Writing online has changed my life in unthinkable ways.
It can do the same for many of you. After asking via Twitter and email why you don’t write, it surprises me.
Many of you don’t see yourselves as writers. Yet every day you write emails and send them to people — a powerful form of online writing.
Here are the reasons you gave me about why you can’t write online.
The most popular reason we don’t write online
This one makes my blue eyes bleed: fear.
What the heck are you so afraid of mate? Be afraid of death, not of writing online. 99% of people won’t pay attention. And if you make a mistake you can edit or even delete the story.
The LinkedIn boogie monsters can’t hurt you with their petty comments.
Writing online is scary at first, but it gets easier the more you do it. After a year the fear will go away and you’ll be left with a life-changing writing habit.
Fear is a sign you’re going beyond your comfort zone. Bizarrely, that’s how you get an unfair advantage in life.
Fear is a compass to everything you want. Follow it. Write.
A big blocker of writing dreams
Drum roll ….. ourselves.
We BS ourselves with stories or excuses or fake drama. If you followed your heart as much as you listened to those fake stories in your head, you’d already be a New York Times Bestselling author by now.
Don’t know what platform to write on
This one makes me mad.
The platform you write on doesn’t matter, and it will change over time. Myspace. Friendster. They’re all dead. Quora — dying in front of our eyes.
Platforms come and go.
I started writing on an unknown WordPress blog. It wasn’t the right avenue, but it gave me a start. Seriously, spend less time worrying about what platform and focus more time on what you’re going to write.
Great writing and ideas are shareable on any platform.
Just freaking hit publish. It will never be perfect.
My most popular tweet ever has multiple massive errors. Check it out:
LOL. See the spacing? I was probably drunk on veggie juice when I wrote it. And yet it didn’t matter. People came for the writing and the ideas. In fact, I reckon people loved it because of the mistakes.
That’s why I love to spell stuff wrong and look imperfect as much as possible.
Lack of ideas
Most people overthink their writing ideas.
They think they need to be unique or come up with an Einstein revelation. Nope. You can do what DJs do and remix other people’s ideas.
If you still don’t have ideas then read more. Take notes as you read. Then use those ideas in your writing.
It’s not a lack of ideas. It’s an obsession with originality.
- What font should I use?
- What time should I publish?
- How long should the story be?
- Should I publish it on my website and social media?
This is what writers sound like when they jerk off and overthink too much. The answer to all these questions is to start. You’ll figure it out as you go.
I always hate publishing on Sundays because the engagement on my writing is typically low. Yet online writers such as Sahil Bloom and Sean Kernan swear by Sunday publishing.
“It’s less crowded on Sunday” they say.
See what I mean. All BS. Write. The rest is semantics.
Afraid to be vulnerable
I’ll tell you a secret about my writing. For years readers have told me that my willingness to be vulnerable has made some of my writing irresistible.
The more vulnerability you add the faster humans with emotions and big hearts will be drawn to your writing.
This quote comes to mind…
The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right – Neil Gaiman
But paradoxically, famous writers such as Lawrence Yeo are rarely vulnerable. They focus on telling other people’s stories or publishing facts. Yet they still have large audiences and make a full-time living from writing online.
I doubt myself all the time. In fact, I have imposter syndrome as I write this.
Who the heck am I to give writing advice? says my terrified brain. Screw you brain. I do what I want!
We all doubt ourselves. We all think we’re not enough. So what? Nothing unique about it. Write online anyway. Writing produces evidence you can do it. That evidence places a stick of dynamite up the butt of self-doubt.
Not enough time
What the heck are you doing?! Turn off Netflix. Tell your boss the long hours are killing you. Say no more. If there’s no time it’s not a priority.
You have time. You’re probably just wasting it in another area.
No writing habit, no chance of making it.
Get committed. Once-in-a-blue-moon writing doesn’t produce results that allow you to keep going. Commit.
“I will write once a week on Friday at 3 pm. If I don’t then you can publish a nude photo of me.” Say that to someone. You’ll get committed real fast.
Commitment gets automated with a writing habit that’s a recurring event in your calendar.
Lack of patience
“Are we there yet mommy?”
That’s what a writer who measures results too early sounds like. Stop it. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And a writing career definitely isn’t built in a day, week, or even month.
People fail to write online because they hate to become successful slowly. They’d rather try and get rich fast from writing and never make it.
In my recent writing academy course launch, I met three potential students. Each of them had thought about writing online for more than ten years.
I felt sick. I wanted to vomit up my soy milk frappuccino. What are you waiting for? We’re not getting any younger. If you wait too long your writing ideas might have to go to the grave with you, never to be heard.
Stop preparing. Start writing and getting public feedback that’ll guide you forward and build a snowball of momentum.
No one can predict what will happen. What ifs are a death sentence for creativity. Just let it all hang out and see what sticks to the minds of readers.
Too much fortunetelling, not enough doing.
As a tradie (tradesperson) once said to me, “Opinions are like a**holes. Everyone’s got one.”
He’s right. People can have their opinions. They can love you or hate you. But you don’t have the power to control minds unless you’re part of Tom Cruise’s religion. So let critics do their unpaid job and ignore them. Or just delete their comments — problem solved.
“I’m not qualified”
Congrats — there are no qualifications to become a writer. We’re all born writers. If you wrote an email today you’re an online writer.
Don’t let dumb labels limit your potential. Burn them in a bonfire.
Too much reading
Reading can become mental masturbation after a certain point. Read to fill up your brain. Write to empty it. Repeat.
Bloody writer’s block
Never start with a blank page ever again. Write ten headlines a day. Add dot points under your headlines. When you sit down to write, pick a headline with dot points and go for it. The story writes itself.
Writers often compare themselves to my stats. Don’t.
I’ve been doing it 8 years. There’s no comparison. It’s time in the game rather than some secret talent or hack for going viral.
And little Johnny who brags about millions of views is probably full of crap. Focus on your writing and don’t get bogged down in stats — or worse, comparing your stats to another writer’s.
Feel the writing fear and do it anyway.
Most people don’t write online because of BS excuses. That creates a huge opportunity. If most people consume and you’re one of the few who creates, well, you’re going to succeed even if you’re a mediocre writer like me.