
A blank page is just that… blank. Empty. Infinite possibilities that you are reluctant to explore.
A map that can lead you anywhere is not much of a map.
If, on the other hand, you work on creating content, you’ll figure out:
- if your content is good enough
- what potential readers want to read more of
- what monetizing possibilities are out there
- how much content you can produce on a consistent basis
- what are your limits
So, don’t just sit there because you think you’re not good enough. English is my second language, and yet I try to blog as much as I can.
You shouldn’t spend too much time thinking about the quality of your work. Your (only) job is to produce. Finished a post, a book, an article? Great. Publish the damn thing, then start working on another one the next day.
Your Effort Is the Only Thing You Can Control
After spending months working on the store, the logo, the copywriting for the products, designing the packaging, we ordered a few of our own products, so we could test out their quality.
And waiting for 6 weeks for the products made my girlfriend realize that this could not work. She didn’t like that she had no control over the shipping of the products.
There are certain things you can control in life — effort, intent, preparation, work ethic. And there are things you can’t — rejection, praise, follower growth, your post going viral.
And you should only focus on the things you can control. In 99% of cases, that is: writing the best you can, as often as you can.
You see, my girlfriend gave up on her dream because she procrastinated her way into fear. It’s as simple as that. Rather than brainstorm and troubleshoot, she just procrastinated and catastrophized.
That’s why it’s crucial that you focus on the work, on doing the work that you can do, on doing the best job that you can do, otherwise the fear you feel will make you feel like the only viable option is to give up.
So what if nobody reads your blog? So what if this week no one subscribed to your blog?
Blogging is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
You need to stop looking for shortcuts or hacks. You need to stop procrastinating. You need to stop rationalizing fear.
You want to reach the top of the mountain?
Realize that you don’t just fall there…
You’ve got to climb. One step at a time.