The simple habit of putting pen to paper, even if you never share the words publicly, benefits you in multiple ways. Stream-of conscious journaling, for example, provides clarity and promotes creativity. Publishing your words, though, can bring even more rewards.
In this information age anyone can have a blog or publish a book. The gatekeepers who used to be in charge of deciding which words were worthy of sharing no longer control the market. But without the professional gatekeepers telling you whether you’re good enough how will you know you aren’t just another wannabe writer who simply likes to hear his own voice?
Find an audience worth serving.
The people who read your words are the people who matter. They are the new gatekeepers; look to serve them. They will come back for more when the things your write resonate with them. Listen to what they have to say and write in response to their wants and needs.
If you don’t have an audience yet you can do one of two things:
- either write whatever you want and hope the audience will find and stick with you,
- or find someone with a problem and serve them by writing about the solution.
Both of these options work — in fact both have worked for me — but I can tell you from experience that the second works far better than the first. This is especially true if you aren’t 100% confident that your writing is worth reading.
Choose topics worth writing about.
The best way to be sure that your writing is worth reading is to write in response to a real problem that a real person is facing.
Start with your audience, whether that is the people who are already listening to you or the people who you want to listen to you. Listen to them first. Get to know their struggles and then write about how to overcome those struggles. If someone in your audience asks a question take the time to respond with a full article. If one person struggled or wondered enough to speak up, chances are there are others with the same question who simply stayed quiet.
Write words worth paying for.
Once you have an audience, consistently address their struggles, and write what they want to read you can take the next step: Let people pay you for what you write.
I say “let people pay you” because once you have taken the time to serve people, many of them will be happy to give you something in return.
After writing and publishing free poetry online for years I had multiple people ask me to compile it into a book they could buy from me. After months of helping people in my business community however I could a few of them started asking if they could hire me either to write for them or to teach them my process. Now I’m experimenting with putting some of my words behind this paywall. Members can show their appreciation by interacting and their $5 monthly fee goes to the writers they appreciate.
The methods of getting paid are many and varied, but the thing to remember is that the best way to ensure that the time you spend is worth it is by writing for your readers. Begin with selflessness and you will be rewarded. It may take time, but if you make it a habit and are always working to improve, the reward will come.