Originally from Medium.
Pardon me for the click-baity headline, but truly, it was made to catch your attention.
Haha. I feel so proud and disgusted with myself at the same time.
Well, now that I’ve gotten your attention:
This is indeed an epic and awesome guide to writing blog articles people want to read.
And you can do it your way. For however good or bad a writer you think you are, I truly believe my guide right here will help.
This is not just any typical how-to guide though…
I personally think that there’s a lot of cliched advice on writing out there, a lot of which are crap and don’t help you grow as a writer.
My advice is a mixture of both mindset and practical.
I’ll give you ideas so you know how to approach writing with your mind.
And then I’ll give you practical steps to writing articles as a basic guide.
You’ll see how they all work together to help bring out the artist in you.
You MUST read the entire guide for it to make sense.
Ready? Let’s fucking go!
The Mindset Stuff
1. First and foremost, know that writing is art,hence subjective as hell
This is how I like to put it all the time:
Somewhere out there is somebody who thinks that Harry Potter or The Lord Of The Rings is a piece of shit. And that is that.
Are those two series considered “good” writing to that somebody then? No, obviously not.
The same concept needs to be applied to you then.
However much you pour your heart and soul into your writing, somebody isn’t going to like it.
Who then, ultimately can actually tell you that your writing is “good?”
The answer is you.
But of course, gaining a ton of validation from the masses would definitely boost your confidence in your writing.
For the sake of this article, I won’t be talking about gaining validation. That to me is in the realm of marketing.
We’re talking about becoming a good writer in your own eyes and your heart. We’re not here to aim to become a popular writer.
Those are two different things altogether.
Read on. My entire article will piece the puzzles together for you.
2. “Good writing is giving a piece of your humanity back to humanity.”
This was what acclaimed writer Ryan Holiday told me when I consulted him.
That’s it! Again:
“Good writing is giving a piece of your humanity back to humanity.”
That is how every kind of art works.
Art is created to let people feel something they never thought they could feel.
So the question now is: Are you writing as an artist?
Are you giving a piece of your humanity back to humanity?
Are you giving a piece of your life back to life?
Are you pushing yourself as a writer?
Or are you just trying to follow the crowd and write up a bunch of boring crap the rest of the world is already writing about?
Remember, writing is art. It’s something awesome and downright personal.Use it as a medium to express yourself so you can send a special message to everybody else so that they can in turn, start to feeling something they never thought was possible.
3. Writing is expressing your voice
And hence, developing your own voice is important.
I honestly don’t think anything else can be said here. Creating your own voice takes a bit of time.
It irks me when I see others teach shit like “How to create your own voice in writing”. Don’t you see the irony in that? By following them you’re only following their voice.
4. Writing is a lifestyle
So to develop your voice, you need time and practice. That’s it.
Keep writing. Don’t stop. Writing is a lifestyle. If you’re a writer, just fucking write and don’t stop.
Inspiration is fucking everywhere. Grab it. Form ideas and then write it down.
Take pride in being a writer and never stop expressing yourself. You’re not putting yourself out there to write just one book, one viral article or whatever and call it a day.
Never, fucking stop writing.
That’s all for the mind.
Approach writing as art so can you create for yourself your own way and not for validation only.
Write to give a piece of your humanity back to humanity so people can feel something they never thought was possible.
Finally, never stop being a writer. Take up the lifestyle and keep honing your voice. Nobody ever gets it right the first time. And no self-respecting writer would call it day with just one big hit or whatever.
The Practical Stuff
Alright! You ready for the practical step-by-step so you can start creating art that people want to read?
To preface: This is just a guide. This is to help facilitate your journey as a writer.
I don’t ever want to come across as too preachy and contradictory as if my words are prophetic.
This is just to help you out. Ultimately, your art is yours.
Let’s fucking go! I’ll be writing out the steps and then giving comments below each of them to complement them.
1. Use this article template which I feel can help you write substantial posts
It’s pretty straight forward and I think it serves as a great foundation for you to write articles people care about.
Immediately relate a personal story here. Tease people and give them an idea of what is ahead, what you learnt and how you can help them.
That’s it. The more personal the better.
The point here is that many newbies like to start off their articles by attempting to sound knowledgeable.
You know how some people start their speeches on the podium with shit like, “Webster’s dictionary defines…” and then ramble on and on?
Look man, nobody wants to the know the definition of whatever it is you want to talk about. People already have Google for that.
You’re here to express yourself as an artist, so get personal. Start off strong and show people that this is one damn article only you in this entire fucking world can write.
I’ve had a bunch of readers pitching guest posts to my blog. I remember one saying it was about confidence and the opening line was, “How do you define confidence? Confidence is…”
Yawn. If however, he started with something like, “I lost all my confidence one fine day back in high school because I accidentally crapped my pants in front of everybody. But over the years I got it back.”
See the major difference?
Remember, this is YOUR article. You’re the artist, and you’re here to express the shit out of yourself. You’re not here to write articles for your professor to be graded in college. You don’t need boring definitions and trite pieces of knowledge only schools care about.
Second paragraph/body of article-
At this point, simply continue to elaborate the rest of your personal story you teased in the opening paragraph.
Give more details. Tell people what happened. Weave a story.
Next comes the step-by-step guide-
This is where you provide instructions, the guide or the how-to.
This is where you solve people’s problems.
If you’re a relatively new writer, I’d recommend numbering the steps like so:
1. First point
2. Second point
3. Third point
Give at least three points.
The point of the step-by-step guide is to show readers that you know your shit, that you’re capable of helping people with their problems.
A lot of new writers think it’s okay to spam their words in a bunch of paragraphs. That is dangerous because unless you’re really good at hooking people as they read along, people would get bored, lost and frustrated. Nobody really likes to see a wall of text.
Why do you think list posts always work so well?
Also, you’d want your steps to be really instant and actionable. You want readers to go, “Wow! I’m going to try this shit out NOW!”
Do you see then, they literally just had a takeaway from your writing?
This works very well in articles on online marketing. As much as I think a lot of it is bullshit and scammy, they definitely know how to work the readers.
Feed a line that says, “Step 1: Use this one-click method I used to make $1,000 while only wearing my underwear at home” to a vulnerable newbie and you can bet your bitch ass that newbie thinks he can do the same.
Or heck, why do you think articles on life hacks work so well?
That’s it for my template for creating substantial posts. It will look like this. This is from my own blog, How to get over death of a loved one:
And I ended the post right there. I think it’s okay to conclude a post with your last takeaway point.
Remember, this is just a guide for a starting point. It works very well though.Just take a look anywhere online and you’ll see the same format.
Let’s move on to more practical tips.
2. Don’t post up a single YouTube video or picture and call it day
This is something a lot of newbies fall prey to.
They think that they’re adding a lot of value by sharing some really awesome YouTube video or picture.
No. To write blog posts that people want to read, you need to fucking write, not just post some shit up.
Write and give your personal opinion on it. Write something about some fine detail people may have missed out on too.
Relate a personal story via my template format and give people a reason to continue reading along with viewing that video or picture.
It is definitely a really cool video or picture. I bet it was even shared and viewed millions of times, but think about it:
If it was already shared so many times, why would people want to see the same thing on your blog or channel?
Also, remember, you’re here to become a writer and artist.
You’re not a journalist.
Journalists share shit, write a bit of a commentary on it and then call it day, all for the sake of gaining traffic and making money for their company.
You’re better than that. You’re representing you, so do that.
3. Always only stick to the theme of your story and do not share too much
Yes, there is such a thing as sharing too much.
A lot of newbie writers have this wrong idea that they need to give as much as possible in order to add more value to the reader.
Nah. You’d only overwhelm the reader.
So always only stick to the single idea/theme of your story.
Look at it this way:
You’re visiting a museum and they have on a display, a few shiny gems.
They’re all really super awesome and cool gems.
If however, you take away all the gems and leave only one on display, it becomes the BRIGHTEST.
You want that for your story. Let your single idea shine in its full glory!
For whatever other awesome ideas you have, don’t worry, if they’re truly awesome, it’d be meant for another post. So chill.
4. Write as much as you can according to how much you push yourself
There’s always conflicting advice to how much you should write and publish on your blog.
Some say everyday. Some say only once in a while after you’ve put in your all in that post.
So this is how I like to see it instead: Write as much as you can according to how you push yourself.
This encapsulates being motivated and getting out of your comfort zone.
There is truly no right or wrong here, but… if you really want to push yourself as a writer…
You’re going to have to embrace the fear.
You’re going to have to feel shitty.
You’re going to have to stop making excuses.
You’re going to have to feel downright scared.
And then you write, and hit publish.
That’s how you push yourself as a writer.
As James Altucher puts it, you’re going to have to bleed in your writing.
Get really personal, vulnerable and fucking bleed.
This part is honestly tricky. People all around think that they’re pushing boundaries with their writing just because they are writing about it.
But the bigger question is, are you actually feeling it deep down into your soul and feeling that fear? Or are you simply thinking you’re writing “enough?”
Look man, straight up, I don’t a give a shit about how you got out of your comfort zone and that you wrote about how you got out of your comfort zone.
If I wanted another a damn article on getting out of your comfort zone, I’d Google it and find it on some popular blog that is syndicating all these boring articles.
I mean, why would I want to click on a headline that says, “7 ways I got out of my comfort zone” when I can click on “The day I revealed my pregnancy to my mom when I was only 15”?
See the major difference?
That example may be rather morbid, but think about all the clickbait-y headlines being shared around today. As contrived as they are, they’re getting the views. And the writer or creator definitely took the leap in putting himself out there.
So keep pushing yourself. This is how much you should write.
Feel it, write it and never stop.
5. Be bloody consistent
Indeed, never fucking stop.
Writing is art. Art is life!
You’ll only get better as you keep writing.
You’ll definitely find your voice through consistency. That’s where your style will come about and will continue to evolve.
You’ll also develop the confidence to be yourself in your writing.
You don’t have to tell me.
I am fucking vulgar as fucking fuck in my writing and that’s the way I like it.
I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but you’re a fucking writer and you’re a fucking artist.
Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Be consistent and you’ll gain a ton of confidence as you become the writer you’re meant to be.
Also, write so you can keep getting better in every, small possible way.
Not once did I want to write shit like, “Have perfect grammar. Check for typos.” That’s like me telling you to use the toilet when you feel like you need to pee.
Good grammar is a given. You MUST be grammatically correct at all times. I can’t teach you how to have good grammar except to write and read more. If you think you can get away with bad grammar, you’re wrong. Super wrong. That’s like calling yourself a good speaker but you squeak like a mouse.
And typos happen. Get over it. Just proofread your shit.
Writing is indeed subjective, but that doesn’t mean it should turn you into a pretentious asshole who thinks he can disrespect other writers.
The art, style and the format of it all would always evolve, but you have to be consistent. And yes, do it your OWN way.
To end off…
I’d actually like to talk a little about gaining some form of mainstream success as a writer.
So you want go viral? Or perhaps even that book deal?
Just do what it takes by being consistent.
It is really easy to learn anything today. All you need is the internet.
That said, it is really easy to think you can emulate the success of other writers quickly and easily. And I am not even talking about scammers out there trying to pull you a fast one.
Look, just because some writer out there went viral one day with some random article he wrote and then he even managed to score a book deal with it doesn’t mean you’re going to experience the same.
Life doesn’t work that way. If you’re looking for success that way, you’d have better luck buying lottery tickets everyday.
Also, you gotta know that just because somebody is good at something, it doesn’t mean that they are good teachers.
If you want opportunities to come to you, then you’re going to have to be really, really consistent.
Keep writing. Don’t stop. The opportunities will come. The fans will come. But the onus is entirely on you.
Slow and steady indeed wins the race.
The race though, is honestly against yourself.
Because you’re a fucking artist.
So never stop writing. Never stop creating art. Never stop. You’ll find your way. You’d definitely not need my template and stuff.
I hope this little guide helps.
If I succeed in inspiring any writer today, it’d be that I sincerely hope you don’t have to use this guide at all one day.