The Game of Writing: The basics 1/3

The Basics

When you first enter the world of blogging as an outsider, it can feel overwhelming. Where do I post? Is it free? Should I buy a site? What’s the best platform? You’re flooded with a hundred questions only to realize they’re all incredibly basic. You might think, this is just too much. Knowing that you’re not even considering writing styles, promotion, engagement, or any of the other things that come with it.

That’s the thing though. It can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just a lot to process and that’s fine. Give yourself some time to digest the information. If you have reasonable expectations and take it step by step, you can improve and progress. 

I’ve read dozens of articles about blogging. How to start out, tips for beginners, how to make your first $100, what to do, what to avoid, what to say, how to say it. I’ve read them all. I’ve found many of them helpful but I would like to focus on the one piece of advice that every single article about blogging touches on. 

That’s right, writing.

Fundamentals

Everything starts with the fundamentals. The fundamentals are the foundation on top of which your skyscraper of writing will be built. So taking the time to understand and develop your fundamentals is the best approach to eventually producing great pieces. 

“Learn to walk before you can run”

In the context of blogging, the fundamentals would be the writing. 

This can be described by the pareto principle aka the 80/20 rule. This states that 80 percent of the results come from 20 percent of the efforts. The 20 percent in the case of blogging is the writing. The writing is by far the most important component of your blog and will be deciding factor in whether it succeeds or fails.

You can spend hours on SEO, design, color scheme, marketing, and promotion. But if your writing sucks, nobody will want anything to do with you.

Just start writing

Writing can be broken into numerous categories: grammar, style, structure, format, topic, etc. While these are all important in the their own right, I think that the best strategy to improve across is the board is to just start writing. If you want to become an author, start writing. If you want to become a blogger, start writing. If you want to become better at writing, start writing. If you want to learn to write, start writing. If you think you might be interested in writing, start writing. 

The more you write, the better you’ll become.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching writing, blogging, and content creation. I did the research under the guise of trying to find the most efficient way to do things so that I don’t waste my time. Ironically, spending so much time researching and refusing to execute, I was doing precisely what I set out trying to avoid.

I wanted to learn how to write, so I spent an unnecessary amount of time over researching how to start writing. After all my research, by far the most important (and most obvious) piece of advice I found to improve your writing is: to start writing. 

How our writing grows

Once we’ve built up solid fundamentals, we get to start coming into our own as writers. We’ve learned and experimented with shorter pieces and now we can expand into longer ones with more depth and added authenticity.

It’s been a great experience so far blogging the past few months and getting to read through so many different blogs and perspectives. 

When I was starting out, if I saw someone else post about a similar topic or idea that I had in mind, would get a bit discouraged. I would think, “aw man, guess I’m too late. Someone’s already done this.” 

Now, after reading hundreds of posts after the past months, I’ve come to realize that actually yea, most things really have already been done – in the sense that the broad topics and ideas have all been discussed on some level. Happiness, sadness, life, death, motivation, growth, etc.

Someone somewhere has probably written about almost anything you can imagine. So odds are, they’ve already written about the same idea as you, too. It’s even possible that they’ve used the same picture or exact phrasing.

That’s totally fine. Don’t let that dissuade you from trying. Understand that it comes with the territory when we’re talking about hyper saturated spaces, such as blogging. 

Funny how quickly and completely my view has shifted.

I’ve come to realize that there are a finite number of topics to write about similar to how there are a finite number of opening strategies in chess. However, like in chess, after fives or so moves, an entire world of possibility emerges. What was standard and dull just moments ago is now teeming with possibilities. The opening moves in chess corresponds with the first paragraph of a piece. Once you’re passed that, it’s wide open spaces.

Some of the ways I’ve noticed people create great pieces is through authenticity, creativity, and a willingness to be different. In my next piece, I will discuss authenticity.

Closing remarks

This is the first in a 3 part piece called “So you want to become a blogger.” The next part is called “Authenticity” and the final part will be “Creativity”. I’ve chosen to release them as three separate pieces and then I will release a final version with all of them together as one. I’ll release part 2 tomorrow and part 3 the day after that. Follow me to keep up to date. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, I encourage you to share your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

8 comments

  1. As a full-time writer, your advice to “just start writing” is spot on! It is only through practice that you get better. And everyone’s style is different, so even if you’re writing on a topic that has already been covered, you might write it in a way that is more appealing to certain readers. Great post!

  2. Loved this: “…there are a finite number of topics to write about similar to how there are a finite number of opening strategies in chess. However, like in chess, after fives or so moves, an entire world of possibility emerges. What was standard and dull just moments ago is now teeming with possibilities…”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: