9 Tips to Use Your Blogging Journal Guaranteed to Make Your Blog 100% More Interesting

Journaling can make your blogging easier and 100% more interesting.

“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.”

Mina Murray

Blogging is like shouting your thoughts to the universe. Connect them and you have a high traffic blog with valuable insights.

Mental health experts, Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005 tell you that journaling can improve life. In the same way, a blogging journal can also take your blog from lifeless and disorganized and add sparkle, interest and so much clarity that your uppity friend will want to read every post. 

Introducing Peter Problogger and Holy Hobbyblogger

Holly runs a photography business out of her home. In her spare time, she blogs about gardening and photography. She struggles with managing all her blogging tasks. When she gets frustrated, she calls her friend who writes for several famous blogs and has thousands of followers and high traffic on his blog.

“I need a bigger brain, Peter Problogger. Blogging makes it hurt. I’m learning so many things at once.”

“Your brain is fine, Holly. You need a blogging journal. Your blogging journal acts as an extension to your brain that never gets tired and is always there for you.”

“I don’t have time to write in a journal. I take at least ten hours to research and write a post. Then it’s another ten hours to edit it.  I barely have time to read anyone else’s blog. Most of the time, I just click and read blogs as fast as I can. Sometimes, I press like to get through more blogs.”

So, why are you blogging, Holly? If you just want to pass the day, work a jigsaw puzzle. 

“Very funny, you know I make puzzles from my best photos. But I love to blog because I love it when people like my posts. It’s nice reading about people around the world.”

“You’ve met over 30 people on your blog this month. What do you remember about them, Holly?”

“Off the top of my head? I remember the names of the ones that I featured, and what their blogs are about.”

“Great!. Why, Holly?”

“We talked about something they wrote, or that I was researching for my post.”

“Uh-huh. How did you find them a month later?”

“Ugh, I waste hours sorting through my posts or worse, I don’t find them!”

“Like I said…”

“Don’t say it, I need a journal. But how do I get started? I don’t even know what to write, or what kind of journal to get.”

“You’re not alone, Holly. You don’t need to buy anything. Let’s get started.”

From Journal to Amazing Blog

“I’ve always written. There’s a journal which I kept from about 9 years old.”

Maya Angelou
9 tips infographic Date Stamp, set goals, document news and weather, review and revisit, keep open while blogging, curry your lists, track your blog posts, develop a niche sheet, link research notes
Guaranteed!

Top Tip #1 Date and Time Stamp

You can buy or make journals both paper and online. Before you write a word, date any journal entries {especially with paper journals} Don’t wonder later! Dating an online journal, though less disastrous if you miss, maintains an organization useful for scheduling and searching.

You might include the time because as you continue, you get a feel for which times are best for journaling, writing, reading. One of the biggest problems bloggers have is being consistent. A journal will help you discover your best journaling times and help you be a steady blogger until you develop a habit.

Journals gather data for you effortlessly. You can chart or graph later. Readers love infographic data. The data will shows you your best blog reading and writing days. Were you stuck inside because of hot weather or an unexpected storm? The more data you write down, the easier you can draw conclusions.

Details make 100% more interesting writing!

Top Tip #2 Set Goals

“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.”

Robin Sharma

List your goals for:

  • Learning about blogging – classes, webinars, conferences, coaches
  • Researching posts
  • Writing headlines
  • Writing posts
  • Editing posts
  • Reading blogs – readers, email, social media
  • Expanding your reach – newsletters, social media

Goals can be as large as a mission statement and as small as a daily to-do list.

Top Tip #3 Document News and Weather

Why include information about news or weather? When you reread your journal, it gives you a perspective you might use when writing a new post, or a comment. You might even include how it made you feel.

Writing improves memory. Ask yourself, what was in the news six months ago? Did anything get resolved?

New post – follow up on last year’s news.

Top Tip #4 Review & Revisit

“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.”

Jen Williamson
  • Each month, maybe mid-month, read back over your journal from the month before. 
  • Highlight or star the blogs of your favorite influencers for each day based on what or how much and what you wrote about the blog. 
  • At the bottom or top of the online journal, use these starred entries to create a list of URLs to your favorite sites to create an easy roundabout blog post. The roundabout blog post features influencers and what they have to say about a certain topic. Your saved URLs in an online journal  make it so much easier to create this type of blog. 

An influencer is anyone who makes a difference in their field of study.They might be amazing bloggers, knitters, surfers, doctors, gardeners, authors, psychologists, even poker players. Every blogger has their own group of influencers.

Influencers write 100% interesting articles!

Tracking your favorite blog posts provide you with data to find your writing niche. [Acccording to Sophie Lizard of Be a Freelance Blogger, successful bloggers have their own niche or niches] 

To find your niche, bserve patterns in your reading that will appear as you review and revisit your journal. In addition, having data about the blogs you enjoy will identify your audience – ESSENTIAL to create a 100% interesting blog.

spiral journal with printed page pasted ona a page
Cut and paste: real and digital

Tip #5 Blog with an Open Journal

“I started writing a journal, and I was learning so much along the way.”

Jay Leno

You always learn something as you read blogs, so keep the current month’s journal open at the same time to record your thoughts and insights. Keep it open as you write.

Online jourals make cut and pasting into your journal fast but you have to watch your flow of writing. Edit for smoothness

screenshot of Always Write Blogging Journal in Use
Online journal – one of many tabs open when you write The boldface line includes links to other Google docs, including a list of favorite blog URLs.

Top Tip #6 Curry your lists

At the top of your online journal, paste a list of your favorite blog’s URLs  from previous journals, or create a new Google Document and paste the link into your journal. You can cut back your list to weed out those who are not responsive, don’t blog consistently, or any other reason you have to eliminate them from your current open blogging journal.

By the way, I discovered Jon Morrow, Freelance Writing King (my moniker for him, not his) and Mary Jaksch Write to Done, years ago when reading Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging and Queen of the Roundabout Blog Post. She interviewed on Always Write, and even the interview is a roundabout.  Write to Done published an article by Carol Tice, Make a Living Writing – another freelance writer influencer.

Your To-Do – If you haven’t met any of these fine folks, please visit them and tell them I recommended them. They all offer valuable courses in writing and blogging.

Since your Favorite Blog List may get long, you might want to keep track of how many times you visited that blog, if you don’t have a quote or notes to write about your visit.

Top Tip #7 Track your own posts

You might use the journal to also keep track of your own posts. It’s quicker than searching through your blog for your posts. Write as much information as you want, but include the link to the post. 

Use the links to fulfill Tip #8.

Screenshot of Niche List in Use.
8–Sample Niche Sheet with topics or Category Headings that show up on the left side of the screen, and a list of titles with links. This sheet is done in Google Docs.

Top Tip #8 Develop Your Niche Sheet

Eventually, you can use your search feature to create a Niche Sheet listing to categorize your blog posts. Unless you want an excessively long journal, cut and paste your blog links on a separate Google Doc, and post just the link to it at the top or bottom of your current journal – the one you have open all the time you are writing.

Niche Sheet = SUPER TIME SAVER

Many blogging platforms already suggest posts for your readers to visit after they finish your amazing post. Having your posts categorized in a safe place, away from your website, allows you to find related posts without having to open and close your website constantly. It also allows you to pick the best articles to include internally. This doesn’t replace plugins that help you find posts to reference, but it does allow you flexibility.

It is a must if you have more than one blog or blog on public platforms like Medium or Linked In.

screenshot of Always Write Research Page in Use
Google Doc linked to Online Blogging Journal

Tip #9 Link a Notes or Research Page

This is also a list of topics or URLs. For example, you might have spent about two hours visiting writing communities on Facebook. Let’s say you created a list of great writing groups you joined or want to join on a separate Google Doc. Link research doc to your journal!

You might have taken an online Bootcamp class from Carol Tice blogging at Make a Living Writing. You could link the handouts and your notes into your journal so that you can find them easily. Important research links may follow you in month-to-month journal entries. 

DO NOT share the files you download from other sites. They charge a premium for their information and it is for your use only.

Summary

If you blog consistently, you will develop your own system for managing all the work that you put into blogging. These are tips I’ve learned from years of journaling and blogging experience,  picked up from classes, face to face meetings with powerful influencers, reading books, and reading thousands of blog posts. 

I hope this post will encourage you and give you useful journaling tools that will make your blog posts 100% interesting

blogging journal sample iinfographic
Checklist of what you might record in your Always Write Blogging Journal

Related Post

13 Reasons You Should Start Online Journaling Even If You Hate to Write

Always Write Homework

Great teachers always assign homework to help their students learn skills.Once a teacher – always a teacher! 

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family enjoying the greatly improved life with an online journal

There are many kinds of journal formats. You can spend hours creating your own. Or you can use mine for free.  Click to receive a free PDF template or Google Doc for an online journal or print it out to create a paper diary. 

Debating which to use – paper or digital journal? Join the debate.

How To Take The Step From Blogger To Author Without Losing Your Voice

Credit: Pexels

If you’ve been a blogger for a while now and you love writing, you might be thinking about becoming an author.

After all, that’s the dream, isn’t it? Anyone can blog — there are literally billions of blogs out there — but stepping your work up a level and penning a novel seems like pretty serious business.

Along the way, it can sometimes feel like you are losing your own voice. It’s easy enough to develop your own style, voice, interests, and values on your blog — it’s your baby, and you can write whatever you want, whenever you want.

But when you’re writing a book as an author, it can often feel like you are being pulled in a million different directions. You want one thing, your editor wants something else, your friends and family all have an opinion on what you’re writing, and heck knows what your readers are after. And it’s all too easy to lose your voice along the way.

If you’re planning on taking the step from blogger to author, and you’re worried about this, fear not! I’ve come up with some top tips to keep you focused on your writing voice throughout your journey. Read on for inspiration.

(Check out this article on 7 writer lessons you won’t want to learn the hard way for mistakes to avoid once you’ve started writing, too!)

Keep your readers at the heart of what you do

You’ve already got an audience of fans that love reading the work on your blog and visit it specifically to hear what you’ve got to say.

It’s the same with writing a book or becoming an author. You’re writing partially for yourself, but remember that you’re also writing for your fans — the people that have stuck by you for all these years. You want them to read it, enjoy it, and be transported to the world you’re describing in your novel.

What do they want to hear? What do they enjoy reading? Chances are, this will mesh up with your writing voice nicely. Of course, you may have to put some effort in when it comes to learning and speaking the language your demographic wants to hear, but that’s okay.

You can actually practice writing for your audience on your blog by writing a short story series over the course of a few blog posts. You could push them on social or share them with bloggers networks, like Bloglovin’. Not only will this get more traffic to your site as readers come back to delve into the next part of the story, but you will also get feedback on what works well and what doesn’t.

Write about what you know, in a style you know

While mimicking the style of great writers that you love is a way to learn how to write well and figure out what you really love stylistically as an author, you need to establish your own style.

This is greatly improved by finding your own area of expertise.

Write about the things you know. What you know a lot about may seem completely alien to someone else. It could be a totally obvious area that seems simple to you but not to others; remember, everyone is different.

You can build on this. After all, you’re a blogger. You’ve already got a style of writing that you can develop as an author. You’ve got a platform, an area of expertise which you’re passionate and confident writing on (whether it’s literature, fashion, travel or food). You’ve got a devoted audience.

You might feel like you don’t actually know that much (I know I do sometimes!), but you’d be surprised once you take a closer look. What comes naturally to you? Perhaps you have technical or scientific-based knowledge. Or perhaps you have emotional intelligence and you’re great at reading people and connecting with them emotionally? This in itself is a strength and can make for some powerful, emotive writing.

Seek expert advice from a book editing service

At some point on the journey from blogger to author, you’re going to seek advice and knowledge from someone more experienced — especially if you want to get published!

When penning your first book as a blogger, it can sometimes feel like you’re getting lost in the details, struggling to overcome writer’s block, or losing your unique voice as the novel progresses. Everything seems more complicated the more you try to simplify it, and often you can’t see the wood from the trees.

To find your unique voice again, and stay yourself, bring someone else on board; hiring an editor can help you to fix any issues and finetune your writing.

The experts can help with editing every aspect of your novel, or, in the words of the pros Jericho Writers: “The aim is to help you produce that final perfect draft.” Whether your entire manuscript needs an extensive assessment or just your opening section requires a review, editorial services can offer you specific direction and advice, to make your draft the best version possible.

Book editing services will improve your final draft and take you from blogger to author in a way that will help you to find your writing voice, rather than lose it.

Don’t be disheartened by criticism or negative feedback

It’s hard not to take criticism like a punch to the stomach. If you’ve been slaving away on a manuscript for weeks or months, and someone starts pointing out things that are wrong — whether it’s grammatical errors or character flaws or plot holes — it can feel like a personal attack.

It’s different when you’re blogging; if someone criticizes a point you’ve made in a blog post, you can chalk it down to a difference in opinion and hash it out in the comments section. It’s 1,000 words on one topic that a reader didn’t agree with; you can just move onto the next piece — easy peasy.

But when you’ve been pouring your heart and soul into writing the first draft of your novel, and a critic points out flaws in what you think is an integral stitch in your story, it can feel like the whole thing will begin to unravel. You start to question everything, including your voice.

Please don’t be disheartened when this happens — constructive criticism will keep you grounded, and improve both your writing and your book. As Virtual Speech puts it: it “enhances performance and assists with professional growth.” Ultimately, it’s a good thing! And you’ll become a better writer and a stronger person as a result.

Address the feedback, make the required changes to your manuscript, and treat your book as an ever-evolving beast. If you’re worried about losing sight of the book you were planning to write, then draw a mental moral line about what you’re willing to change. This will help you to keep your voice while allowing your book to progress in a positive manner.

Writing your first book is an exciting opportunity. If you’re thinking about going from blogger to author but you’re worried about losing your voice, then you can follow these steps to keep you walking in a straight line toward your goal.

About Kaleigh Alexandra


Kayleigh Alexandra is a primarily UK-based Nordic writer who originally specialized in Shakespeare, but who now spends more time solving small business problems than penning sonnets! Her favorite Shakespeare play is the witty Much Ado About Nothing and the feisty Beatrice. She’s an advocate of micro-entrepreneurship (She has personal experience of as a frequent blogger and e-commerce entrepreneur).

Her passion for helping people find their dream business idea led to the founding of MicroStartups.org— a site dedicated to giving through growth hacking. She’s passionate about building brands for startups and charities and more often than not, you can find her penning advice on these topics, getting exciting about grammar or working on a side hustle.

Find Kayleigh on social media.

https://www.kayleighalexandra.co.uk/ https://www.kayleighalexandra.co.uk/about-kayleigh@BristolKayleighhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/kayleighsteadman/

Have you recently gone from blogger to author? Let us know how you found the process and any advice you’d share in the comments below!

Spider Sol – a Cure for Writer’s Block or a Terrible Addiction?

I couldn’t sleep tonight. Instead of lying in bed, sweating profusely, straining my eyes to stay shut, at a little after one, I moved to another bed, and finally got up at 2:22.

What do you think I did?

At 3:41 in the morning. and I finally tired of playing Spider Sol. I was still tired, but not sleepy. Or at least not sleepy enough to go back to bed.

Does this sound like you? If so you are like millions of other humans around the world. Someone crazy person who had nothing better to do somehow calculated that in 2003 humans spent nine billion hours playing Solitaire. (And back then I thought no one could see me).

Making Bad Choices

It’s kind of like eating when you are hungry and there is nothing prepared, or even when there is, it doesn’t sound good. So you eat junk. I’ll grab a handful of chocolate chips and throw them into my mouth rather than make a tuna sandwich or scramble an egg. Bad choices. But back to Spider Sol before it gets too late.

Not My Problem

In the 1970s I vividly remember watching an old lady sitting on a hard stool in front of a Reno slot machine putting in dollar coins, rhythmically one after another at a fairly rapid clip. Coin in, pull the lever, coin in, pull the lever. If she saw me staring at her for about three minutes, she didn’t register it. My husband had to pull me away. What appalled me was the blank expression on her face and the rapid dispensing of dollars, which I needed so badly at the time.

Do you ever wonder why OTHER people engage in such meaningless behavior?

Or Is It?

Thank goodness for computers. Since Free Cell began and I bought my first big girl computer, I have spent sleepless nights playing and quite a few minutes scattered through the day playing mind-numbing Solitaire in hopes of beating the computer. The hope of winning adds value, doesn’t it?

Can you picture the old lady at the slot machine?

Strategies don’t work very often – even with hints from the computer. The cards are often stacked from the beginning. NO PROBLEM! I race the timer to see how soon I can find the fatal flaw in the game. That doesn’t stop me from trying again and hoping to win. Sadly, when I win, I immediately press the play a new game button. Is my face blank?

Spider Sol Improves Cognition

Right?

Have you watched brilliant people sitting at their desks at work playing solitaire on break, or worse during working time? Admit it. Even the smartest, most productive people – even Congress members have been caught with their computers tuned to Solitaire during a lively debate.

As I rationalize it, the difference in playing Spider Sol or other computerized solitaire game is my brain is somewhat engaged trying to figure out a pattern, and there is no dispensing of dollars. On closer inspection even I have to admit that I’m dispensing minutes, hours at a time of my life rather than dollar coins (and life’s precious minutes). It’s time I could be spending productively.

People Have Played Cards for Years

So, what could be wrong with it? It’s harmless!

Cards run in my family. Mom and I played Rummy for hours when I was a kid. In my thirties, when I visited her, we sat at the dining room table, each with a deck of cards, sometimes talking, sometimes not, playing solitaire. Were we resting our brains, challenging them, or waiting for something more important to happen? Were we trapped at home without a car to at least go somewhere, do something?

NO!

My grandmother did the same thing. That takes us back to the Dark Ages. She taught me War and Canasta when I was about seven. At least we weren’t fighting a real war, you might say. We each have our card games of choice, but all three of us did it. Maybe it’s genetic.

Why Do I Keep Playing Solitaire?

To answer that question, I asked the internet. I found lots of non-experts had opinions. “It’s good. It’s bad. Here’s how to do it.

Experts also weighed in on the topic of why we waste our time with Solitaire. One article that I particularly enjoyed was Lynn Phillips writing for Psychology Today.

She wrote, “If mine had been a real addiction, like heroin or gin, or even Second Life, I could see calling in the marines. But compared to destroying my brain cells or my ability to distinguish reality and fantasy, wasting my entire life seemed comparatively trivial. So the biggest obstacle I faced wasn’t denial, but shame: mine was/is the dumbest addiction I can/could imagine. Unlike sex, speed or sin, solitaire can’t make you appear glamorously wicked. You’re not teasing death; you’re waiting by the phone for death to text you. I can’t imagine a habit more pathetic. So instead of getting help, I got a new computer.”

A plethora of articles has been written about the psychology of playing Solitaire. It is a huge issue in the workplace because of the ease of switching between what you’re working on and the game. It is next to pornography in human hour usage.

What that means is that I’m not weird, just wired, to waste time. People wrote about missing deadlines because they kept trying to get a better score. Some railed against playing, others, presumably younger, advised it and gave links to where to find different games.

Pro Solitaire gamers said:

  • It’s fun.
  • It calms the mind. That could include the spirit, feelings of anger, hurt, depression, etc.
  • Like calming the mind, it soothes depression.
  • It’s a break from learning hard things- like how to use a computer.
  • It is easy.
  • It is puzzling, so improves cognition.
  • It’s helpful for introverts because there is no argument over rules.
  • It’s available on your phone if your computer’s not handy.

Those against it said:

  • They miss deadlines.
  • It lulls them to sleep.
  • There was an advertisement for sore joints, so even though no one said that it makes your joints sore by being so sedentary, it does.
  • It’s embarrassing to be caught.
  • It’s a cause for getting firing.
  • Facebook and social media has a similar effect. (And that’s better?)

In Conclusion

None of this will probably make me stop playing Spider Sol or its next replacement unless I get tired of it. I like it because it keeps me occupied when I might do something more destructive to my mind, heart, soul, and life. When I do get tired of it, I am ready to do something more productive, like tackle my to-do list, write in my journal or my blog, or go back to bed and get much-needed sleep.

At 5:44 am I finished this post after writing it first in my journal, then for you. TaDa! So now you won’t feel so bad the next time you flip from the blank screen to the green one and play a few mindless games of Spider Sol. You might think of your next great novel.

7 Writer Lessons You Won’t Want to Learn the Hard Way

7 Writer Lessons

Image credit: Pexels

 

It’s difficult being a writer. There are plenty of hurdles along the way, as everyone knows. Some of these are inevitable — a writer’s life is not a simple one — but some of them can be avoided.

As a writer, you’ll learn plenty of lessons along the way. And you’ll probably come out of the whole thing wiser and a lot more pragmatic than you went in. It’s best to go into writing with open eyes and a willingness to learn — but it’s nice to have a heads up on some of the difficulties you’ll face, so you’re a bit more prepared.

 

To give you a helping hand in the right direction, here’s our list of 7 valuable lessons for writers that you won’t want to learn the hard way, and our ways for recognizing and coping with them.

 

Recommended reading: How To Make The Best Use Of James Scott Bell’s Writing Blunders Solutions Even If You Can’t Do Them All

Lesson 1: Inspiration won’t always strike

Lesson 1 is a simple one and one that you probably already know.

 

That pesky writer’s block is getting in the way of you finishing your first novel, and try as you might, there’s nothing that can get those words flowing again.

 

We’re here to tell you that that’s completely normal — it’s just part of being a writer. You’re an artist, after all! Some days you’ll feel full to the brim of brilliant ideas, and you’ll be able to write thousands upon thousands of words, and it’ll feel exhilarating.

 

And some days? Some days, you’ll stare listlessly at the blank page on your computer, clutching your lukewarm cup of coffee and wondering how you’re even going to finish a sentence.

 

Our advice? Don’t be disheartened. It’s okay to take a break and do something else. Get out of the house. Go on a walk. Come back the next day with a fresh mind.

 

And if that doesn’t work, there are a few things you can do to beat writer’s block. Try writing something else, like a diary or write on a completely new topic. It’ll feel good to get some words out, trust me.

 

If you’ve got a looming deadline, then make a writing schedule to give your work more structure. You can also try free-writing, a technique where you continuously write for a set period of time (ignoring spelling, grammar, and sentence structure etc.). It’s a good exercise to get you feeling more inspired and creative, and you might even get some decent content out of it that you can use once you’ve shaped it.

Lesson 2: You need to get comfortable with criticism

As a writer, you’re going to need to grow a thicker skin. There’s going to be plenty of criticism coming your way — from your friends, family, mentor, publishers, readers.

 

We don’t want to alarm you, but it’s one of those lessons that you are going to learn as a writer, so it’s much better that you’re prepared for it.

 

The good news? That most of it is for your benefit. Those people around you aren’t giving you criticism for no reason (and if they are, you should maybe think about getting some nicer friends). It’s meant to be constructive criticism. Use these words and advice to help you become a better writer, and write a better book. It may be exactly what you need to propel yourself to success.

 

Our advice? It’s easy to feel vulnerable as a writer, but don’t take criticism personally. Try and be as objective as possible: your book isn’t you. Ask those critiquing to elaborate more on their points, to give you something to work on. And if they’re readers who just don’t like your novel or your style then try not to get upset. Not everyone is going to love your work.

 

If you need a bit more advice, then check out this cool article on how to deal with criticism well as a writer.

Lesson 3: Ditto rejection

Rejection is one of the hardest lessons to learn as a writer, and unfortunately, it comes to us all.

 

Just look at JK Rowling — she’s now the most successful writer on the planet, and her net worth is roughly $1 billion. The Harry Potter books have been translated to over 80 different languages, and are now a huge franchise which also includes various films, a play, games, and a theme park.

 

But as everyone knows, it took JK Rowling a long time to get there. She wrote Harry Potter in cafes as a single mother on benefits — regularly sending out drafts to publishers and getting rejected. In fact, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected 12 times before she could get anyone to bite.

 

Our advice? The best thing you can do is be prepared for rejection and accept it. It’s painful, but it’s part and parcel of writing. Keep reaching out to people — you just might not have met the right person yet. Your big break could be just around the corner. Imagine if JK Rowling had stopped at her 11th rejection? We’d never have even met The Boy Who Lived.

Lesson 4: Don’t be afraid of commitment

If you want to be a writer, you’re going to have to commit to being a writer.

 

Not committing will make the whole process harder for you in the long run. And we’re not talking about practical things, like having another source of income to pay the rent while you’re coming up with novel ideas.

 

We’re talking about mentally making a commitment to writing. You’d be surprised, but it’s actually way harder to write — and finish writing — your novel until you get to this point.

 

If you still think about writing as a hobby, or a pipe dream, then the end of your novel (or whatever else you’re writing) will seem a million miles away. It’ll feel unachievable or unrealistic, which in turn will only keep your finish line at a distance.

 

Our advice? Don’t be afraid of this commitment. Tell people you’re writing a novel. Set aside dedicated time in your day to sit down and write. Come up with a set of achievable goals with your writing.

Lesson 5: Writing without reading just doesn’t work

Whatever you’re writing — whether it’s a novel or something more commercial like online content — you need to keep reading.

 

Many writers learn the difficult way that wide reading is vital to writing well. Stopping reading will only stagnate your brain, as no new information is coming in. And this can often lead to writer’s block — uh oh.

 

Reading is important for a number of reasons: it keeps your vocabulary broad and it can inspire you with exciting new ideas. It’s also good to keep your finger on the pulse with other novels in your genre or online niche; reading around helps you to stay updated and keep a healthy eye on the competition.

 

Our advice? It’s an obvious answer — keep on reading. Don’t stop just because you’ve decided you’re writing a novel. This doesn’t mean you’ve learned everything there is to know on your subject!

 

Stay involved in your community: if you’re a crime fiction writer, then find out who everyone’s talking about at the moment. If you’re an e-commerce writer and you specialize in website branding, then keep an eye on websites for sale, and keep checking out what ecommerce experts in your niche are saying on their blogs.

 

Don’t stop at reading the work of competitors, either. Read about your readers: you need to identify who you’re writing for and what they’ll enjoy. This will help with establishing, and even marketing further along the line.

Lesson 6: Don’t be a perfectionist

Particularly with your first drafts, it’s very easy to get hung up on every single word and imperfection. But do you know what? It’s a draft. That’s literally what it’s there for — so that you can revise and revisit.

 

It’s another difficult lesson to learn, but don’t stress about the little things. By all means, take pride in your work. But don’t let your quest for perfection consume you. You need to put your pride to one side, and allow yourself to write without judging yourself too harshly.

 

Our advice? Learn to recognize when you’re obsessing over a sentence. Take a step back, and have a break. Try to carry on writing past that point — after all, you can always come back and edit. You’ll probably end up rewriting it a few times in the future, but you need to get your words down on paper first, and if you’re too prissy, you won’t even get past this stage.

Lesson 7: Don’t lose sight of your reality

By the time most writers realize the toll of this lesson, it’s too late.

 

It’s easy to get so caught up in writing your novel that you squirrel yourself away. This can leave you isolated from your loved ones, and living a pretty unhealthy life, surviving only on coffee and cigarettes.

 

It’s a cliché, but it happens all the time. Don’t lose sight of your reality because you’re too invested in your fiction. You need to keep a balance, and not let your writing consume you.

 

Our advice? Keep your friends, family and/or partner close; let them know how you’re doing, and include them in your writing journey. They’ll want to support you, and they’ll appreciate being in the loop.

 

Similarly, remember to take care of your mental and physical wellbeing. Exercise regularly, even if it’s just going for a walk outside to break up your day. Make sure your diet is balanced and healthy. Drinking is fine (who doesn’t love a well-deserved glass of wine after completing a chapter?) but remember everything in moderation.

 

 

These are the some of the hard lessons you’ll probably learn along the way as a writer. Hopefully, by reading this post, you’ll be more prepared for some of the difficulties that come with writing and how to overcome them. It’s much better to know what you’re facing in advance, rather than learn the hard way.

 

Just understand that you are not alone. Every writer has to go through this, so don’t worry — there’s nothing wrong with you!

 

What did you think of our tips for writers? Is there anything that you’d add that you’ve learned through writing? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

7 Writer LessonsVictoria Greene is a freelance writer and e-commerce marketing expert who loves to see new entrepreneurs, writers, and small businesses grow and succeed. She’s passionate about sharing her knowledge to help others. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.

 

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Not What I Wrote – What’s Opposite Plagiarism?

This article by my friend Denzil Walton was frighteningly humorous, my worst nightmare about writing. He allowed me to reprint it for you. Enjoy.

Opposite Plagiarism
What’s the Opposite of Plagiarism?

That’s NOT what I wrote!

by Denzil Walton

When I saw my very first article in print, I immediately went in search of a big hole to jump into and disappear. Forever.

It was an article that I had submitted to my local daily newspaper, the Coventry Evening Telegraph. It was a mild nature article concerning the wildlife one could see along the local canals and rivers. It did have a bit of an edge: it gave a gentle reminder to fishermen not to leave their rubbish behind. Some of it, in particular, fishing lines, could be dangerous to wildlife if they got entangled in it.

The article was scheduled to appear on Friday 24th March – many, many years ago.

Friday evening: WHAT?

I remember rushing out early that evening to my local newsagent, buying a copy and feverishly scanning through it while standing outside.

I could not find my article.

I searched through the newspaper again, desperately looking for my headline. I think it was “The Wildlife of Coventry Canal” or something similar. Still no joy.

On my third scan, I did come across an article about fishermen that someone had written. The headline screamed “First Blasts in Rod War.”

What an antagonistic headline, I thought.

The subhead was no less hostile: “Fishermen? They’re enemies of the countryside, says battling student.”

What an aggressive writer. Who would write such a provocative article?

My eyes flicked down to the first sentence. And almost fainted with the shock.

“The noble art of angling holds no joys for Denzil Walton. He believes that when it comes to keeping the countryside clean, anglers are at the bottom of the league.”

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. And it got worse.

“Denzil is launching a one-man campaign against devotees of the rod and line.”

That’s NOT what I wrote! I NEVER wrote anything about war, enemies or campaigns!

I read through the whole article. I couldn’t recognize it from what I had submitted – or the me it described. In fact, it wasn’t me at all. I was a peace-loving, conscientious young man who liked walking along the riverbanks looking at birds and simply wanted to give anglers a friendly reminder to pick up their old fishing lines. I had been transformed into some kind of tough, aggressive, Rambo-like canal-side vigilante.

But it was about to get worse.

Monday morning: NO!

It just so happened that at that time I had a temporary job at my father’s workplace, Rolls-Royce Aero Engines near Coventry. I was replacing a clerk in the Planning Department who had suffered a heart attack and was off work for three months. I’d only been there for a week.

I arrived in the office at 8.25 on Monday morning and was just getting a coffee from the machine when the manager of the Planning Department breezed past.

“You. In my office. Now!”

I decided the coffee could wait and followed him to his office.

To my horror, he pulled out Friday’s Coventry Evening Telegraph from his briefcase, slammed it on his desk, opened it to my article and stabbed a finger at the headline.

“You wrote this crap?” he shouted.

Please God, if you could just open up the ground underneath my feet, I will be a lifelong disciple of yours.

“Er, well, I did submit an article but the editor …” I began.

I had clearly not been called in for a discussion. He read the sub-head out loud, in what I can only describe as an “extremely aggressive and sneering” tone of voice.

“Fishermen? They’re enemies of the countryside says battling student.”

He lent over the desk.

“This is crap, completely bloody crap. I’ve been an angler for over forty years and I’ve never left a scrap of litter behind. I’m a member of an angling club and we have very – VERY – strict regulations about litter.”

He paused to wipe a bit of his spittle off his chin. I decided it was wise not to follow his lead and so didn’t touch the spittle that had flown onto my cheek.

“We would never – NEVER – leave lines or hooks behind. We always – ALWAYS – clear up after ourselves. This article is a total – TOTAL – disgrace.”

It was at that point that I realized that his office door was open, and there was complete silence throughout the whole department behind me.

“We are PROPER anglers. It’s the bloody GYPSIES you should be after. It’s them who leave their litter behind, whose dogs shit everywhere along the canal bank, who chuck their garbage into the cut. Instead, you point your finger at us, respectable anglers!”

His face was reminding me of the beetroot I had cut up to put in my lunchtime sandwiches.

“And another thing. We are not ‘fishermen’; we are ‘anglers’. There’s a difference. Anglers take angling very seriously, it’s our life, we are not your amateur fisherman who only goes out once a year, we are there every week, in all kinds of weather.”

I was beginning to wonder whether another member of the Planning Department was about to have a heart attack.

“You clearly don’t know anything about angling, and if you think you’re going to make it as a writer, forget it, because you clearly don’t know a thing about writing either.”

He slumped into his leather swivel chair and spun it round to look out the window. I thought he had finished, but he hadn’t. With his back to me, he cast his final line.

“I’d fire you right now if it weren’t for the bloody Union on my back. Get out of my office and get back to work.”

I turned round and left his office to find about 30 office staff transfixed by the Monday morning excitement. The Rolls-Royce Planning Department had probably never seen such drama before.

After that, I had absolutely no contact with the man at all over the next three months. He never greeted me, never acknowledged me, never asked me anything or said anything to me. If he needed me to do anything he would always ask the Head Clerk into his office who would then relay the information to me.

However, after 34 years as a professional writer, he was wrong about one thing.

Reprinted with permission from Denzil Walton. Original story found here.

Biography

Opposite Plagiarism
Denzil Walton

Denzil Walton works as a freelance technical copywriter from his home in Herent, Belgium near Leuven. He also writes for Flanders Today; you can see a bit of his portfolio here. He’s married to Liz, who is a clarinet teacher, and they have four adult children.

denzil@discoveringbelgium.com

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