This is my 30th article in this blog. When I first started it I had no plans to continue writing articles for this long. It was something I did because I had a lot of free time during the country-wide COVID-19 lockdown.
30 articles in about 8 months might not be a lot. But still, it’s an achievement for me, especially as someone who had never thought about writing. Also, I have a day job so I wasn’t able to write as often as I wanted to.
As I said, writing articles was not something I thought I would ever be doing. I had started a few blogs before and wrote a few articles for them, which were not nearly as readable as they are now. Then, I quit writing and got on with my life. But here I am. So, as they say, “Never say never”.
If you ask me today, writing has become a big part of my life. I enjoy writing. I am yet to call myself a professional writer, but I take it as a passion rather than a profession.
What I Learned
In this article, I am going to share a few things that I have learned about writing articles and starting a blog. Again, I am not a professional. I am only sharing the things that I have learned which have helped me grow as a writer. If you are an aspiring writer or someone who is thinking of starting a blog, this article can be useful to you. If you are not into writing then just enjoy reading about it or you can read some of my other articles.
Before I begin, here is an archive of all the articles I have written so far in this blog. You can check them out.
So, let’s begin…
1. Write for Fun
I started out writing as a way to pass my free time. If you go back and read my first ever blog post in this blog, you will find that it is like a journal rather than a blog post. I wrote about the lockdown at the time, my Work From Home experience, and the COVID-19 situation in the country.
After writing about 4-5 articles, I started enjoying writing. I would be thinking about the next topic to write on my blog. The more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it. For some articles, I had to do in-depth research, while for others, things just came along. Also, I was able to write more and better articles because I was enjoying the process. I was having fun and I did not give much attention to whether people read my articles or not, which brings me to my next point.
2. Don’t Write for the Views
Yes, you heard it right. When you are starting out, don’t write for views. Even if you are a well-known writer, you shouldn’t focus on the views. Write for yourself. Even better – just WRITE. As Tom Kuegler said in his article, “If you write for the views, you are not a real writer.”
The same thing is with money. Don’t write for the money. If you focus only on views and money, you can not be a good writer. You should love writing even if no one is reading it. Instead of focusing on the views, focus on building your skills as a writer. Remember, the views and the money will come if you are good enough.
3. The More You Write, The Better You Become at Writing
If you compare my first article with my latest ones, you will find massive differences. I can say that I have improved a lot as a writer. How did I become better? By being consistent. I wrote articles consistently. My goal was to write at least one article every week.
Here’s an important thing to remember though – You cannot become better just by writing more if you are not working on improving yourself. If you are writing the same way as you did before, you won’t improve. You have to build your skills as a writer. How? Learn about writing, read other people’s work, improve your grammar and vocabulary, read books on writing, watch videos if that helps. Be a constant learner and implement those in your writing.
4. Read Books
Reading is something I do every day. It has helped me improve my writing as well. When you read a book, you not only gain knowledge on what’s written in it, you also learn about the writing styles of different authors. Reading improves your vocabulary, grammar, and understanding of the language.
For me, reading has helped me find inspiration to write. When I read self-help books, for instance, I find some interesting ideas or topics that I think others should know about. So, I write a blog post on that particular topic. As an example, here’s a post I had written on Fake Freedom vs Real Freedom from the book Everything is F*cked by Mark Manson.
5. Read Other People’s Work
Reading should not be limited to books. I read articles and journals online from different writers. I also read other people’s blogs. They help me find inspiration and learn more about writing. Medium.com, Harvard Business Review, Inc.com, BusinessInsider.com, Entrepreneur.com, etc. are some of my favorite online-reading platforms.
I have learned a lot about writing/blogging from other bloggers. I look out for blogs that are similar to how I want my blog to be and I follow bloggers on different platforms like Medium, YouTube, and WordPress. Following other bloggers will not only help you stay updated on their work but also allows you to learn about writing, making a website, SEO, traffic, so on and so forth.
6. Balance Quality and Quantity
People often have a debate between the quality and quantity of writing. Is it better to write a few high-quality blog posts or to write and publish more blog posts frequently? It depends. If your writing sucks, it doesn’t matter whichever you choose.
If you are Tim Ferriss, you can write one article a month and people are still going to visit your blog. There is no definite winner in quality versus quantity. I think that there needs to be a balance between the two. You have to write and publish frequently but you should also write good articles. Instead of investing your time only in writing more articles, you should invest in building your writing skills simultaneously.
7. A Good Website Matters
I started my writing journey from Blogspot. It is a free writing platform where you can build your blog for free and write articles there. I wrote the first 5 articles there and once I learned about writing and website-building, I invested in creating this blog.
You may not know how to build a website for your blog. You can start on Blogspot as I did or you can learn how to build your own site using platforms like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc. There are hundreds of tutorials on YouTube, explained in plain English.
A good website matters because your blog should be appealing to the readers. You should get a proper domain for your blog (preferably a “.com” domain). For starters, it is okay to use blogspot.com or wordpress.com as your domains, but if you are serious about your blog, go with your own domain name (for example, yourblogname.com).
8. Keep Learning
This basically sums up all the points I have just discussed. Learning never has an end. There will always be something that other people know which you don’t. So keep learning as much as you can.
As I said, read more. That is key. Follow other bloggers. If you need help, contact them. Sometimes, cold emailing helps. Watch videos on blogging and writing. There are hundreds of them on YouTube for free. If you are really serious about writing, you can invest in a course. The point is there is no limit to learning. Information is everywhere. You just need to be willing to find them.
I work on improving my skills every day. I learn about writing better articles, I read, I watch videos on the topic, I learn about building websites, so on and so forth.
Something I have learned recently is building an email list. I didn’t use to collect emails from my readers before. I have started doing it now and it has made a big difference. The reason why you should collect emails is to re-engage your visitors. For instance, a random visitor reads one of your articles. She likes it so she reads another one. But she forgets about your blog a week later. If you had asked her for her email, you could have sent her more articles to read that she might have been interested in. So it is important to collect emails if you want to keep your readers engaged. Oh, and, if you haven’t already, drop your email here if you want to read more articles like these.
No matter what you do, you will not succeed at it if you do not love doing it. If you had told me 8 months ago that someday I would be writing an article on how to become a better writer, I would have laughed at your face. So you never know what could be out there for you. If you haven’t found what you love doing, all you gotta do is keep looking. When you find it, it is going to be awesome. I found my love for writing. I do it for fun even if no one reads it. And, this is what has made me better at it.