How I Wrote Posts That Touched the Hearts of More Than 5 Million People

How I Wrote Posts That Touched the Hearts of More Than 5 Million People

You know that feeling you get right before you publish a post?

The angel on one shoulder says you’ve written a post of enormous importance and depth, one that will change the lives of your readers forever. Meanwhile, the devil on the other shoulder calls you a halfwit with the writing talent of a chimpanzee doped on acid.

Well, it was a few days before Christmas in 2009, and the devil was winning.

“Please don’t publish it,” I sobbed into the telephone. “The post is crap. It’ll ruin me.”

Sonia Simone, one of the most respected editors in the world, listened politely on the other end of the phone. The night before, I’d sent her a post I’d been working on for months, confident of my writing genius, but mere hours later I was on the phone having an epic freak-out.

The good news is, after working together for years, Sonia was well accustomed to my neuroses, and she knew exactly how to handle me. “Darling, you are the most talented writer I know, and this is your most brilliant work to date.”

My sobs stopped. “Really? You think so?”

“Yes. Now let me get back to work, so we can make you famous.” Click.

For the next hour, there was nothing to do but sit at the computer pressing the “refresh” button over and over again. I trembled. I prayed.

And then the post went live (click here to read it).

The Article That Shook the Internet

Within moments, hundreds of people were sharing it every minute, eventually bringing in more than a million readers. The comment form was so flooded with notes from readers we had to turn it off.

Here are just a few of the comments that made it through:

001- Posts that touched hearts.
002- Posts that touched hearts.
003- Posts that touched hearts.
004- Posts that touched hearts.
005- Posts that touched hearts.
006- Posts that touched hearts.

In short, everyone loved it.

For the next few months, I floated around in a cloud of euphoria. Industry influencers were calling my work the greatest blog post ever written. Well-known magazines offered me as much as $5,000 per article to write for them.

I won’t lie. I enjoyed all the attention.

But I also felt like a fraud.

The Embarrassing Story of How I Really Wrote That Post

It wasn’t my idea at all.

In truth, the entire post was an imitation of this post by Brian Clark. Sure, the story was original, but the headline, the structure, even the cadence of the sentences – it was all parroting Brian’s work.

And the worst part?

Brian was my boss. He’d taken me under his wing a couple of years previously, teaching me more about writing than I could’ve learned in a century anywhere else.

And I just ripped him off.

Oops.

For days, I waited for him to call me on it. I pulled up the homepage of Copyblogger every day, expecting him to have published a post titled, “Jon Morrow Is a Dirty, Despicable Copycat.”

But he didn’t. In fact, he didn’t say anything.

After a few days, the agony of the deception was eating me alive, so I called Brian and confessed. I expected him to yell at me, to fire me, to threaten ruination and shame.

Instead, though, I got perhaps the most important lesson of my career.

The Conversation That Changed My Writing Forever

“Hello?”

“Hey Brian, it’s me. Let’s get this over with.”

“Get what over with?”

“Whatever you’re going to do to me for copying your post.”

He was silent for a few seconds, and then he burst out laughing. “You’re worried about that? Dude, I’m honored. You could’ve written that post a dozen different ways, but you chose to use my work as inspiration. You couldn’t have given me a bigger compliment.”

“Err… what?”

“Nobody’s work is totally unique,” Brian said. “There are only so many recipes. The only thing that changes is the ingredients.”

I was thunderstruck. “Recipes? There are recipes for writing?”

He laughed again. “Your post was a Three-Act Story. So was mine. It’s one of the oldest recipes of all time.”

“Huh. Is there anywhere I can find a list? You know… like a recipe book for writers?”

“Not that I know about,” Brian said, “but study the work of the best writers, and you’ll find them for yourself.”

And so I did.

It took me another five years, but one by one, I found and perfected a dozen different “recipes” for writing popular posts. What’s more, BBT Managing Editor Glen Long and I figured out exactly what “ingredients” go into those recipes that make them so popular.

The result?

Writing popular posts is now as straightforward as cooking up a batch of your grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies. You just have to follow the directions.

Over the next week I’ll release a lot more details, but here’s a quick preview to whet your appetite…

How I Wrote the Most Shared Post in the History of Problogger

You’ve heard of Problogger, right?

It’s been around for over a decade now, publishing thousands of posts, but guess who wrote the one that got the most shares?

Moi. 🙂

From what I heard, it crossed a million visitors years ago. For all I know, it could be up to several million by now.

And once again, it was a post where I used a three-act story, forming the recipe I now call “The Storyteller.”

Let’s break it down…

007- Posts that touched hearts.

In a Storyteller post, the headline often has three parts, and each part corresponds to a subhead in the body of the post. For example, “How I Quit My Job” is the first subhead, linking to Part #1 of the headline.

A little secret:

The reason this headline works especially well is because each part is also a highly desirable benefit of its own. People dream about quitting their jobs and moving to paradise. Topping it off with getting paid to change the world is just irresistible.

The opening sentence, “After all, that’s the dream, right?” also connects directly to the headline, responding directly to the three promises. I call this style of opening the “Conversation Starter,” because it uses a conversational question to bridge the gap between the promise of the headline and the rest of the post.

I could go on, but I want to save a few secrets for later when I reveal the full recipe. 🙂

Before I move on, though, there is something you should know:

This is the most advanced recipe of all. Most writers will need 20–100 hours to do it justice, and even then, very few have the storytelling skills to pull it off.

To use cooking terms, it’s the equivalent of making the perfect Boeuf Bourguignon. In my opinion, it’s the LAST recipe you should attempt.

The good news?

Over the next week, I’ll be revealing the rest of our recipes, and all of them are easier than this one. For instance…

The Easiest Way to Write a Post That Goes Viral

Have you ever noticed how many list posts there are?

You know, posts like, “11 Ways to Do This or That?”

Well, it’s because they are easy to write. You can just jot down your points, write a sentence or two about each, and you’re done.

But let’s be honest.

Most list posts suck. Not because the recipe is bad, but because people use terrible ingredients.

It’s like making a Caesar salad. It’s not complicated to prepare, but the quality of the lettuce and dressing are going to make or break the salad.

List posts work the same way. The quality of your ideas determines how popular the post will be.

If you’re regurgitating shallow ideas from other shallow thinkers, it’s not going to impress anyone. On the other hand, if your ideas are original and deep, the post will go viral in a heartbeat.

Take this post, for instance. I wrote it in about three hours, but take a look at the traffic graph below:

008- Posts that touched hearts.

405,735 visitors so far, and it’s gaining about 25,000 per month.

Why does it get so much traffic?

Because of the quality of the ideas inside. While I only spent three hours writing it, it took me years to make those discoveries, and I gave them away for free to everyone.

To be clear, I’m not saying you need to invest years of your life into research so you can write a list post. I am saying, however, that you have to use your brain when writing it.

Anyway, enough teasing you with tidbits. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

Is It Realistic for You to Expect Your Posts to Get Millions of Visitors?

I’ll be straight with you…

No.

That would be like taking an amateur cook just learning the difference between tablespoons and teaspoons and expecting them to work in a three-star Michelin restaurant.

But here’s the thing:

If you commit yourself to mastering the craft, you can absolutely get there.

Of course, you might not have realized there’s even a craft to master. You might’ve thought blogging is about sitting down, writing a few thoughts, and then clicking “publish.”

It’s not. Not if you want anyone to read your work, anyway.

Blogging is like any other type of art. There are structures and formulas and rules.

The problem?

No one has ever revealed them.

Until now.

Next week, we’re releasing a new writing system that’s going to make writing extraordinary blog posts MUCH easier.

It works in every niche. It works for every topic. It works for beginners and experts alike.

And if you commit yourself to learning it, you’ll write the most popular posts of your life. Guaranteed.

The catch?

For this initial release, we are only giving a peek to our loyal subscribers, so you have to be on our email list to get further details. Click here to subscribe.

Otherwise, sit tight until next week.

‘Cause this is gonna be big. 🙂

About the Author: Jon Morrow has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness” but no one listens to him. So he settles for CEO of Boost Blog Traffic, Inc. Poor man. 🙂
 
The current launch is over, if you’d like to receive updates about future launches subscribe using the “Click here to subscribe” link provided above.

91 Comments

  1. Kevin J. Duncan
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 10:07:55

    Hi Jon,

    “On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas” is my all-time favorite blog post. Mind you, it’s not just my favorite post you have written, Jon. It’s my favorite anyone has written.

    That’s why your giving us a behind-the-scenes look at how it all came about is so awesome! It’s like hearing Kevin Costner talk about Field of Dreams, Paul McCartney talk about The White Album, or Jim Delligatti talk about how he created the McDonald’s Big Mac.

    Your entire post was an imitation of one written by Brian? I had no idea. (Though I now know what I’ll be doing this afternoon — doing a side-by-side comparison of the two posts!)

    I’ve learned so much from the “recipe” you and Glen have put together. I think we all have. Anyone who reads more than a handful of your and Glen’s posts and DOESN’T have a light-bulb moment has a thick skull.

    Thank you for this post, Jon. It’s fun getting to learn more about your process. Off to share and tweet!

    Hope you and the rest of the BBT team have a great Thursday, Jon.

    – @kevinjduncan

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:55:08

      Thanks Kevin. 🙂

  2. Andrew M. Warner
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 10:11:53

    Hey Jon,

    Happy New Year to you and the entire BBT team.

    Really great post and it’s revolving around something I was thinking of doing. Gathering a list of posts that did extremely well and making my own swipe file … same as if you’d do with headlines.

    Because truth be told, no ideas are original out there. You just need to figure out what formulas really work well.

    Looking forward to the big news. I know it’s going good to be great.

    – Andrew

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:56:16

      What we’re releasing next week beats the snot out of a swipe file. 🙂

      • Andrew M. Warner
        Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:13:19

        Whoaaa.

        That serious huh. Can’t wait. 🙂

  3. Lucy Barber
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 10:21:49

    Hey Jon,

    I’m excited to get the scoop on the new writing system next week! One of my resolutions this year is to take blogging more seriously (instead of thinking of it as an afterthought for our business). The traffic you get from your words and insight is really incredible and a huge inspiration.

    Here’s to hoping the new writing system is just the inspiration I need!

    -Lucy

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:57:03

      I believe you’ll be pleased. 🙂

  4. Mai Bjorklund
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 10:34:12

    Dear His Royal Awesomeness,
    Thank you for empowering your followers. Thank you for sharing every lesson you’ve learned – both the good and the bad – so that we can avoid pitfalls and reach higher each and every day.
    There are a lot of days that blogging becomes painful, difficult, a true chore…
    And that always seems to be when updates from BBT show up.
    Thank you for saving my sanity. I am so deeply grateful – and excited to read the next article, and the next, and the next…

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:57:51

      Very kind of you, Mai. Thank YOU. 🙂

  5. Mark Tong
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 10:46:57

    Hey Jon

    Looking forward to the day I can rip off (copy) one of your posts and make it work – if only I had the skill!

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:58:54

      That day might arrive sooner than you think. And I believe you do have the skill.

  6. Raul Tiru
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 10:53:41

    Hi John,
    Can’t wait for your upcoming post! I too would like to quit my job, go to paradise and get paid to change the world. I’m already halfway there and I’m sure learning how to write better content would help a lot!
    Thanks a lot for sharing this with us 🙂

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:00:12

      Most welcome, Raul.

  7. Peter Banerjea
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:03:25

    Hey Jon, correct me if I am wrong, but is this the moment we have been waiting for? Are we going to hear about your new writing blog? Honestly this is way more fun than the anticipation of the new Star Wars movie !

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:01:15

      Not yet. In many ways though, this is prologue. 🙂

  8. Mike Harrington
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:04:40

    Wow.

    Oh man can I relate. And one of the biggest hurdles to get over of a writer of any shade, is to realize you’re going to be “stealing” from everyone.

    There’s nothing new under the sun in terms of post ideas or even structure. The point is, we bring our unique life experience and perspective to each project, and create our own kind of storytelling alchemy. That’s what people want to read about, personal stories that teach a lesson.

    In fact, confession time: I’ve used some of your posts as inspiration (ahem, copied structure) for some of my best work. 😉

    Great stuff, Jon.

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:03:23

      “We bring our unique life experience and perspective to each project, and create our own kind of storytelling alchemy.”

      Nicely said. I agree.

  9. Glen Allsopp
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:17:53

    After reading one of your older articles on this site I saw one comment which said, “This blog post is orgasmic.”

    My new goal for 2016 is to receive feedback like that. 😉

    Looking forward to seeing what you come out with, Jon!

    • Kevin J. Duncan
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:37:10

      Now THAT is a blog comment, Glen! Haha.

      I hope its author wasn’t reading Jon’s post in a coffee shop, plane, or other public place. That might’ve been embarrassing.

      Though, I do suddenly have visions of Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally. I wonder if anyone asked the barista or flight attendance, “I’ll have what she’s having”?

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:08:13

      Well, hello there, Glen. Always good to see you.

      You’re already a uber talented writer, dude. Storytelling may not be your thing, but you write some of the best list posts and ultimate guides I’ve ever read.

  10. Raspal Seni
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:20:21

    Okay, I too was kind of trying to remain under the hood from Jon for a little bit of copying.

    But, now I don’t need to hide. Thanks for reading my mind and replying, Jon. 🙂

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:08:55

      🙂

  11. John Yeoman
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:35:00

    A great post, Jon as always. I can relate to your point – that there are ‘recipes’ for writing great posts. The same applies to any kind of writing. Example: I was struggling with my sales page. I sat in on your Serious Bloggers Only discussion and you told me, right off your head, how to start that sales page and shape my offer. I wrote down your every word, reshaped my page accordingly (with your explicit permission), and it now pulls down the chandeliers.

    Oh, if only tossing a Caesar salad was that easy! (Answer: just follow the recipe…)

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:10:46

      Thrilled to hear the sales page is doing better, John. And yes, those Caesar salads can occasionally blindside us, can’t they? Deceptive little devils. 🙂

  12. Minuca
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:39:41

    Hi Jon.

    I’ve read now for the first time “On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas”. It’s amazingly motivational. Your mum is awesome. I’ve always admired you for your succes, but now I’m more impressed by her. So many other woman could have simply accepted and give up, but she fought for you. You must love her a lot. I’m sure she is very proud of you.

    Can’t wait to see your recipe for extraordinary blog post.

    Thank you for sharing with us what you’ve learned in years of hard work.

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:22:04

      Most welcome. 🙂

  13. Keagan Pearson
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:44:45

    Blogging was a new venture for me in 2009, so it took some time to track down your work. All I can say is… wow. Inspiration, fear, a little kick in the gut, it’s all there. Good work matters – thank you for that!

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:34:27

      Thanks Keagan.

  14. Vishal Ostwal
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 11:59:39

    Hey Jon,

    Seems like we all develop our own “writing recipes” as we practice.

    I have a simple policy (recipe) here: Write, Hammer the words to make them concise, kill the fluff, and make everything unique!

    I call it the “Stud every word” policy (Really!) Because you literally create your post like jewelry, and place the words as gems in it.

    P.S. All artists steal, or maybe we just borrow the chunks of masterpieces to create a new one. 😉

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:36:12

      Love the idea of posts being jewelry with inserted gems. Great metaphor.

  15. Nazish
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:05:20

    Holy Shit! I read this post a few months ago and I absolutely loved it. At that time I didn’t even know your website. This is amazing

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:36:25

      🙂

  16. Kris
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:21:17

    His Royal Awesomeness, what a great message, both in this post and the once you are talking about. Many people talk about overcoming obstacles, but often they are self imposed ones, like doubt, fear, worry. Nice to read about your story & passion. And I look forward to learning about your system, I enjoy writing but have yet to master really creating that connection with readers.

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:48:01

      The system we are releasing will definitely help you there.

  17. Andrea
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:34:58

    In my academic years, I researched shamans who are quintessential storytellers. It’s awesome to realize that the art of storytelling hasn’t changed a great deal from the dawn of time. They knew exactly what to tell, how to tell it, to whom and with what purpose. That was how they did their healing. Storytellers are basically healers.

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:49:35

      Yup, the techniques, skills, and structures are all essentially the same. The only thing that’s changed is the medium.

  18. Ed
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:40:54

    Hey Jon – nice to read a new blog post from you. I have never heard of the Three-Act Story, but I can see why this would be a very effective recipe for somewhat popular posts.

    Just one question: is this a good recipe for all types of blogs? Mine is a menswear blog, and I would love to give the 3-Act story a try in a future post, but I can’t see it fitting this niche.

    Anyways, off I go to read that acclaimed blog post once more!

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:16:24

      Yes, it still works. In your case, you need a story about a man wearing the clothes, not necessarily the clothes themselves.

      Like this:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3VIJjdjbxw

      Except in that case, it’s using the story of the man to talk about beer. 🙂

  19. Robert
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:55:58

    Jon,

    Thank you for sharing this post. I think writers need to know that if they want to have a similar style to someone they respect that it’s a good thing. When you talked about the “recipe” analogy when writing, it made a lot of sense and I’m sure many writers (professional and otherwise) don’t always think about it that way. This post was a great way to tell writers that it’s okay to “mirror the greats.”

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:16:47

      Thanks Robert.

  20. Zak Mustapha
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:40:32

    Can’t wait. Jon Morrow is every blogger’s secret weapon.

  21. Yusuff Busayo
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:48:34

    Hey, Jon,

    I can’t stop relishing every post you publish, Jon. I read YOUR posts over and over and over again. Now it’s like putting the knife to your brain and catching the “Jon Morrow fever”. Your talent is awesome, brotha.

    But like you pointed out, they are all formulas. Time to get my hands dirty flipping through those great posts of yours again. This time, with the intention of studying the technique.

    Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next week. Well its like waiting eagerly for your best program. You’ve got the remote and not one in hell is gonna take it from you.

    Happy new year., Jon. And this post is the baddest I’ve read so far since the year began.

    Thanks for sharing.

    – Yusuff Busayo

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:16:56

      🙂

  22. Ann
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:54:20

    Hi Jon,

    How I met you- I was trolling the internet looking for blogging tips and found “Headline Hacks”, then I unsubscribed and forgot about you. I moved on To CopyBlogger and saw the post “On Dying, Mothers, and fighting for your ideas.” I googled Jon Morrow and that brought me to Headline Hacks, I read more about you, and fell in love with your work.
    You’re my inspiration, thank you for being my mentor…I will be launching my blog in two months.

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:17:35

      Glad we found each other again. 🙂

  23. Mel Wicks
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 15:03:52

    Hi Jon,
    You are the only blogger whose posts I read the instant they appear in my inbox. I drop everything to soak up your pearls of wisdom, knowing that you won’t disappoint. And you’ve done it again with this one. In spades.
    My greatest passion is flash fiction (very short story writing), which I have temporarily put on hold to focus on blogging. Thank you for making me realise that I don’t have to give up my love of writing stories entirely. I just have to learn how to weave them seamlessly into blog posts to enhance the message.
    I can’t wait for the next ‘chapter’ from you, because that’s what it feels like. A gripping read, with the ending of each post leaving us panting for more.
    I’m sorry if I’m gushing, but you made me do it.

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:18:26

      🙂

  24. Sophie Lizard
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 15:40:58

    Excited to see what you’ve got coming up! And, um, kinda gobsmacked by the idea of you having neuroses or blubbering down the phone to your editor — I thought that was just the kind of dumb shit *I* do. (Editors of the world, thank you for being so tolerant…)

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:20:56

      Editors are awesome. Especially Sonia. One of my favorite people ever.

      And yeah, you’re not the only one. The stories I could tell you about what goes on behind the scenes…

  25. Alicia
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 16:51:07

    Hi Jon! I have something personal that I would like to share with you – would you mind sending me an email? I can’t seem to find your email address. Cheers!

  26. Sue-Ann Bubacz
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 18:40:28

    Jon:
    I’m fairly new to BBT but have had the pleasure of reading your work here and there for much longer. I love how you reach readers in a powerful way that makes it feel like you’re talking to just me (who is everyone) directly. A lofty aspiration to replicate, perhaps, but why not aspire to become that kind of strong inspiring writer. We’ll see, right now my Angel/Devil are ducking it out! Take care and thank you, Jon. Best-Sue-Ann

    • Sue-Ann Bubacz
      Jan 14, 2016 @ 18:41:55

      Duking….my spellcheck is smarter than me, it always thinks, anyway!!!!

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:22:20

      🙂

  27. Adenike
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 04:19:31

    I must have subscribed to your posts for over a year now and this is my first time opening your post and actually reading through. I’m glad I did. This is exactly what I need and you mentioned very true and relatable principles. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Guess who’s going to be reading your posts as soon as they drop in my inbox? ME!!!

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:22:42

      Yay!

  28. Fouad
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 04:41:39

    Wow this is awesome Jon. I can’t wait to learn and master the the craft.

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:23:17

      I love to hear that kind of commitment. Good for you.

  29. Dan Neamtu
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 05:54:03

    Hey Jon,
    Your article take some time to read, but after that it take time to think. If you look very closely you will see details from you can learn new things. I realy love your diferent title and url to gain more action:
    your title: How I Wrote Posts That Touched the Hearts of More Than 5 Million People
    your url: jon-morrow-confession
    my reaction: wow, let’s see
    Cheers!

    • Sue-Ann Bubacz
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 09:49:42

      Nice observation, Dan:)
      Best-

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:24:15

      Yep, you win some brownie points for noticing that one. 😉

  30. Eddie Gear
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 08:38:27

    Hey Jon,

    Writing is not my strong suite. But I’ve always believed that if you constantly work at it, you will become better. When compared to what you deliver here, I write like the chimpanzee you mentioned in the post. 5 Mil is no ordinary feat and you have achieved it, i’m truly impressed and salute you.

    PS. Looking forward to the system you are coming out with. Hopefully it will be something that I can take up.

    • Anne
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 14:25:38

      Hi Eddie! I took a look at your blog, because judging by your comment, I thought you’re actually quite brilliant. Unfortunately, I sort of understand what you meant now. If I could maybe give you three bits of advice:

      1) Spend more time crafting your posts
      This means proofreading them a few more times before you publish them. That ought to improve your writing quite a bit already. I think you have the potential, just walk the extra mile. For instance, look at the following sentence I found on your blog:

      “Today, there are million of bloggers hailing out of India…” (I copied the text. That’s how it was written)

      You want to know why I think that sentence is badly structured? Well…where do I start! You meant to say millions, not “million” because are is used when your referring to something in the plural (mostly, English is a strange language though, because words like pants and glasses will be referred to in the plural, “are”. Not gonna explain that now. Look up the info if you don’t know why). Unless you meant to say “are a million”, but that would be silly. In fact, it IS silly. Here’s why

      2) Choose the right words
      In the example above a million would be a bad way to say it because what you really meant is a lot. It goes to figure it would be better to just say a lot. The reason? Because saying a million when you mean a lot isn’t good, professional writing etiquette. It sounds more like you’re dropping casual conversation and might even be seen as child speak. I mean, you don’t know how many Indian bloggers there are, but probably not a million. You’re substituting a word that says what you actually meant (a lot, many, plenty of etc.) with one that doesn’t say what you meant…well not exactly. Sure there’s a time and a place for this kind of language, but certainly not in a blog post about why the quality of written English isn’t as good as it used to be (and that just so happened to be the topic of this specific article).

      3) Use less words!!!
      This actually ties in with my previous point, only it’s more important. Look at the example again. Just look! A million of bloggers hailing out of India? Sorry, bad way to put it. It’s way too wordy! Blogging isn’t known for being the most artistic kind of writing. In fact, blogs are more like online magazine’s. In a perfect world, they’re casual, informative reads that are better known for the topics they’re about than for trying to compete with Shakespeare.

      I know this was a very long comment, sorry. Just had to point that out. You have quite a few language mistakes on your blog. I was actually going to reference another one, but then I found this one just scanning through the piece.

      I think more proofreading and some practise would help you a lot. But take courage, we can all do with practise. I’m not quite as good a writer as I’d want to be yet either. Heck, I’m sure you’ll be able to find some pretty big mistakes in my comment if you take a closer look. Much of what you’ve written isn’t half bad, so I think that should leave us to conclude some thoughtful proofreading is all you really need.

    • Jon Morrow
      Jan 15, 2016 @ 17:24:37

      Thanks Eddie.

  31. Annette Vaillancourt, Ph.D.
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 10:38:42

    Hi Jon,

    Everytime I think you’ve sent us the best of your best, you top yourself. Can’t wait to read what’s coming next!

  32. Earnistan
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 11:45:17

    Superb article. a lot to learn from

  33. Corinne Kerston
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 14:50:38

    Okay, I’ll admit it. As a mom, “On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas” had me tearing up. As a writer, I can’t wait to see what you have coming up!!

  34. Michael Pozdnev
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 18:27:33

    Jon, what you do inspires thousands of people! Thank you for your wise advice and interesting words. Your articles have always supported me as a friend non-visibly. I understand that this is a super skill to write like you. I am looking forward to your new articles and I’m sure I will learn a lot from you.

  35. Sarah
    Jan 17, 2016 @ 23:54:35

    Dear Jon,
    About a year ago, I was sitting at my desk in my cubicle, my soul being suck out through my eyeballs like any other Monday, and I googled “Quit my job and move to South America.” Guess who I was fortunate enough to find on that google search? This past month I quit my job and bought a ticket to South America. Not a move, but an extended trip. It’s a beginning. As I believe next week will be as well, as I’ve certainly come to trust you when you say you’ve got something big coming. Thank you, and your team, sincerely and emphatically for the inspiration.

  36. Taranpreet Singh
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 05:26:43

    Hi Jon,
    This post has many useful sections that I can use in my blog site. For instance, there’s ‘Storyteller’ Headlines catchy enough to cause a stir in the reader’s mind.

    Anyway, thanks for this post & similar others which I’ve been referring since a long time.

  37. Maria Stenvinkel
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 09:28:47

    Love your writing, love your ideas, love you as a teacher.

  38. Alexander Meneikis
    Jan 19, 2016 @ 02:05:06

    Dear Jon,

    there is one thing that really pisses me off about this post as well as the one of Brian Clarke.

    You and Brian have had significant things happen to you with a deep meaning. You are deep guys with a lot of energy.

    Deep people appear to have dramatic things happen to them and then they are able to use that in a beneficial way for themselves and others.

    Most people are not that deep and will never be, no matter how many snowboarding accidents or car wrecks. As for myself, I surely am not.

    And, while they can get better, sure, they will never be as great in this lifetime.

    About time that this truth be told.

    You can study all you like, you can get really good, but to become extraordinary, it takes an extra ingredient. Chances are very high that you, the one reading this, do not have this ingredient.

    And no matter which products you buy and how hard you work, that ingredient will not be created.

    I am taking the guest blogging course, and it is wonderful. Do I expect to become good in the next 10 years? Yes. Do I expect to become extraordinary? No.

    Looking forward to your next post…

  39. Paul Back
    Jan 20, 2016 @ 06:12:10

    Hey Jon

    Really looking forward to seeing your new writing program. I’m with you on the writing a good list post thing, there is a lot more to it then just research. Having a great structure and presentation will make or break a list post even if the points are strong – pretty excited to see your take on it.

    I have written a 2 pretty large list posts and working on a third, one for Problogger and the other for my own blog and they always take me ridiculous amounts of time to get right.

    Always love seeing your name pop up on the author widget on BBT, I know I’m in for a treat when it does.

    Paul

  40. Sherman Smith
    Jan 21, 2016 @ 00:56:35

    Hey Jon,

    This is the moment we all been waiting for. I’ve been making progress with my writing over the years and I look forward to your list of formulas. There’s always room for more improvement.

    Thanks Jon!

  41. Matilda Edinam
    Jan 21, 2016 @ 07:19:23

    Wow! Your story taught me a lot of lessons…. God bless.

  42. Dana
    Jan 21, 2016 @ 09:10:53

    Hi Jon,

    First time here 🙂

    I can relate.

    I recently published a post – and wondered if it was going to “ruin” me.
    The reason I felt this way is because it’s incredibly personal. I so often hear about the importance of being an authority in your niche – yet in my latest share, I was vulnerable, emotional and raw.

    I couldn’t help it, though. It had to come out.

    Like you, I wondered if publishing this would be a mistake (for different reasons than yours, but the feeling was similar). Luckily, though, it did seem to touch people. The comment section is filled with people relaying their own similar stories – and the connections taking place in my community are real.
    That’s one of the biggest payoffs for me. Uniting people.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is this…

    If something inside of us creates a work of art (and this is what writing is – or can be) and we feel the need to share it, that’s our intuition. Our higher nature.
    Intellectualizing it is the fear.

    I’m glad your publisher went ahead and blasted your fears. You clearly had something important to say 🙂

  43. Arsh
    Jan 22, 2016 @ 11:52:56

    Really awesome list you have got here. Being a newbie in blogging, I find that i struggle with the desire to impress my online audience, Thank you, Bryan. Because writing’s mostly self-driven, sounds like the biggest challenge everyone have is themselves.

  44. Todd Hansen
    Jan 24, 2016 @ 12:02:53

    I can’t believe you were afraid to publish that post – it was absolutely brilliant.

  45. Ashish
    Jan 25, 2016 @ 01:23:25

    Woowww…..that’s really inspiring man.
    Thank you

  46. Christina Lynn
    Jan 25, 2016 @ 05:10:46

    The title is the heartbreaker! but getting more information of relevant of writing skill, thanks for shared and I really enjoyed to reading this post or further used all techniques. Thank!

  47. Ravinder Dande
    Jan 25, 2016 @ 06:06:51

    Hi Jon,

    You did what most of bloggers or writers dreamed of doing.Crossing 100k mark is not easy but you did it mean everyone can do it.I’m also reading more more blog on how i can do it & get it to 100k mark.Problogger is place where i ofen look for best blog.Lets wait for day when my post will be featured like your post getting 25k pageview.

  48. Jerry Lawson
    Jan 25, 2016 @ 19:56:56

    Jon,

    Thank you! I would not have enrolled in this program had I not read your story. Reading about you was a refreshing slap in the face, a wake-up I needed. This post left me in tears, inspired, and gritting my teeth. I printed a copy to keep as a reminder when I get weak kneed and wanting to retreat under a stone. You are truly unique, an awesome writer, and an inspiration to others. Your mother knew what she was doing.

  49. Williesha Morris
    Jan 27, 2016 @ 08:08:27

    Thank you so much for reintroducing your story to everyone and why it worked. I hastily fumbled an admiration for you on a recent podcast because of everything you’ve experienced and how you’ve made it work. Such a beautiful story.

  50. Cathy Hutchison
    Jan 27, 2016 @ 14:54:44

    Jon, every time I read something you’ve written, it is worth my time. I’m so grateful that you share not only your ideas with the world, but also your hope and inspiration. Thank you!

  51. Emmanuel
    Jan 28, 2016 @ 02:42:41

    This really got me back on board. I have heard much about this blog but in truth, this is the first time I’m reading your post. I sure have no other choice than to subscribe.

    And back to what your were talking about, every post is an imitation of some sort. There’s nothing new in any post save the angle of view.

  52. Patrick Hendrickson
    Feb 01, 2016 @ 15:32:32

    Thanks for sharing! Not sure if you guys have heard about Boost.re (https://boost.re). This is actually a very great and effective platform to promote my blog!

  53. Angillena Lear
    Feb 04, 2016 @ 02:12:30

    Hi Jon,
    Great post indeed, your post is really heard-breaker. After reading this post getting new features of writing skill and that how to improvement on it. Thanks for shared bunches of information and I really enjoyed to reading this post.

  54. Ashik
    Feb 04, 2016 @ 08:43:14

    Great Jon!

    Your write ups are unparalleled !
    It always persuade and inspires me. To be honest, it something that binds me with 🙂

    See you in the next post!

    Cheers!

  55. James Parker
    Feb 04, 2016 @ 23:56:51

    In start-up we’ve loose to write everything, but after continuity of any writing skill is much better than of us and new ideas in our mind or getting a high level writer as well. Thanks for shared and I really enjoyed to reading this post.

  56. Barbs
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 05:34:40

    Gidday from down under Jon…

    I take that you’ve been incredibly busy – last reply from you was Jan 15th and I know how you deem it important to reply to comments. I boggle at the concept of you keeping up with it all.

    Anyhoo.. I stumbled across you.
    I’m not a big fan of subscribing, I don’t like getting loads of HTML emails in my account. Yours don’t fall into that category and each and every time I receive an email from you I can’t wait to read it – I often have to red flag it, because yup, you guessed it – I’m one of those Mums, who also works as a TV producer and I don’t have time for scratching my bum.

    What I wanted to say, is that I was SOOOOOO excited to receive your emails announcing your writers recipe box.. but sadly, my excitement was sucked down the drain pipe when I saw the cost.
    Please don’t get me wrong, it is 100% well priced for what you get out of it. I’m saying, I don’t have that kind of dosh right now, Mum of two and currently working part time. Yeah, boo and also not your problem.

    The point of my comment?
    Was to say, how much of a fan I am of your work .. but as a Kiwi (New Zealander) and because you’re American (us Kiwis are huge skeptics), I sometimes wonder if I’m watching a movie and you’re the main character, in other words, I wonder if you’re actually real.

    I really hope you are cause you’re my fav.

    Thanks and lots of love,
    Barbs

  57. Wuyen Hsu
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 14:27:40

    Hey Jon,

    As always, your post is the best.
    Shameful for me to delay so long before reading. Geeze, almost a month! But it’s a whole new feeling reading it after joining the “elite club.”

    I know we’ll probably discuss about the “storytelling recipe” after a couple weeks, but have a quick question. I remember from one of your earlier post which you explained that it is hard for a story to go viral if it doesn’t have one of the three elements: sex, violence, and near death experience. By studying the two posts, obviously, you’re spot on. But how about average Joe who doesn’t have a near death experience that deserve to go on the big screen?

    A. Exploring other people’s amazing story and resonate with your topic? For example, if I write about your story and summarize it into a concept for my audience.
    B. Look for smaller stories, which I don’t need to go to hospital, and approach it from a fresh angle?
    C. Toss the storytelling recipe and just focus on the other 11 recipes? (Hey, there’s 12 recipe, no one say you need to master every single type.)

    Off to share this post now. I know, it’s a little late. Better late than never, right? 😉