30 Things I’ve Learned From Publishing 100 Articles

On August 7, 2015, I published my first article on DariusForoux.com. When I hit that publish button I had no idea where it would lead to. I also had zero expectations about how many people would read my stuff.

Now, 100 articles further (this is #101), things are a lot different. I never thought I’d meet so many great people through blogging. I also never thought I would end up drawing my own blog images (I was always the least creative kid in school).

During the first six months of blogging, I only focused on improving my writing and finding my style. I always wanted to write the way I talk — that’s more difficult than I thought.

That’s probably one of the most important lessons I’ve learned: Write the way you talk and think.

I’ve created a list of 30 other lessons I’ve learned. I hope you find them useful since you can apply them to any work.

  1. It’s hard. But so is life. Just accept it and write.
  2. I like to switch up my writing routine. Sometimes I write 30 minutes a day. Sometimes I write one full day a week and work on other things on the other days.
  3. It takes a while before you find your style.
  4. If you want ideas (output), you need to feed your mind some quality content (input). I do that by experimenting, reading, researching, journaling, connecting with people, having conversations, and being curious.
  5. Don’t see it as a money-making machine.
  6. Since you won’t make a lot of money, especially not in your first year, you need other sources of income.
  7. Don’t look at views. Look at engagement. How many people respond? How do they respond? Was it useful to them?
  8. Don’t pretend you know everything because you don’t.
  9. Don’t fake it. People will find out that you have no idea what you’re talking about.
  10. Stay close to yourself.
  11. Look at everything that happens to you as writing material.
  12. Respond to every email you get from a reader.
  13. Ignore idiots.
  14. Be honest. We’re all having the same challenges. It’s better to admit that you’re not perfect.
  15. Ask yourself: Could any person write this article? If the answer is yes, press control + A and hit delete. The last thing you want is to become a faceless writer.
  16. It’s better to build your own blog and let people know about your personality than to write for large publications (where you will be one of many).
  17. Who are you? What do you stand for? If you don’t have a clear answer; don’t publish anything yet. Figure out those things first.
  18. Consistency is important. But don’t feel like you always have to stick to stuff you’ve said in the past. People change and so do you.
  19. Inspiration is a skill — don’t wait for it, generate it.
  20. Writing is also a skill — you improve it only by reading and writing.
  21. Actually, everything is a skill except for stuff like height and looks. Anything else is learnable.
  22. If you suck, you’re doing something wrong. Find out what that is.
  23. Don’t sit and hope that people will read your stuff. Distribute it. Get it in front of people.
  24. Expect and prepare for criticism. Listen to it. But don’t take it personally.
  25. Thank your readers as much as you can.
  26. Give away all your knowledge and don’t be afraid that you lose money. If people want to work with you or buy your stuff, they will do it anyway.
  27. If you commit to blogging, commit for at least a year. If you like it, and other people like your stuff, keep doing it for another year. And then another year. And so forth.
  28. Think about the reader. Would you read something that’s boring? How about something that looks bad? Don’t expect someone to do something you won’t do.
  29. Pay attention to aesthetics: Does the article’s format look good? How about the image? Don’t pick stock images you see 300 times a day.
  30. If your articles are like other people’s articles, you’re doing something wrong.

Looking back at the list I’ve made, I can’t help but think that you can apply these lessons to anything you do in life. I’ve also applied these principles to business and my life. Especially the last one.

Also, every single thing that I’ve learned, I’ve learned from others. I actually attribute 99.9% of the stuff I’ve listed to other people. You know why? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

If someone like Thomas Jefferson says:

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

It’s safe to assume that’s true. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I know better than people who have proved themselves. That’s why I read mostly “old” books. Because they have passed the test of time.

“How about that remaining 0.1%?”

That’s maybe equally important.

And it’s very simple: That final 0.1% is your perspective.

Look, all the stuff I write about is not new or anything. Just take a look around you; nothing is truly new. I think it’s delusional if you think you’re a magical creator of new things in the universe.

Facebook was not a new idea. Google was not a new idea. The iPhone was not a new idea. It’s about execution.

The world is made up of recycled versions of old ideas, but better. And it doesn’t matter who invents something. Who cares anyway? At the end of the day, it’s about who does it better.

Now, because stuff is not new, it doesn’t have to mean we don’t have anything to contribute. We all have our unique perspective. I started sharing my perspective and people seem to resonate with that. And that’s the only thing you need.

I often meet people who say:

  • “I want to write a book on topic X, but there are already thousands of books like that.”
  • “I want to start a (…) business. But there are millions of companies like that.”
  • “I want to be a singer, but there are already a lot of singers.”

So what? Do you know how stupid that sounds? You’re making up excuses.

Just because something exists, you can’t do it anymore? Well, good luck with that! NOTHING is new.

I don’t know what you want to do that already has been done. But I do know this: There are people on this planet who are like you, and they want to hear/see your perspective.

So what are you waiting for? Give it to them.

P.S. Thanks everyone who read one, two, three, or even all 100 of my posts. I never thought that millions of people would read my stuff. It’s great to connect with so many people who share the same values and ideas. You’re awesome.

18 comments

  1. Darius, as a new blogger this post hit just the right spot. Which is why I’m going to blow it up to poster size and thumbtack it to my ceiling so every morning it’s the first thing I see. Okay, that was a little creepy. Maybe I’ll just print it out and refer back to it from time to time. Either way, best one yet. Thanks for the transparency. Keep at it!

  2. Hey, everything I read from you is awesome, let me say it. You are the only person I read constantly, maybe because you write about things that really happen to you and that’s something that helps people realize that everything is cristal clear with you. Thanks for the inspiration and keep doing it!

  3. Hey Darius, good job! I really enjoy reading your blog.

    I understand when you say you don’t actually write about new stuff but it really doesn’t matter. What counts a lot is that you are always reminding us about basic and simple things in life that can make a huge difference. Important values that fall into the cracks because most of people are too busy dreaming away instead of be enjoying the present.

    You have the ability to keep your readers motivated. You show it’s possible to win. You prove that everyone faces bad and good things in life. Dostoevsky put it best when he wrote “In the end God reserved a little bit of everything for everyone”.

    Keep pushing my friend. You have an amazing work in progress ahead!

    Cheers!

  4. Hey Darius, I just finished reading your 101 article! This is awesome. You are one always motive me and inspire me, because of you I am became a regular runner and I just registered my first half Marathon in the coming year in February. I still remember back to six moths I couldn’t even run 2 Kilometers, but now I am running 3 days per week about total 25 Kilometers. I am so proud of myself and I am sure I can do better. Thank you Darius!! I love your writing style which is very straight forward. I love you said “write the way you talk and think”. and your drawing is not bad, they are cute and creative! I think I am going to build my own blog and write something that I am interested. Thank you and keep it up!! PS: If you are travel to Hong Kong, please please let me know I would like to meet you!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks, Gloria! I remember about the running. And I couldn’t be more happy to hear that you’re still running! That’s a great accomplishment. Keep at it! And if you want to start a blog; go for it.

      And if I’m ever in Hong Kong, I will let you know. It’s definitely a place I’d like to visit!

  5. I like your points about staying close to yourself and to be honest. After 26 years in the industry I think I can regard myself as a seasoned journalist, and I learned it’s important that people should hear your own, unique voice. And yes, writing is damn hard work. Don’t take shortcuts — it always shows.

  6. Hello, Darius! Congratulations! Well done! You have an awesome blog! I like your articles (very useful) and your pictures (very creative) a lot! Can you say, please, what kind of programm or app you use for drawing them? Thanks! And good luck with blog!

  7. Darius I like you and I like your article and honesty. One should be honest n humble and find his place and the reason he is here in this big wide world! . Go for it man – love you. All the best.

  8. Darius, can you believe it that it’s one of my student who has guided me to your blog. Loved reading it. And while I was reading it zillions of thoughts flashed in my mind. Let’s see where I go from here. Though I am a teacher right now.

  9. Hey there, Darius! My name is Fira and I gotta say that i’m the new kid in the block when it comes to blogging/keeping a journal. Writing has always been something I love to do since young but it gets harder to stick to it as I grew older. Many a times, I found myself choosing to give up writing to go for a stable job (even if it means that I might not enjoy it and that i’m only in it for the moolahs.)

    Thanks to your writing, it makes me finally believe that somehow, I have the potential in me. That I don’t need to give up what I hold onto dearly and to start working hard instead of making excuses.

    Do continue to inspire many to pick up that pen / start making notes on their journal. I’m glad to have stumbled upon your writing! 🙂

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