An Open Letter to Writers Struggling to Find Their Courage

An Open Letter to Writers Struggling to Find Their Courage

Do you feel that?

That little tugging sensation on your heart?

You’re not sure what, but something is pulling you to change. Not in a confess-your-sins-oh-ye-sinners way, but to shift directions, to embrace your calling, to finally do what you were put here to do:

Write.

You feel the ideas inside you. You sense them straining to escape. You know your job is to set them free, firing them like a cannon into a world in desperate need of them.

But you’re afraid.

You’re afraid of quitting your job and living without a safety net. You’re afraid of the concerned, disapproving looks your friends will give you when you tell them you’re giving it all up to write for a living. You’re afraid of not having enough money for food, of the power being cut off, of watching your family shivering and hungry, all because of your “selfishness”.

And most of all?

You’re afraid you’re wrong about yourself.

Maybe that tugging sensation you feel is just an illusion. Maybe your ideas are crap. Maybe you’re just a fool with delusions of grandeur, and this whole fantasy of becoming a writer is just that: a fantasy.

So, you do nothing.

You cower in your safe little job. You tinker with a blog or a novel or a screenplay. You drown your dreams with junk food or booze or shopping sprees, all the while telling yourself you’re doing the right thing.

But are you?

“No,” a little voice whispers inside of you. “No, this is all very, very wrong.”

Oh God…
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Why You Shouldn’t Publish New Content during the Holidays (and What to Do Instead)

Why You Shouldn’t Publish New Content during the Holidays (and What to Do Instead)

So… it’s the silly season, and let me guess?

Things are getting silly.

You’re trying to figure out how to avoid those relatives you dearly love but would also love to strangle. You still have a few last-minute gifts to buy. And in the middle of it all, somehow you have to summon the will power not to stuff your face with all the holiday goodies and gain 400 pounds.

It’s tough, I know. So, I’ll make this quick and easy:

Stop publishing new content.

Never thought you would hear me say that, did you?

Normally, I’m all up in your face, pushing you to work harder, write more, really be serious about what you do, and now I’m telling you to STOP?!

Yeah. Here’s why:

Traffic sucks during the holidays.

I don’t know what the official numbers are, but most of my older sites see a 20-30% drop across the board. The newer ones (like Smart Blogger) that are still gaining momentum hiccup and stumble and fall to their knees, their traffic not quite declining but not growing either.

Look at your traffic stats, and you’ll probably see the same pattern. Unless, of course, you operate some sort of retail or Christmas-themed site, in which case you’re probably working your buns off.

But everyone else?

You should hold off publishing anything new.

Let’s talk about why.

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9 Reasons Why Running a Popular Blog is Like Hosting an Awesome Party

9 Reasons Why Running a Popular Blog is Like Hosting an Awesome Party

Do you remember the last truly awesome party you attended?

Of course you do. Legendary parties stick in your memory forever.

The people. The music. The atmosphere. The conversations. The hijinks.

Identifying the exact ingredients that come together to create the perfect party is difficult, but you know when you’re at one.

The same is true with popular blogs.

On the surface they look a lot like all the other blogs on the block, but something special sets them apart from the rest.

Some magic combination that makes one blog the place everyone wants to be, while the others fade into the background.

You may even think these blogs have some hidden advantage that gives them an edge over everyone else.

Well, you’re right.

Popular bloggers know that you can’t leave anything to chance.

Just like the host of a great party, you’ve got to be crafty to make sure your blog is where everyone in your niche wants to be.

Fortunately for you, with the right game plan you can learn to be a popular blogger (or an awesome party host). You just need a little effort and planning.
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11 Lame Excuses That Successful Bloggers Never Make

11 Lame Excuses That Successful Bloggers Never Make

So you’re thinking of spending more time on your blog.

Actually, you’ve been thinking about it for quite a while.

Thinking about it. Talking about it. But not doing it.

Something is holding you back. In fact, a whole list of things. You lack time, confidence, money, ideas.

You’re tired, stressed, busy, sick.

So you’re waiting for the perfect blogging circumstances.

Waiting until you have buckets of spare time, an overload of great ideas, a guaranteed audience, perfect health… the list goes on.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but those perfect circumstances will never occur.

Your reasons for not blogging will always be there in some form and in some combination.

You will always have to face down the demons of no time, no support, no money, no confidence, no ideas, or ill health.

And when you realize that almost everyone faces these same problems, your reasons start to look a lot like excuses.

So let’s call them out, one by one.

If any of the following excuses sound like what’s holding YOU back from becoming a serious blogger, consider them busted.

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The Metallica Guide to Building a Global Audience of Ravenous Fans

The Metallica Guide to Building a Global Audience of Ravenous Fans
Note from Jon:  Bands and bloggers have more in common than you might think. We’re searching for an audience, struggling to find our voice, and trying to commercialize our art without “selling out.”

If you’re serious about your craft, it’s worth taking the time to study the rise of popular bands, and who better to help you draw connections than Mark Hermann? In addition to being a talented blogger in his own right, he’s lived and breathed rock and roll for much of his career. Let’s see what he has to say…

Quick question.

When I say the word Metallica do you…

  1. Immediately shudder, wrinkle your nose and think, “Ummm… No? I am SO not into heavy metal music. I was never one of those people”? or…
  2. Immediately pump your heavy metal horns into the air and start playing serious air guitar while humming the riff to “Sad But True”?

It’s fairly polarizing, right? You either get heavy metal or you DO NOT get it. Kind of like this blogging thing. Only with blogging it’s a lot more lopsided.

On one extreme you have the 1%. They’re the tiny island of the fortunate few who’ve solved the great blogging mystery and have magically built a thriving online community.

Then there’s the other 99%.

That’s you, right? Flailing away in that vast global arena of digital noise, struggling to find your voice and build an audience. But sadly no matter how loud you shout “I’m over here!” the only thing growing is the sound of crickets.

Conventional wisdom would suggest it’s obvious why the 1% sit on their exalted thrones.

Conventional wisdom would say they obviously studied their asses off researching the mechanics of blogging. Worked even harder to apply that wisdom and they won, right? The other 99%? Well, they didn’t do the work. Plain and simple.

But conventional wisdom isn’t always right.
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