Stop Being an “Aspiring” Writer

Banksy in Boston by Chris Devers

Banksy in Boston by Chris Devers

Today’s guest post is by Ollin Morales from Courage 2 Create. Find out more about Ollin at the end of this post. 


Every once in a while I’ll come across a blog post that is absolutely brilliant. It’s gold. If I was a literary agent or a publisher, I would sign you up in two seconds flat.

But here’s the problem: That excellent post is one post in a million of mediocre posts you’ve buried it under.

That amazing post is also drowning in a blog that has no direction and is lost in a sea of repetition. You have the potential to be great. But you’re not delivering on a consistent basis.

Why is that?

You keep aspiring to be great instead of allowing yourself to be great right now. Here’s how to move past that mindset.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Put Your Best Self Out There

You’re terrified of people stealing your ideas. I get it.

But even if those people out to steal your golden eggs manage to escape copyright laws, guess what? They can never get their hands on the goose that lays them.

You’re the goose and you’ll never stop producing phenomenal work.

Those bad people who want to steal your ideas, on the other hand, are in a sad shape. Because you’ll keep moving on to bigger and better things, no matter who tries to copy you.

Stop holding yourself back. Put your best self out there so your readers and the movers and shakers can notice you.

2. Find Your Target Audience

Once there was a lonely crab who wanted to make friends. This crab saw a school of fish nearby and so he started to act like a fish in the hopes that this would make him more appealing to the fish. But when the school of fish came by the lonely crab, all they saw was a crab acting like a fish. Confused by this, the school of fish passed the lonely crab and left him alone.

Then a group of crabs came by and saw the lonely crab still acting like a fish. This confused the group of crabs, too, and so the group of crabs passed by, and left him in a lonelier position than before.

Stop aspiring and be yourself. Follow your passion. Follow your love.

When you do this, you will attract the people who are passionate about what you are passionate about. You will attract the people who love the things you love. And you won’t waste a second on people who are not interested in what you are providing.

3. Create Great Content

Take great content seriously from now on.

  • Create great content by reading others’ blogs. Often they will tell you flat-out what they are struggling with. Provide solutions to their problems; they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
  • Create great content by being controversial not for controversy sake, but because you strongly believe in your point of view.
  • Create great content by writing posts that make you feel slightly uncomfortable. This guarantees that you are writing something fresh, because we only feel uncomfortable when something has not been tried in the mainstream before.
  • Create great content by experimenting with solutions to common problems you face. Then share your findings with your readers. Create tips and tricks that your readers will not find anywhere else.
  • Create great content by learning how to write exceptionally.

Create great content by combining all of the above techniques in every post, until it makes your content unforgettable.

4. Build Your Readership

Don’t wait for someone else to open up the floodgates to your readership and your fans.

  • Build your readership by cluster-jumping. Find 5-10 bloggers you adore, click on their blogrolls, follow the people who comment on their blogs, and follow the people who share that bloggers’ work—then follow the blogrolls of those people, follow who comments on their blogs, and follow the people who share their work, and continue doing this until you’ve reached a critical mass. Through exploring that cluster you’ll find like-minded individuals who may be interested in what you have to offer.
  • Build your readership by starting local. Stop waiting for some “big name” authority to follow you. Instead, start guest posting with people in your local network. I started growing my blog simply by guest posting. When I started doing this, I had zero followers, but slowly, I gained momentum. I gained more than 400 subscribers and was featured on big-name blogs like WriteToDone and Problogger.

Be great today by creating a solid readership all on your own.

When you take all the above actions you may find that the power to become great was in your hands all along. No one was stopping you but you.


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Posted in Creativity + Inspiration, Guest Post.
Ollin Morales

Ollin Morales

Ollin Morales is a writer. Courage 2 Create chronicles the author’s journey as he writes his first novel. His blog offers writing advice as well as strategies to deal with life's toughest challenges. As his story unfolds, it becomes more and more clear to Ollin that in order to write a great novel, he must first learn how to live a great life.

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35 Comments on "Stop Being an “Aspiring” Writer"

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Anonymous

Great article.  Makes me want to be great.  I hope I have the courage that you have!

Ollin Morales

Just trust that you do and go out and change the world.

Alan Carroll

You have nailed it! It is as if you have burrowed inside my head and downloaded my Brain-Hard-Drive with all it’s thoughts and fears re blogging and writing! I shall take your advice on immediately.

Ollin Morales

I’m glad you liked it Alan!

Deborah Niemann
Excellent advice. I know my blog posts that get the highest number of readers are those that make me feel a little uncomfortable. I’m wondering if people will think I’m crazy or maybe they won’t like me, and then I get lots of positive comments, and I look at my stats and they’re the highest they’ve been in a month! Maybe I did offend someone, and they’ll never come back, but my post obviously resonated with a lot of people. The bottom line is that people aren’t going to keep coming back for ho-hum. They want to read stuff that… Read more »
Ollin Morales

Excellent advice Deborah! Thanks for sharing.

H.E. Dinsmore

Everything I have been struggling has been covered in this wonderful post. It came at just the perfect time.

H.E. Dinsmore

…struggling “with”– guess I shouldn’t be in a hurry to get my reply out before checking my spelling and words..

Ollin Morales

No worries!

Ollin Morales

You’re welcome H.E. Glad I could be of service.

dennison2969

Thanks for this- I just recently changed my blog profile info from “aspiring” to “writer.”

Ollin Morales

Good for you!

Marly
 First of all, you had me going when I read that you also blogged about your journey to writing your first novel; I thought you had “stolen” my idea! Turns out your way is much different than mine, which just goes to prove your first point, I suppose. Ideas, whether in the form of a blog or a book or a movie, are not copy-writable. I intentionally give away my plot line, (though I won’t be giving away the ending, for obvious reasons) because I love to make people laugh, I am ridiculously practical,  and I wanted to share with… Read more »
Ollin Morales

Oh, Marly, if that’s the case then there’s a whole blogosphere of people stealing your idea! The idea of chronicling an author’s journey as they write their first novel isn’t new–it’s practically the theme of every writing blog. But you are right, we all do it very differently.

Diana Stevan

Great post, Ollin. You caught me at a time when I’m questioning my content. I have a wealth of experience that I’m not drawing on. Also, I’ve heard that as a writer, you shouldn’t be too controversial – and here I’m speaking of religion and politics – and yet those are the subjects that people often feel most passionate about. So, what do you do? Bury them or risk alienating whole groups of people? Thanks again.

Deborah Niemann
When I posted my response, I wasn’t necessarily talking about blogging on an unlimited list of controversial items. I think they need to be relevant to your blog. I’ve been blogging at http://antiquityoaks.blogspot.com since 2006 about our experience living in the country and growing our own food. My political posts are all food related, and I don’t really touch religion. Food itself can be highly controversial, and the way that food is raised — especially animals — gets people very emotional. My readers, however, are there because they know that I’m into organic, free range, naturally raised meat, eggs, and… Read more »
Ollin Morales
The key here is to not be “controversial for controversy sake.” And even when I am “controversial” I do it with utmost respect for others points of view and I do not seek to demonize or push my agenda on my readers. I do it with civility and in a way that says: “Hey this is what I believe–what do you believe?” My readers don’t always agree with me and I provide them a forum to do just that. So if you’re passionate about something share it, but don’t expect people to agree with you or to mold to your point of view,… Read more »
Anne R. Allen

Love the advice here. Just tweeted it and 5 people have already RT’d. This is so important “Great great content by reading other’s blogs.” So true. In fact, many of my blogposts come out of comments I’ve made on another blog. I realize I have more to say–so it goes into my own post. 

And building readership through clusters–such good advice!

Ollin Morales

Thanks Anne! Glad you loved it.

Drdavidbryant

Very good article.  Step by step to greatness.  Thanks for being a great inspiration.

Ollin Morales

Thanks and you’re welcome!

Karenselliott

You keep rocking my world, Ollin. Another great post. I’m going to start stalking your BLOGROLL people, too. 🙂

Celia

I like the ‘cluster-jumping’ concept – have already met some amazing people that way! Thanks for the great advice.

Ollin Morales

You’re welcome!

lilli

Thank you for this entry.  It’s what I needed to hear at the moment I needed to hear it!  Write on!

Katemcclare
Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I am currently building a blog on writing, and I try to follow the advice for building a community by following and commenting on other people’s blogs. But here’s something I call (or maybe I stole it) “the rabbit hole effect.” I check out an interesting blog and am drawn to someone on the blogroll, and then I’m drawn to another link on the second blog and another link at the third blog and another and another and pretty soon I’m about 10 levels from where I began and reading something completely unrelated! Am I… Read more »
Ollin Morales
If it’s something you are deeply interested stick with those blogs. You want to follow blogs you really love and are passionate about. Even if they are “outside” of your niche. This is for two reasons: one: this actually may be your niche and you didn’t know it until now–in which case you may need to revamp your blog to reflect your interests; two: you may be able to have this blogger over a guest blogger who can provide a different perspective. I follow environmental bloggers and two of them have visited and both have taught my readers how to… Read more »
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[…] The blog post “Stop being an aspiring writer” appeared as a guest spot for Jane Friedman at https://janefriedman.com/2011/08/19/stop-being-an-aspiring-writer/ […]

Victoriallins

Fabulous. Points 1-3, in my mind, apply to all kinds of creative writing and I’m applying them to my novel. I loved this so much I did a forward-post on my own blog.
http://victoria-collins.com/ Thank you Jane and Ollin!

Ollin Morales

point number works the same way I think, if you are thinking of self-publishing. As for the rest, all of them apply to life in subtle ways. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

Monique

Thanks for some wonderful advice.  I have gotten some of the most comments on stories that were the hardest to write.  That stands to reason though, the more we put into the work, the more we’ll get out of it, right? 
Thanks again!

Krissy Brady

Totally loving the cluster-jumping idea!  Thanks for a great post, as always! 🙂

Krissy Brady

Totally loving the cluster-jumping idea!  Thanks for a great post, as always! 🙂

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