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.
- It’s hard. But so is life. Just accept it and write.
- 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.
- It takes a while before you find your style.
- 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.
- Don’t see it as a money-making machine.
- Since you won’t make a lot of money, especially not in your first year, you need other sources of income.
- Don’t look at views. Look at engagement. How many people respond? How do they respond? Was it useful to them?
- Don’t pretend you know everything because you don’t.
- Don’t fake it. People will find out that you have no idea what you’re talking about.
- Stay close to yourself.
- Look at everything that happens to you as writing material.
- Respond to every email you get from a reader.
- Ignore idiots.
- Be honest. We’re all having the same challenges. It’s better to admit that you’re not perfect.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Inspiration is a skill — don’t wait for it, generate it.
- Writing is also a skill — you improve it only by reading and writing.
- Actually, everything is a skill except for stuff like height and looks. Anything else is learnable.
- If you suck, you’re doing something wrong. Find out what that is.
- Don’t sit and hope that people will read your stuff. Distribute it. Get it in front of people.
- Expect and prepare for criticism. Listen to it. But don’t take it personally.
- Thank your readers as much as you can.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.