Motivation

26 Posts That’ll Light a Fire Under Your Ass and Make You a Better Writer

26 Posts That’ll Light a Fire Under Your Ass and Make You a Better Writer

“Am I getting better at this?”

It may be the most important question you can ask yourself as a writer.

If  you’ve never thought to ask it before, go ahead and do it now.

And be honest. Are you a better writer than you were three months ago? A year ago? Three years ago?

If the answer’s “No” (or even “Yes, but not by much”) then you face a serious problem.

Because your skill as a writer is key to your success as a blogger.

Sure, skillful writing won’t guarantee your success, but a lack of skill will sure as hell hinder it.

But if your writing isn’t improving fast enough, there’s some good news…

It doesn’t mean you’re a slow learner.

It just means you’re not engineering enough opportunities to improve.

Let’s find out how, shall we?
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The Best of Smart Blogger 2014 (and How to Kick Butt in 2015)

The Best of Smart Blogger 2014 (and How to Kick Butt in 2015)

Let me guess.

Right about now you’re looking back and wondering where the hell 2014 went.

Seriously, how can twelve whole months disappear so damn quickly?

Regardless, it was an interesting year for us bloggers.

In January, Matt Cutts announced the death of guest blogging (although it still seems to be in rude health almost a year later).

In the summer, Google killed off  its Authorship project, which sucked if you wanted more recognition for your content. (But, hey, at least you didn’t write a 15,343 word guide on the topic.)

It was also the year that blogging platform Medium gained some serious momentum (though you know you still need your own blog, right?)

And a brand new social network called Ello created a lot of buzz in a short space of time and then faded into the background almost as rapidly.

But as another blogging year approaches, it’s important to celebrate the highlights of the one about to pass.

So let’s get started.
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22 Posts to Model If You Want to Get the Respect You Deserve in 2015

22 Posts to Model If You Want to Get the Respect You Deserve in 2015

Admit it. You’re sceptical.

Is great content really the answer to all your blogging woes?

Maybe you’ve heard the mantra once too often, but you can’t help wondering…

Even if you do work your ass off on a post, will it get the recognition it truly deserves?

The blogosphere is so crowded and noisy, even the good stuff gets lost.

So is it even worth the effort to try?

Well, here’s the disappointing truth…

You’re right.

Until you reach a certain level of internet “fame”, the quality of your content doesn’t count for much. You’re like an artist hanging work in a gallery nobody visits.

Quite simply, your blog isn’t big enough – yet. You don’t have the right connections – yet.

And until you’ve spent longer on the blogging treadmill, and earned your blogger’s dues, the most likely result of creating great content is the feeling of disappointment when it’s completely ignored.

It’s not fair. But then nobody said it would be.

That’s why you need an unfair advantage. You need powerful friends…
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On Gluttony, Selfishness, and Unleashing the Power Within

On Gluttony, Selfishness, and Unleashing the Power Within

People are getting more selfish every day.

Have you noticed?

In the US, today is Thanksgiving. Traditionally, it’s a holiday about thankfulness and family and generosity, a day to remind yourself of all the good things and people in your life.

But that’s changing.

It’s becoming more and more about gluttony. Not just sharing a meal with your family, but eating until you put yourself in a turkey-induced coma, waiting a few hours, and then doing it again. Or, if you’re really impatient, you just go into the bathroom and make yourself throw up, so you can eat some more.

Oh, and then there’s shopping. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the best deals of the year, anywhere. You can finally buy all that stuff you don’t really need because, hey, you’re getting a deal.

Personally, I find it disturbing. Not the meals or deals, but the change of focus.

Getting food, getting full, getting a good deal, getting a discount, getting a break. Getting, getting, getting.

But what about giving?

What about focusing on other people?

What about selflessness and service and gratitude and appreciation?

It’s disappearing. Not just on holidays but in people in general.

And it bothers me. So today, I decided to take a stand.

I’m not eating a Thanksgiving meal. I’m not going shopping. I’m going to try not to think about myself at all.

Instead, I’m going to be thankful. You know, what the holiday was originally supposed to be about.
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How to Be Unforgettable

How to Be Unforgettable

Note from Glen: Can I tell you a secret? This is my all-time favorite BBT post. It was first published long before I became editor but here it is again because the message is still so important.

Can I tell you my worst nightmare?

I’m lying in bed in a nursing home, sick and dying, gasping for breath, knowing that any minute now I’ll be passing into the great beyond. And I’m scared, really, really scared, because I’m all alone, and I don’t know what’s going to happen, and oh God, it hurts so much…

But then it stops. My body goes limp, my last breath rattles from my lungs, my bowels release, and the heart monitor beside the bed flat lines, loudly proclaiming the end of the great and mighty Jon Morrow.

A few moments later, a nurse walks into the room, checks my pulse, and looks at her watch. She writes down my time of death on a form, pulls the sheet over my head, and goes back to her office, where she calls the morgue. A day or two later, I’m cremated with five other bodies, all of us too unimportant to even get our own urn.

And the worst part?

The next day, the sun comes up. The birds are singing. People eat breakfast, go to work, attend meetings… and nobody even notices I’m gone. The great wheel keeps on turning, and for better or worse, I’m forgotten. Goodbye cruel world, nobody gave a damn about me after all.

Scary, isn’t it?

Just writing it down gives me the willies.

It’s not just dying, although that’s certainly gruesome. It’s being forgotten. Down deep, I believe all of us have a primal need to be remembered, to pass something on to future generations, to leave some mark on the world saying, “I was here.”

If we’re being honest, I think maybe that’s one of the reasons many of us start blogging. There’s something immensely comforting about knowing your thoughts are out there for the whole world to read. You could kick the bucket tomorrow, but your words will live on, teaching, inspiring, and taking root in the minds of readers for generations to come.

Or at least that’s the idea.

What really happens, of course, is that you pour your heart and soul into a post, and no one seems to care. No comments, no links, no nothing. Come on over, friends, and check out my blog. We’re watching my ideas die in real time. Yuk, yuk, yuk.

And it’s disturbing.

When you pull up your blog, and you see it says “0 comments” next to every post, you feel like nothing has changed. Once again, you’re slipping through the cracks, passing into oblivion, one more nobody with a stupid little blog, God save your soul.

The good news?

It can change. You just have to realize your writing by itself isn’t a magic key to immortality. If you want that, you have to be unforgettable. You have to touch people so deeply, connect with them so powerfully that your ideas are burned into their minds.

Here’s how: More