Why Do You Blog?

Quite a simple question.

Why?

What’s the goal? The purpose? What’s your motivation?

What keeps you going?

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Blogger’s Block? Here’s How to Beat it

Too many of your posts start with an apology for not having been around of late? The joy you first brought to blogging now a distant memory?

Looks like a case of blogger’s block. Don’t worry… there is a cure.

It’s largely a matter of making friends with your creative mind. The reason so many of us find this difficult is that our education has trained us to respond to problems only with linear, rational, conscious thought.

Willpower, discipline, and good old-fashioned work may squeeze another blog post out of you but to produce words effortlessly, to connect with the joy and optimism and inspiration which makes it all worthwhile, to be as good as you can be, you need to know how to nurture abstraction and your hard-working subconscious.

First off, stop focusing on your block and start thinking about establishing flow. Flow is that delectable condition where all we writers have to do is turn up at the page and get ‘em down. Below are nine tried-and-tested methods – four daily practices, five writing practices – for keeping in flow, not just for the next blog post but for the rest of your writing life. Continue reading “Blogger’s Block? Here’s How to Beat it”

Write Like Yourself

Let’s face it: most people can’t write their way out of a paper bag. Further, most bloggers are boring, most journalists are so heavily edited that any personality they’ve added to a story has long since been weaned out by the editorial process.

I want to let you in on a secret, though: it’s not really that people are boring, but that too many have been taught that you shouldn’t write the same way you talk. I blame our educational system, actually, with those 5th grade teachers who drilled us on adverbs, pronouns and the minutia of grammar, coupled with too many boring, tedious academic books that we all suffered through while in college.

Instead, I suggest to you that the best way to write clear, coherent, engaging and enjoyable content is to write the way you speak, to recognize your spoken voice and pour it out onto the virtual page of your computer screen and weblog. Continue reading “Write Like Yourself”

What’s Your Purpose?

When you sit down to write a blog post, what’s your purpose?

Are you just trying to fill space so your blog doesn’t go more than 24 hours without being updated?

Are you interested in promoting a product, or convincing your reader to buy something?

Are you trying to express yourself through your blog, and make a meaningful statement?

Are you trying to educate your readers on a topic?

Are you trying to provoke discussion?

When you write a blog post, you need to know why you’re writing. Every one of the reasons for writing above (with the possible exception of the first one) is legitimate.

Why is it important to have a purpose for your blog writing? There are at least three reasons: Continue reading “What’s Your Purpose?”

Content is King. Or is it?

Is content king?

To me, that seems like a silly question. “Content is king” is a metaphor, but apparently not a very good one.

A good metaphor creates instant understanding. Given the amount of confusion and debate, the phrase “content is king” is not doing all that great a job in the instant-understanding department.

I think it’s smarter to say that content is indispensable. It’s what people go online to find, and it’s what Google loves. There are only a few online marketing models that don’t require valuable content, and those few are getting tougher by the day, and result in no long-term assets. Continue reading “Content is King. Or is it?”

The Secret to Building a Popular Blog

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve chosen a topic that you know for sure your readers are dying to know more about. You can write about the topic with authority. You’ve even chosen an interesting angle. In short, you’ve got a killer post that should bring your blog thousands of new readers.

You’re also smart enough to realize that you need to tell other people about it. So, you send an email to all of the top bloggers in your niche, pointing them to the post. Then you sit back and wait for the links to come rolling in.

But nothing happens.

You don’t get any links. You don’t even get a reply from any of the bloggers you emailed. You check your stats, and none of them even clicked the link that you sent them.

No, you got ignored. And worse, you now realize that no one is paying attention to you. You wonder, could you really be that much of a nobody, that no one would even read your email?

Yep. You could. Continue reading “The Secret to Building a Popular Blog”

Are You a Hoarder (of Ideas) ?

Imagine this, if you will.

An old woman, near the end of her life. Shivering in a fleabag apartment without heat in the winter. Walking four miles each way to the food bank, to carry home unmarked cans of mystery meat. Not even a cat to keep her company, because cat food is expensive.

Then one day she dies, and the neighbors find $2.7 million wadded up in her mattress.

It’s a natural human impulse to hold on to what we have. We figure we can handle whatever discomforts we might be facing now, and who knows how bad it could get down the line? So we hoard, saving up our riches for some mythical later time.

What does this have to do with writing?

Everyone who writes faces this at some point. We come up with a powerful idea, something we think will capture a lot of attention. This is the kind of content we know we need to grow our blog and our business.

So of course we can’t waste it on our measly 300 subscribers (or 100, or 12). We scribble our great idea on a Post-it so we remember to write it up when we hit some magic number of subscribers–500 or 1000 or 10,000.

The Post-it gets dusty. We never hit that magic number. Because we took our best content ideas and stuffed them into a mattress. We didn’t think our small audience was good enough for amazing content, so we never got a larger audience. Continue reading “Are You a Hoarder (of Ideas) ?”

The 5 Most Powerful Words in the English Language

 

If you think about it, writing is just like building a house. You need the right tools, the right equipment, the right set of skills.

You need to first have a design, to follow a blueprint. Then you build your house. Brick by brick. Word by word.

And there are certain words that hold more sway over us than others. You might be surprised to find that these “power words” don’t seem … well, all that powerful.

This speaks to just how efficient they are. Simple language is an often overlooked aspect of writing words that matter.

I also believe that it’s important to know WHY these words are powerful, and how they influence the person who is reading them, so as to best use them.

Continue reading “The 5 Most Powerful Words in the English Language”