Here are the questions I got about writing and blogging, along with answers. For anyone out there that still has questions or wants to dig a lil deeper into something, I’m always open to chat and help wherever I can. Hit me up!
From Drew M: I’d love to know if you have any advice or tips for finding time to write on the side from a full time job.
I’ve always had this dream to write a fantasy novel and over quarantine I had the time so came up with an idea I loved and set to work. I was so excited i worked on it daily and saw so much progress. As I got busier with work and life my progress slowly decreased until it came full stop and I haven’t had the motivation to touch the document in weeks. I keep saying I will but I keep allowing things to take priority and don’t take the time to progress. It’s such a big project sitting down to work on it seems so daunting! Would love to know your tips for staying motivated and finding the time to do the work.
A fantasy novel sounds so cool! Congrats!
I do most of my writing first thing in the morning. Ideally, before I check my emails or any social media or news. I find that the morning time is when my brain is the clearest, and it’s a very short window before the busyness of the day and all other activities take over. I really try to guard my mornings as much as possible. I don’t know your schedule, but is there any chance you could go to bed 1 hour earlier and get up 1 hour earlier each day?
As for writing a long form, what I do is break my long stories down into smaller dot points. Then try and only tackle one or two dot points at a time. (i’ve never written a full novel, so maybe I’m not the best to answer this question).
Two more things come to mind that might help you find time to write…
- Try and start a daily habit of writing. I know it’s uncomfortable, especially when you don’t feel like it, but you must push through the lack of motivation. Even if it’s only for 20 mins, create a daily habit.
- Get rid of the idea that your writing has to be perfect. You might not be excited because you don’t know exactly how to articulate something just yet. That;’s totally OK! Just get all the words down on the paper (computer or whatever) and later you can rearrange whatever you need to.
I hope this helps!?
From Angela G: How do you get started/or narrow down which topic you want to write about? Another one is once you do narrow down, doesn’t the content get repetitive at some point? Do you have tips on how to keep it “fresh”?
I try to begin with the overall take away I’m trying to leave the reader… Am I trying to tell a story? Do I want to leave them with an action item? Is there a specific point I’m trying to make? What question will my post answer? What value am I trying to provide in their day? Am I just trying to just cheer someone up? Be funny?… These are the type of questions I ask myself and it helps hone down what subject I’m going to write about.
BTW – I have about 100 unfinished drafts of things I started writing and then abandoned half way through. Sometimes ideas sound good to start with but turn out crap when i put pen to paper. That’s OK, I just file the crap ones in an unfinished draw for later. Not every topic has to be good to begin with.
As for the next question, YES! Writing is absolutely repetitive! I’ve probably written 1000 morning blogs, and the theme is almost exactly the same in every one. But that’s OK, because a) there are 1000 ways to tell the same story (from different angles and perspectives) and b) readers have bad memories and short attention spans these days. Nobody remembers what I wrote 60 days ago… I could cut/paste/publish the exact same text as a previous post of mine and I bet you 95% of people wouldn’t even notice. Being repetitive (with slight variations) sometimes can be an advantage, because it hammers home your overall point and mission.
From Gavin B: My question is what tool or tools do you use for your own keyword research?
For my work blog, we use Ahrefs. We select Low Difficulty keywords based on our competitor sites and write articles around those. For keyword variations we have a private marketing company software, but also we use Google search and the “people also ask” box to base our content from.
For my personal site, I don’t do any keyword research. I just write stuff that I think is cool. 😎 But that’s probably why I make very little money from it haha!
Shawnell T. asked: Should I write 5-10 posts and then schedule them out or is it to write one a day? Also, how do you build a newsletter list? How do you make your blog a newsletter?
You can write however you want! For me, I like to create just 1 each day. It keeps things fresh 🙂 But sometimes I’ll come up with 4-5 ideas and write them all down. Scheduling is a great way to save time and be more efficient, but I’m not great at that. Haha.
I use a software called Mailchimp to build an email list. It allows people to sign up with their email address and it’s automatically added to my list. All I need to do is send the newsletter out.
As for the blog, Mailchimp integrates with most blogging platforms so that you just have to write your content once, hit send, and it will *both* email out the newsletter and simultaneously be published as a blog post. There are several softwares that do this, it’s all how you want to control the frequency, etc. Some softwares do auto-posting to social media platforms too.
From Hayley D: I would like to know where you get your ideas from. Writing itself isn’t really a challenge for me once I have worked out what to write about/ what I have to say. Often someone else has already said it (the wonders of the internet) so I don’t feel I’m adding value and that is what stops me from writing more.
Ideas come from all random places. Stories from my day, other people’s success stories, memes I see on the internet, other blogs, beautiful photos, whacky memories as a kid, things that make me smile… Inspiration comes from everywhere.
I bet you 98% of the stuff I’ve written has been written by someone else before. But that’s never stopped me from re-wording, rephrasing, giving a fresh take, adding a new perspective, shortening, illustrating, summarizing, providing examples of, or otherwise just sharing what others have already said.
Providing value doesn’t mean you have to come up with brilliant new ideas all the time. It means saying things at the right time, to the right crowd, on the right platform, with the right tone. Just give it a try – I bet you provide more value to others than you think!
Priscilla, Dean and John H. all asked variations of this question: Can’t remember if I’ve asked you this already but HOW do you come up with so many content ideas???
This is the most common question I get. And it’s hard to answer exactly, because how I get ideas changes every day.
I think first I have the advantage of repetition. Because I do this every day, my brain is actively looking for new fun/happy/meaningful stuff to write about. It’s a habit. I somehow notice things that others don’t see in everyday situations. (Or maybe others do see them – I’m just the one who writes it down).
Another thing… many of my topics or ideas come from the community… YOU guys! Each day I get random email replies from people telling me their stories, quotes. or perspectives on things. This expands my original thought and breaks up my idea into 5 new directions. Ideas breed more ideas when you share them with others.
Lastly, like the question above, there is already a TON of good stuff on the internet. Sometimes I just find things I like and tell the same old stuff in a different way.
Miguel S asked: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve found to keep persevering in your writing in that first year? and how did you get over it?
My biggest challenge was bad reader feedback, unsubscribes, and thinking that people didn’t like me. Even though I get hundreds of positive comments, it only takes 2-3 sad ones to make me want to quit and never write again. So silly to think about, but bad feedback can HURT sometimes!
To turn that around and persevere, I changed my mindset on negative feedback. Now I think it’s a good thing, because someone was brave enough to call me out or disagree. I like it now when people challenge me — it makes me stronger, and learn more. Also when people unsubscribe, I think about why… Was there something better I could be doing? All in all, bad feedback keeps me humble and on my toes. This is a good thing.
From Sam D.: What is the best way to get more followers?
I’m probably not a great person to ask. I’ve never been good at “getting my name out there” or advertising or anything. I’m horrible with social media too. This 5amjoel readership grew naturally via word of mouth.
I think a better question to ask is: How do I provide more value to people? That’s the best way to create a community… provide value to people’s lives.
Hope this helps! Would love to hear any feedback or other questions! Email me anytime.