What Have I Learned from Writing 100 Blog Posts

It was July 16th, 2018 when I’ve decided to run a blog for the last time. During the previous years, I’ve had several attempts of running a blog, I was stuck with the idea for some time and then I’ve just quit.

When I’ve built my author website, in February 2018, I’ve decided not to run a blog on that or any other platform. I simply didn’t have good experience with blogging and I didn’t want to get into the same trap again.

If you want to find out more about my negative experience with blogging, I’ve touched thatin more details in my very first blog post on this website

Then, the more I’ve learned about writing and building a writing career, I’ve realized that blog is something that all successful indie authors have.

So, I sat down to think

The reality is that I’m far from getting traditionally published and my second novel will most probably be self-published just like the first one.

All this writing business is kind of paradoxical. You can’t get traditionally published unless you already own a platform and a decent audience, but if you already have something like that, why wouldn’t you just self-publish and keep the majority of the revenue?

So, I’ve decided to cut the weed on my path to becoming a full-time author and build my audience. My initial decision was to publish once a week because “I didn’t have enough time”; I have a full-time job as a teacher and I’m a father and a husband.

Following that pace, in a year, I would have 52 blog posts and that would be great.

Seth Godin – blogging daily

Then, I’ve stumbled upon Seth Godin; I’ve you haven’t heard of him, then simply google his name.

He’s a blogger, a teacher, marketer, best selling author of numerous books, and he’s done many other things but mostly he’s the most inspirational human being I’ve ever met.

One of the things which he propagated is daily blogging. He’s done it even before the blog was invented (in a form of a newsletter) and he would suggest to anyone to do it.

After I’ve heard that statement from him for more than several times, I’ve said:

Challenge accepted!

You’ll fail often

I was really excited for the first couple of days and I’ve managed to publish 14 blog posts in 14 days until I failed the 15th day.

Unfortunately, I took it really hard and I started to doubt whether it was a good idea to publish daily. It’s not that easy once the initial excitement is gone.

Then I switched to publishing 3-4 times per week and I didn’t really care much about the count.

You can always find time for blogging if it really matters to you

The truth is that you can always find the time for blogging or whatever activity you want to implement in your life.

The easiest way to accomplish that is to prioritize your activities. Choose the three most important tasks which you need to do during a day and you will always find enough time to do that.

Sometimes, you will have to sacrifice one activity for the other, but I’m sure that you’ve got enough activities whose blood needs to be spilled. Just cut some time from your Facebook time and you’ll be surprised by the amount of time which you can spend more usefully.

Your brain starts working for you

Once you pick your time, try to show up consistently and at the same time. In my case, I write my blog posts the moment I get into the teacher’s office. It usually takes me, an hour or two to write, edit and publish my post, it all depends on the day, mood, and the topic I choose to write about.

After some time of persistent showing up, something magical had happened. My brain started to work for me and with me. Each day, when I leave my apartment I a have 7 floors to climb down the stairs before I reach out and go to school and each day, somewhere on these stairs, I get an idea for a blog post.

Sometimes, I get them more often, and I write them down in my trello cards for storing blog posts ideas but usually, I write about the thing which came to my mind while climbing down the stairs on my way to work.

Social media

I was pretty much absent from social media. I’ve deleted all my accounts and the only thing I had was my dead Twitter profile and even less alive Facebook Page which is managed by my wife. I didn’t care much about social media, I was happy that I’ve got rid the addiction and I didn’t need it then.

Once I’ve got into the habit of posting more or less regularly I reopened all social media accounts and started to share my posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google Plus, and Instagram.

It was a trap. Within a few days period, I caught myself mindlessly checking notifications and switching from one app to another. Soon enough, I found a solution for that; jetpack plugin for my WordPress platform which does all the work for me.

Now, my social media accounts are like phonebooks; I exist there in case someone wants to reach me, but I only reply to my email.

I’m sorry for all the connection I might lose due to my decision to avoid social media due to all cost but they still didn’t make a non-addictive platform which is not selling your attention to advertisers.

Or did they?

The Discovery of Medium

My family was more worried about the fact that nobody reads my posts; they were probably more worried than I was; especially my mother. She shares each and every post on her Facebook profile, but barely anyone opens it. Naturally, I didn’t expect any of her friends to even click on the link since they are not my target audience [link] but few of them read my posts regularly and I am very grateful for that.

Until, one day, my sister asked me if I was sharing my posts on Medium, which is a blogging platform. She doesn’t have a profile there but her boyfriend, who is a software developer, has found a lot of readers there.

At first, I was skeptical but I’ve decided to give Medium a shot.

And, it was worth it.

The first couple of posts went completely unnoticed but once I’ve started posting for Writers Cooperative, my posts started to get a lot more attention.

No, none of my posts went viral, and I haven’t got thousands of followers and thousands of claps, but my writing gained much more attention than ever before.

But, Medium is not just about attention and audience acquisition; it’s about connection.

There are also strangers who care

Unlike classical social media, where people want all attention to themselves, Medium is a paid service where people are paying to read and when they read something they like, they want to let you know.

A typical Facebook user opens his app because he wants to be entertained, but once he finds his feed quite boring he wants to share his misery and he does in a form of a negative comment. Once he leaves the comment, he moves one, while the person for whom this comment was intended stays in utter shock and she asks herself what did she do to deserve such a hateful outrage.

But, Medium doesn’t give you such an experience. All it takes to eliminate all the trolls and negative comments are $5 per month and I think it’s worth it.

You get to know your audience

Once your readers start leaving comments on your posts you kind of get to know them; you learn what they want and what their fears are and it helps you to serve them more in the future.

The feeling that you’ve changed somebody’s perspective, and help them overcome their problem gives a warm feeling of contribution to a stranger’s life and it fills you with enough energy to do repeat the process of giving and sharing.

You can’t know which posts will bring you the most audience

During these 100 posts, I’ve learned not to expect my writing to be perfect. As a matter of fact, at least 50% of my posts are below average but I still try to make them good enough. I try not to ship at any cost, but I do ship if the post is not perfect and I hope that at least someone will benefit from my not perfect blog post.

The posts I expected to gain a lot of attention, accomplished nothing and paradoxically, the posts which I almost trashed and almost haven’t published, gained the most attention.

The thing is that you can never know which posts are going to reach your audience and which are not and that’s good; it means that you can write whatever you want and let the audience to decide what they like.

The audience is forgiving. They will never scold you for publishing a bad post but you must be aware that you might be wasting their time if you’re writing something which is not good enough.

You are the person who is going to learn the most from your blog

No matter how hard you try to help other people with their trouble, the person who will benefit the most from your blogging is you.

I had numerous experiences when I was facing some kind of problem with myself or with my writing and then I blogged about it and found a solution.

But, not only that, but you’re also honing your craft, getting your thoughts clearer and sharper, you become more confident with your writing and thinking and each day you get a little bit better; it might not seem much, but at the end, it adds up a lot.

In the end, instead of writing 52 posts in a year, I’m closing my 100th post in less than 6 months which is more than I’ve written in my entire life.

Symbolically, together with 100th post came my 100th follower on Medium; which is, again, not a lot, but more than I ever had if you don’t count my Facebook page followers who are mostly not my readers but people I know personally.

So, my next milestone is 250 posts, and let’s see what they will bring.