A couple of years ago, I read an interesting formula for success as a writer.
You needed to write 500 words a day for about a year and a half, and you would become a successful writer.
I take things by heart and follow the advice literally so I was like “Okay, let’s do this.”
And I started publishing one article every single Tuesday on my personal blog brunoboksic.com.
100 weeks and over 100 articles later, I have an audience of 100 000 people reading my articles.
The process is easy, but the lessons I’ve learned were hard. And that’s why I’m sharing with you the behind-the-scenes discoveries that will help you avoid the mistakes I did.
1. Just fucking do something
You know what the optimal day in the week is to publish a blog post?
I do, it’s not Tuesday, and who gives a fuck.
When you have no audience, a difference between publishing on a Wednesday or Saturday has absolutely no difference.
Questions like these are what stops you even before you write a single word. Don’t do this to yourself and simply start doing something, it will become clearer in the process.
I started publishing an article every Tuesday because I finished my first article on a Tuesday and simply hit publish. The entire plan was to publish one article a week– a single sentence plan.
After a couple of months, some of my audience members started saying that they expect a new article every single Tuesday and that became my catchphrase.
In my native language, the phrase goes like this: “Novi utorak novi tekst.” which means “New Tuesday New Article.”
Simple. Effective. Easy. And it works.
But only if you don’t think about every possible scenario why this would be bad, what could be better or worse, blah, blah. Stop thinking and start doing…now.
2. Work persistently
Do you know how many Tuesdays I missed publishing an article in the past two and a half years?
I published an article every single Tuesday for the past 127 Tuesdays since I started my blog.
Work is good. Smart work is better. Persistent work is the best.
You need to realize that almost nothing in the world can resist persistent human energy.
So when you’ve decided on what you want to do, keep going at it. That doesn’t mean that you need to kill yourself with work every single day (and you shouldn’t), but that means that you can’t quit if a couple of articles don’t go so well as you expected.
It took me a year of writing to have one article create some traction on my blog. So 51 of them created almost zero traffic and then one of them did more than 1500 visitors in three days. You just need to keep on pushing until the breakthrough happens. A bridge isn’t built by a particular stone here or there. It’s built by the combined effort of all the stones.
I’ve had days and weeks where I wanted to quit writing those articles, but something kept me going. And today, I’m glad I didn’t quit because there are tens of thousands of people out there whose lives I’ve touched and changed for the better – because I didn’t quit.
Work persistently until you hit a breakthrough and then keep at it.
3. Quality comes from quantity
My friend Zdravko Cvijetić wrote a single article on his Medium page which got him over 100 000 subscribers. That is a one-hit wonder for sure. But they are called one-hit wonders for a reason and if you’re reading this right now, you’re not one of them and neither am I.
So let’s see how we can stack the deck in our favor and consistently reach success, shall we?
This part here is two-fold.
The first one is about the output you create.
Even though I was only publishing a single article once a week, which ranged at about 1400 words, the output I created was 6 times that throughout the week. I wrote 289 000 words in one year of writing and only a quarter of it got published.
You need to write a lot to produce great articles. My blog was doing pretty shitty until I started writing 500 words a day. Then, it got massively better because I started writing more. Of course, not all of those words got published. Heck, a lot of them were crap. But the ones that weren’t were pure gold… or so I thought.
The second part of “quality comes from quantity” comes from the sheer number of output. If you think something is great and it is objectively great, it doesn’t mean that your audience will recognize it as great.
As Marta Graham, one of the most influential dance choreographers of the 20th century once responded:
” There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
Even though there are formulas which tell you how to make content go viral, draw in people and have them read, like, share, and subscribe to your content, they are principles, not rules.
A rule is when you do X and get Y.
2+2 will always equal 4.
A principle means that in most cases, X will yield you Y.
So the more output you can create which adheres to certain principles of success, the more likely are you to succeed.
Nobody can tell you when that will happen, but if you keep publishing content, eventually, you will make it.
4. Be consistent but unpredictable
The English language has only 26 letters which create 1,025,109 words in the English language and counting. Those words can either create 50 Shades Of Grey or The Great Gatsby. All from 26 simple letters. The letters are always the same (consistency), but the results differ vastly (unpredictable).
Out of those 100 articles that I published, how many of them are super deep, serious article? Around half of them.
The rest are different and they are way different. Some of them are sarcastic outtakes on the country where I live (we have three presidents at the same time), some are listicles which explain a weird phenomenon in our culture and some deal with taboo topics that everyone thinks about but nobody speaks in public about it.
What this means is that even though people know that they expect an article every Tuesday and that the overall topic of it will be about changing the society by changing the way people think, the rest is left to wonder.
The audience doesn’t know if it will be an in-depth cover on a serious topic or something funny and sarcastic about the society or an article which touches in the hornet’s nest. They keep wondering about it and that’s what keeps them coming back.
They know what to expect, but at the same time, they don’t.
You need to keep adding new topic ideas and angles to your article to keep it fresh. If people know exactly what to expect from you every single one, they will grow tired and bored with your content. Don’t be a one-trick pony.
Keep it fresh by finding new angles to your topic, not by changing the topic altogether.
5. Your actions matter and they matter a lot
This is something I got from Jordan Peterson. He says that every individual action that we take (or don’t take) affect the people around us. So it’s not the point that we are small, meaningless entities that are born, grow, work, and die here on Earth. We affect each and every single individual that comes into contact with us.
That gives us immense responsibility toward other people and a purpose to make this world better than we found it.
It’s by choosing to be better and help others that we push the world forward and that is the thought that helped me push through endless hours or writing, editing, and promoting my pieces. The response I received from people, whether they were via Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or Email are the ones that make all the struggles and effort worthwhile.
I write this on exactly one of the days when I received a message like that via email which made me tear up a little bit. It’s the impact that you create on someone else that makes all the difference in the world.
…or it doesn’t.
You still have the best song in you and I know that the same thing applies to me too. That’s why I keep writing – day in, day out.
How about you?
What will you do to take that best song out of you and give it to the world?
Whatever you do, we both know that it will be worth it.