You know, it feels crazy.
10 years ago, I started Enchanting Marketing. To be exact, I published my first blog post here on 2 November 2012.
My plans were hazy.
I didn’t even know what my next blog post would be about.
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? And isn’t it amazing how a body of work grows when you keep showing up?
Below follow my 28 biggest lessons from 10 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 I wrote, the more ideas I got.
For instance, each blog post has a loose end—a question unanswered or a detail worth exploring, which can spark a new blog post.
As Maya Angelou said: “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
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. Rewild your attention
When we read the same as everyone else, we’ll produce similar content.
So, follow your curiosity.
Read something wild, and see where it leads to.
4. The best writing is personal
When you show up in your writing, readers sense your presence, and your writing feels more alive.
So, write about what fascinates you.
Share what you’re learning. Answer your own questions. Tell your stories.
5. 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.
6. Talent is overrated
What’s required to become a good writer is:
- An understanding of your audience
- A good process to generate ideas
- Another process to turn tiny ideas into valuable blog posts
- A grasp of reader psychology so you can captivate people and entice them to read your writing from your first to your last word
We can all learn how to write better. (Start here.)
7. Writing is uncertain
The thoughts in your mind never quite flow onto paper as you expect.
But when you establish a solid writing process, you can turn any crappy draft into a decent blog post.
I learned to trust my process.
8. Take breaks
Breaks are a creative super-power.
Your brain will continue processing your ideas (even when you sleep!) so you can make fresh connections and come up with new ideas.
9. Writing is thinking
Writing down your thoughts shows up the flaws in your thinking.
That’s one of the reasons why writing can be so hard.
10. Learn as you blog
You don’t need to be an expert to start a blog; you become an expert by blogging regularly.
On this blog, for 10 years, I’ve simply been sharing what I’ve been learning.
11. 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.
12. Avoid writing chores
When writing becomes a chore, your writing voice becomes more monotone and a touch of dreariness sneaks in.
So, make writing a choice, not a chore.
13. You can’t just write for your readers
You also have to write for yourself.
Find out what sparks your creativity and write from your heart.
14. Don’t worry about finding your voice
Instead, focus on communicating your ideas clearly, study good writing, and your voice will appear as if by magic.
15. Set a timer
When I started to set a timer and challenged myself to focus for 25 minutes before taking a break, I became a lot more productive.
16. 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.
17. Don’t write until you’re empty
Leave some enthusiasm in your tank, so getting started tomorrow is easier.
As Hemingway said: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next.”
18. 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.
Then get to work editing your draft.
19. Dance with your fears
Your fears are a sign that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone.
You’re writing something that matters to you.
So, don’t fight your fears.
Instead: Dance with your fears.
20. No perfect writing process exists
Each time I thought I’d found the perfect process, I hit a new stumbling block.
So, the key is this:
Don’t get frustrated.
And learn how to get yourself unstuck.
21. Chop up the writing process
When each writing task feels more doable, you’re less likely to procrastinate.
22. Get to know your inner critic
When I drew a picture of my inner critic, I finally learned how to work with her.
23. It’s okay to obsess about details
Perfectionism only turns ugly when you worry that others may criticize you.
24. Mistakes are rarely as bad as we think
I’ve done it all. Published blog posts with typos. Duplicated emails by accident. Sent emails to the wrong people.
I’ve learned to forgive myself.
We’re all human.
25. Avoid creative ruts
Writing on auto-pilot kills the joy of writing.
So, I’ve kept tiptoeing outside my comfort zone. I learned how to use metaphors. I tried narrative writing. I wrote about the tiniest topics. I dared to be vulnerable.
Creativity thrives on adventures.
26. No perfect blueprint exists
The best bloggers are passionate about their subject matter.
They write from the heart.
And you can’t figure that out in a spreadsheet.
27. Hold your plans lightly
The key is to get started, and then adjust as you go.
I adjusted my plans often.
In my first year, I changed my target audience. I also narrowed down my blog topic. I tried consultancy, freelance writing, coaching, and courses.
But here I am, still blogging, and enjoying it.
28. Writing is magic
When I write, I feel most alive.
Writing for you has been an honor
Thank you for reading. Thank you for being here.
And thank you for cheering me on.
Here’s to the next 10 years!
A shorter version of this post was published on 23 October 2018; the expanded version was published on 2 November 2022 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Enchanting Marketing.
Recommended reading on nurturing a blogging habit:
A 5-day plan for blogging consistently
A dilly-dallier’s guide to starting a writing habit
How reading feeds my writing habit
Thank you, Henneke, for sharing your learning throughout your blogging journey.
Getting to know about the learning curve of a pro blogger is an exciting thing for freshers…
Everyone’s writing attitude is different, but fundamentals are so so important. And these 28-pointers are a result of 10 years of hard work, consistent writing, networking, and a positive blogging mindset.
This was a great article. Thank you!
Especially the part about adjusting the plans as you go.
It was as if I wrote that part 🙂
Congratulations on this big milestone Henneke! Thanks for sharing this wonderful list of insights with us. Keep on writing!
WOW, Henneke, your writing style and tone of voice genuinely make my day brighten up, your happy self shines through. I look forward to receiving your emails and read your writing topics which are always of interest. Congratulations on your 10 years of blogging.
Congratulations on 10 successful years, Henneke!
I just checked and I have been subscribed to your blog since Oct 2014. It’s been wonderful learning from you and it is always a pleasure to read what you write. You make it sound so simple and easy to do.
Thanks for you wonderful content, Henneke.
And, I’ve been here all ten years! I have appreciated and enjoyed all your work. Learned more grammar accidentally from you than ever by design in school! Your attitude and spirit always makes whatever you write a joy to read. I never fail to hear your voice in your writing. Henneke, you are a writer! Grace and peace.
I love this article and your advice to push outside of comfort zones and have adventures 🙂 Thank you!
Many years ago, your feedback gave me the confidence to start writing.
Wonderful post with tons of useful links, however, I’m curious about one little thing. Can you simply write a blog post and it not be about content marketing or do you feel drawn to selling more than sharing about your life? Sometimes my blog feels like so much nonsense, but I’m still growing readership. Have I gained people’s interest or are they just being polite? I hardly seek out new blogs right now because I’m in transition, in fact, other than my blog, I’ve done no additional writing. Mainly because we have only spotty internet at my brother’s house. Yet I’m feeling the old draw that I need to get back to it soon! So when we finally get going and we are on the road, I hope my muse returns! Congrats on so many years of success!
I love your voice, encouragement, and insight. You are incredibly generous with your knowledge and kind with your support. I’m your student for life.
I started a blog because you made it feel like I could do it. https://marji.substack.com/
Thank you, and happy anniversary!
You’ve given me 10 years of valuable writing tips and you have made it fun!!
Thank you so much for everything you’ve said. I enjoy your site and the positivity, attitude, and perspectives you provide. I, too, have caught the writing bug, but no matter how hard I try, the procrastination rock always gets in the way. I do some work-related writing, and I’ve taken a lot of your advice. Keep it up, you’ve made a big impression, and your voice is fantastic!
Always appreciate Henneke’s insights – down to earth and practical which encourages me to persevere and improve – thanks to Henneke it’s a journey that I am enjoying.
Self Sabotage is something i have struggled with in the past, that little voice in your head that says you cant do this!
I’m learning to say “Yes” to as much as possible, this has helped my creativity no end. Inspiration is all around you, you just need to get out there!
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for another actionable post! I love, love, love Your blog!
Your advice to change negative thought patterns and to show up regularly are spot-on.
Getting into the habit of writing every day, even just a little bit, helps me to know that making a living with my writing *is* possible. And like you indicated, the more we write the easier it becomes to write more!
In his book The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson makes the point that small actions we do on a consistent basis make all the difference.
His point is that small actions are just as easy *not* to do, and so we often skip them. This also makes all the difference but in the wrong direction.
Your tip to show up regularly is a step in the right direction. Thank you for the post!
I’m so glad I found your blog today. I have been struggling with maintaining my new site. For me, it’s all to do with the crippling fear of not getting everything out of my head properly. So I really needed to read this post!!
Thank you Henneke.
Self-sabotage. Scared to write. It’s also my big problem. But after I read this entry, i realise that nobody is perfect and i must learn to overcome my negative thoughts.
I can do it.
You are very inspiring. I have loved every post. Congratulations on blogging for 6 years. I look forward to reading many more posts.
Thanks Henneke for your post that touches our heart 🙂
Thank you for being there. You and your writing are both awesome! ?
Thank you Henneke for always showing your strength by sharing your vulnerability.
You have been a tremendous inspiration.
Especially dancing with your fear, is a special one and it’s one that you have been teaching through your posts for a long time already.
I love that you emphasise that feeling emotional content that comes with creating certain content is actually a good reason to do it.
You lead by example. Now if you don’t mind, I have some fears to dance with ;).
I love reading your tips because I always find a bit of advice I can use. It’s true that a regular writing habit improves your speed and abilities, I found that out through challenges, NaNoWriMo (even though I wasn’t trying to write a novel), and blogging daily for a year-long project one time. I blog regularly but not necessarily every day. I hope to keep improving with practice, although I am growing tired of the constant rejection letters. (Read my poem on Rejection in Chalkboard on Medium)
Thanks for the tips and suggestions!
As a business with a blog attached we know the importance of adding good content regularly. However we often feel “too busy” to keep it up. You are really inspiring though Henneke and help keep us on the right track!
Thanks for the shoutout Henneke. Hard to believe it’s been six years. You are still singing and I so appreciate you and your work. God Bless and yes, please do Keep It Up!
Happy blog birthday, Henneke!
It’s always a pleasure to read your writing. Sometimes it provokes, sometimes it soothes, but it’s always informative.
Thanks for all your inspiration over the past six years.
Henneke! Let me tell you Ever since I launched my “how to make more money”, business and personal finance blog, you have always been a great help to my sustenance in inspiring my fans, and my readers’ lives. They always appreciated my magic in writing as a result of your influence.
My fans are glad to enhance their finance and businesses with my business blog which has been a great influence from your blog. Thank you so much Henneke! God will continue to bless you! More greases to your elbow!
Your source shall never run dry! .
Hi Henneke! Your content has always been a pleasure to read. Not only does it soothes the harsh voices in my head but also it tends to cultivate new ideas. I love the way you write and most importantly I love to be able to explore your writing. I am one grateful reader of your content! Thanks ?
Yes, please, Henneke! Keep up writing and blogging!
Not only it is always enjoyable to read you but I also learn something new and interesting each time. Thank you very much for inspiring me for my own writing 🙂
Hello Ms. Henneke
Firstly, I have to say this post is a very interesting reality check. Especially the method you utilize to more-or-less keep yourself in bounds. Dancing with your fears is one way of dealing with them that simply never occurred to me. Virtually every aspect of writing is simply a joy. I’ve been a weekly columnist for a small town newspaper for the past three-plus years. Other interests include poetry, philosophy and I’ve jus submitted my first manuscript for publication. There has been an interest in blogging but I’m simply uncertain, as you were early on, how to start and continue the process. How did you overcome this obstacle and does it, even now, sometimes plague you?
I have really learnt alot from your website. Your tips on using storytelling techniques to enhance blog posts really helped me. Thanks.
Yeah, yeah, I know, you did keep up that level of detail 😉 I am jealous.
Another wonderful post, Henneke with great tips. Happy anniversary ♡
I particularly loved the “Dance with your fears” and I believe that the fear is a sign that something good is bubbling up. Sometimes, I’m even right.
“Dance with your fears”. What a beautiful sentence, Henneke!
Keep up the awesome work!
I love the way you take the threads of writing advice, creative advice and life advice and plait them together throughout your blog. You take us along on your own journey and it’s both inspiring and companionable in the same moment.
I’m encouraged when you share points like “An empty creative well does not exist” with a simple suggestion: take care of yourself and your muse will return.
I also love that you advocate dancing with your fears. This is a creative courage of which I need constant reminding.
Thank you for your bi-weekly conversations with us. I’m raising my water glass here and drinking to many more years of writing pleasure for you and us.
While I love your content, and yes, I’ll probably purchase your course, can I be honest? I’m weary of the lack of grace & beauty in the current view, I cringe at off-color language or tawdry innuendos. I think you are amazingly talented and just don’t need to use those kinds of methods. I find myself stumbling over those references, both annoyed distracted, losing the focus of what I look to your content for in the first place.
With lots of warm but truthful wags,
A hearty LOL on #1 Henneke because I laugh when folks believe writing and seizing ideas leads to burn. Fear speaking there guys. The more you create, the more creative you become. Phenomenal list.
Congratulations on your anniversary. Well deserved. I look forward to reading your pearls of wisdom for the next 6 years.
like usually, your writing so powerful and inspire me to write more Topics.
Thank you So much, and continue what you do 🙂
I’ve found #16 to be my best thinking and writing pattern – “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.”
Loved this article – and all your posts!
Your blog always rocks. You and James Clear.com are my two favorite posts. You both have genuine and generous ideas given freely and well. Thank you Henneke. My courage is mounting.
Your advice is a treasure. I am grateful that I found you.
Henneke, thank you for every word. I love your blog and adore the positivity, the attitude, and insights you share. I too have caught the writing bug but as much as I try it is always squashed by the procrastination rock. I do write some articles for work and I have used a ton of your suggestions. Keep it up, you have made a huge impact and your voice is delightful!
“1. Ideas breed ideas—it’s like idea sex”
This has made me laugh out loud. I recently felt as though my ideas well was running dangerously low, so I started to read novels again. And you’re right – ideas breed ideas. Thank you for the validation, and the laughs 🙂
I, too, have blogged for a long time, but have begun to slow down. Reading all this makes me think I should go back to some of my first posts and just read. Seems that would rekindle some of that joy you mention.
And thank you for blessing obsessing. That makes me feel so much better. 😉
I hear your thoughts and find that I have many of the same thoughts myself in many cases. I procrastinate because I think and I write then I rethink and change what I am Writing. That’s wrong I know, I must stop and make it a second writing time. I appreciate your thoughts, trails and fears because I have those and a few that are only my own. Please keep writing, I am learning so much.
I loved #18, drawing your Inner Critic to get to know her better. There is so much fear in the unknown, and as Nelson Mandela said: If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
Fabulous tips. I’ve written two books and can totally identify with your points. Your site is fabulous and your advice inspiring. Thanks
I recently signed up for your writing tips. I have not skipped a single one in my inbox.
You are soo great, giving people like me, who have been writing for years without giving it regard, a voice to be daring in our writing pursuits.
Thank you for your awesomeness. You inspire me every day.
These insights are fantastic and well-earned. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
For me, the power of focus has been my biggest win lately. I’m working on a course, trying to get to the finish line, and it seems like it’s taking forever. It’s amazing how a half hour here and an hour there add up to something.
Thanks again for this post. I’m looking forward to another year of your enchanting words!
Thanks for the tips. I will think about them.
Beautiful. Bravo. Thank you for sharing your humble genius. Keep ‘em coming! ❤️
I totally agree with each and every one of your 23 lessons. I too have been blogging for 6 years, and never ran out of subjects. When you are really into your subject, there is always more to investigate and write about. So, keep up the good work and above all keep enjoying what you do!
Love to read your blogs, and am always enchanted…
“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.”
Can we take a moment to appreciate the power in this statement? I have slowly been discovering that what applies to the rules of writing often applies to life in general, this statement confirms that. Imperfection is part of the process. Once we embrace our imperfection and learn to love it, we suddenly have the power to change it. It’s the great irony of life. Thank you for sharing this blog with its personal touches with us, it’s great to have tangible insights into your writing highs and lows – as the writer we all look up to.
The biggest takeaway for anyone should be that ideas are never ending.
Seth Godin writes a blog post every single day – he has been doing that for 20 years.
Pewdiepie uploads a video every single day – he has been doing that for 10 years.
So nothing to write about is something you will never run into.
The second thing is to write for the joy of it and then you will unfold many things as you move ahead.
P.S. On a side note, about loose ends in blog post – each of the sub-heading can become an individual blog post.
Awesome! Always inspiring content! Thank you very much!
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