Ugh. I cringe looking back at myself every six months.
Six months ago, I was getting ready to move to Florida. I can’t believe how much time I spent looking for move-in deals where I’d save $100 or $200 bucks up front. Over the course of a year’s lease, that much money is a drop in the bucket. Better to have a peaceful living situation where you’re comfortable rather than getting immediate gratification from saving some money.
Six months before that, I was on the verge of going broke for the first time in my adult life. I burned through tens of thousands of dollars. “There’s no way I can hit zero. I’m sure I’ll think of something before then,” I told myself. But then I hit zero. Oops.
Then six months before that, I started work for a client without a contract and never got paid. I asked them about it and they replied, “That should’ve been paid!” They never paid and I never heard from them again. As a consolation prize they sent me a holiday greeting card. Gee thanks!
And six months before that, I started blogging on this site! It’s been two years now and I’ve written 100 posts. I originally wanted to start a personal development site with a golf twist, but every post started to sound the same: Stay present and don’t dwell on the past.So I ditched that and started writing about anything and everything.
Here are 10 things I learned from 100 posts and 2 years of blogging.
1. Writing For Your Site vs. Other Sites
Writing for other sites is the only way to build readership. The gist of guest posting goes like this: You write for a site that gets lots of traffic. In your bio you put a blurb about yourself and put a link to your site, which brings visitors. Then some of those visitors become loyal readers.
The thing I don’t like about writing on other sites is you have to write on a particular subject and in the voice of the site. Some sites let you have more leeway on this, but you’re generally at the mercy of an editor on what you can and can’t say.
If you just write for your own site you won’t get any readers besides people you share with. But writing for your own site lets you have more freedom and flexibility on topics and what you can and can’t say.
2. Queue Up Multiple Posts
I posted every Wednesday, but I cheated some weeks and I didn’t write a thing. I had blog posts in the queue that I could schedule.
The trick is to recognize that you’ll have highs and lows in motivation. When you have a high, you should crank out a few posts or at least write rough drafts so you can just go back and edit one during a low period.
That’s how I was able to stick to a schedule even in weeks where I had other commitments or didn’t feel like doing anything.
3. Use Your Own Name As Your Domain
As I mentioned above, I started this blog as a golf/personal development blog. So it made sense to have a golf-related domain. But now I’m slightly embarrassed by my domain name as my tastes have changed. Taste for your own name will never change.
I wish I just used my own name as the domain. Then it could “follow me” in whatever I choose to do. I have thejoechoi.com. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it though.
4. Never Write Out of Anger
The great part of writing is that you get to rant. However, there’s a right and wrong way to do this. The wrong way is to write in anger towards a particular person. “So and so screwed me over. He’s a lying, cheap sack of…” You get the idea.
It’s better to write it so it doesn’t even matter if that person reads it or not. That way it becomes a lesson to the world rather than outrage porn. “I got screwed over the other day. These were the warning signs and I should’ve known better…”
This was my favorite writing tip that’s in my book “Coffee with James Altucher.”
5. Find Your Medium
I’ve posted live video before and was even interviewed on a podcast. I didn’t really like either experience too much. I’m sure I could do more of them and get comfortable, but I hate listening to my voice or seeing myself on camera. Writing is what I’m most comfortable with so that’s what I’ll stick with.
If you’re comfortable with another medium then you should stick with it.
6. Press and Credibility Are Overrated
My name got mentioned on a popular podcast about a book I wrote. Guess how much sales spiked that day?
I’m in a few online communities with entrepreneurs and freelancers. People overrate how much being mentioned in a media source or having testimonials helps them.
From copywriting client work, I’ve seen test results where testimonials don’t necessarily boost response. I know that seems like blasphemy to people who’ve read books on copywriting, marketing, or psychology. But I’d put my money on great copy with a strong USP over mediocre copy with a bunch of scattered testimonials in most cases.
7. Writing is a Total Body Exercise
I can’t explain this one. For some reason my body feels drained after I’ve been writing all day. Like today.
8. Quantity is the Best Learning Tool
People send me blog posts to review from time to time. They want to have it absolutely perfect before they hit publish. Understandable if it’s your first big guest post or something. But most of the time, I just tell them to publish it.
The more you increase the quantity of something the less each “failure” means and the more chances you have at a hit.
But writing on a regular basis is more for yourself than anyone else. I’m sure your readers won’t care if you miss a week.
9. Just Do It
Someone I know has been planning about blogging for months now. He’s yet to write a thing. Instead, he’s been reading about resistance from Steven Pressfield and talking about it. Oh, the irony in this…
Yes, you’ll suck at first and that’s okay. I already mentioned how I cringe at myself looking back every six months.
10. Cut Back Time
I’m going to cut back on posting. I don’t know why, but I thought I had to reach 100 posts so that I can say I have a blog.
I’ve already cut back on contributing to other sites. But for the past year I’ve been a little aimless. I worked on so many different things that I can’t even count. So for the next couple months I want to focus intensely on three things.
- Client work to pay off all debts and build up savings.
- Date more and find someone I’m compatible with.
- Work on my golf game and win some tournaments!
This idea came up in an article I read on how Warren Buffett prioritizes things here.
To summarize: List the top 25 things you want to do in life. Then circle the top 5.
The remaining 20 things you avoid at all costs until you’ve accomplished the top 5. This means I’ll stop practicing guitar, studying Russian, self-publishing stuff, building a blog, etc.
I’ll most likely post only when I have something to say. Maybe once every month or so. I don’t think I can give up writing completely. I find it helps keep the head free of trash and clears up my thinking.
Until next time!