You know, it feels crazy.
6 years ago, I started Enchanting Marketing. To be exact, I published my first blog post here on November 2nd, 2012.
A great read – don’t keep up this level of detail or you will burn out!
[Y]our content is singing girl. Keep it up.
The truth is, I had no idea how I’d keep it up.
I didn’t even know what my blog would be about … something about marketing or content marketing or … writing?
I didn’t have a list with blog post ideas.
Even worse, I didn’t see myself as a writer and I didn’t feel I had enough expertise to share. I was full of self-doubt.
But isn’t it weird how you become a writer when you keep writing?
I have rarely thought further ahead than my next blog post.
But somehow I learned to show up regularly and to let ideas flow more freely. I learned to trust that I could always turn a scary empty sheet into a solid blog post.
How did that happen?
Below follow the 23 biggest lessons I learned during my first 6 years of blogging.
1. Ideas breed ideas—it’s like idea sex
I used to be nervous about running out of ideas.
But the more you write, the more ideas you’ll have. For instance, each blog post has a loose end—a question unanswered or a detail worth exploring, which can spark a new blog post.
2. An empty creative well doesn’t exist
We simply lose our ability to tap into our creativity.
So, look after yourself well and do the work, and your muse will return.
3. We all self-sabotage
Negative thoughts swirl around our minds, spoiling the fun of writing.
Thoughts like: I’m not creative. I’m not a real writer. My life is too boring. I’m not good enough.
I learned to observe my negative thought patterns and change them. That’s how writing became a true joy.
4. Writing is uncertain
How do you turn a blank sheet into a piece of writing?
You’ll never know exactly what you’ll produce. But when you establish a solid writing process, you learn how to turn crappy writing into shiny content.
5. Write from the heart
When writing becomes a chore, your writing voice becomes more monotone and a touch of dreariness sneaks in.
So, write from your heart because it energizes your writing and inspires your readers.
6. Dive deeper
I found a real joy in challenging myself to understand a topic more deeply, to get to grips with the nuances of writing.
7. Narrow down your questions
When you narrow down your questions, you’ll never run out of ideas.
For instance, learning how to write a good sentence is a relatively big topic. You can narrow down that question to: How do you write a good clincher sentence? Or how do you write an opening sentence?
8. Go off topic
Tiptoe along the edges of your topic or take a big leap if you’re up for it. You’ll learn what resonates with your readers through experimentation.
9. Dance with your fears
Celebrate your fears.
They’re a sign you’re stepping out of your comfort zone. You’re writing something that matters to you.
So, don’t fight your fears. Instead: Dance.
10. Set a timer
When I learned to set a timer and to challenge myself to focus for 25 minutes and then take a break, I became a lot more productive.
11. Fix details later
When you try to fix details while writing a first draft, like adding an example or looking up a quote, you risk losing your train of thought.
12. Don’t write until you’re empty
Leave some enthusiasm in your tank, so getting started tomorrow is easier.
13. Embrace shitty first drafts
You can’t revise messy thoughts in your mind, but you can edit crappy writing.
So, give yourself permission to write badly.
A first draft is a starting point.
14. Creativity requires a plan
Productive writers have a process for turning messy thoughts into writing, a plan to get started, and a toolbox to get unstuck.
When we plan without overplanning, we can let our creative muse dance.
15. No one perfect writing process exists
Each blog post is different, and each time I thought I had found the perfect process, I hit a new stumbling block.
So, the key was learning not to get frustrated and get myself unstuck.
16. Chop up the writing process
Your brain continues processing your ideas even when you’re not writing. So, when you spread your writing over several days, you get better ideas and you write faster.
17. Don’t worry about your writing voice
Instead, focus on communicating your ideas clearly and write from the heart.
Your voice will appear as if by magic.
18. Get to know your inner critic
When I drew a picture of my inner critic, I finally learned how to work with her.
19. It’s okay to obsess about details
Perfectionism only turns ugly when you feel anxious about your writing and when you worry that others may criticize you.
20. Making mistakes is not as bad as we think
We’re all human.
21. Stretch yourself
Writing on auto-pilot kills the joy of writing. So, if you get stuck in a rut, it’s time for a new creative challenge: Change your format, try storytelling, dream up a new metaphor or tiptoe outside your main topic.
Creativity thrives on experiments and new adventures.
22. Writing is thinking
The process of writing forces you to bring logic to your thoughts.
23. There’s intrinsic joy in writing
An honest confession: I don’t just write for you.
I also write because I enjoy playing with words and I have learned to welcome the challenge of formulating my thoughts.
Writing for you has been an honor
I have never taken your attention for granted. I’ve appreciated each of your comments.
Even though I also write for myself, writing this blog has been a conversation with you.
Thank you for cheering me on.
Here’s to the next year of blogging!