The entire blog world keeps talking about how it's not that hard to be a professional blogger. Usually the people saying that are the ones who have something to sell you, quite frankly. If someone's telling you this is not that difficult, you should look at what their motive is. Do they have something to sell you so that you'll become inspired, you'll think you can do it, or you'll start building a blog?
I am here to tell you that I don't think you have what it takes to be a professional blogger.
Not because blogging is some crazy difficult skillset. It's not.
Not because you have to be a fantastic writer with all this experience or know anything about journalism or writing -You really don't. I've seen people who are not great writers in the beginning, get better over time.
It’s not because you’re not great at videos or a daily vlog. I watched so many vlogs that honestly are pretty bad. Some bloggers aren’t necessarily that good in front of the camera, but they resonate with people and that's what really matters.
Those aren't the reasons. It's not your skill that makes me think that you don't have what it takes to be a professional blogger. It's the focus and the willingness to work on it consistently over time.
Anyone can have an idea for a blog. They can sit down with their fresh excitement and write two or three blog posts. It’s the same thing with a book. I've done this many times, where I write the outline, but after a chapter or two – I lose the motivation. And that's it. That's as far as I go.
The problem is not the skill. It's the consistency.
It's the willingness to put in a huge amount of work.
I know so many people who want to start a blog and they're like, “I'm just about to publish my first blog post, I just need to buy a domain, choose a name, and set up a WordPress theme.”– None of that really matters. You can improve that later.
The one thing that will be the defining factor in whether or not you're a successful blogger is your ability to produce content overtime. It’s not what you can do when you're motivated or what you can do when you're really excited, but what you can do consistently and put out all the time.
What I always tell people who are brand new bloggers is they should sit down with that motivation, write that blog post, but do NOT publish it. You shouldn't try to rush this out.
Write that first blog post, and do not publish it. Then write a second post and a third post and a fourth post. Write 10 blog posts. Don't publish any of them. Once you've done that you've proven that you have the first tiny little bit of dedication to actually following through with a blog.
And that's just with 10 posts. If you really want to test yourself, go more. Go for 20 or 30 posts. But at least start with 10. Write those 10 posts. If you can do that, you have what it takes to start a blog.
Once those 10 posts are in place, then you can go out – choose a domain, setup the WordPress theme, have a design made, any of that.
But until that moment where you've written 10 posts, you haven't yet proven to yourself or to anyone else that you actually have what it takes to be a blogger. You're just going to be one of those people who writes a couple of blog posts and then fizzles out and doesn't do anything. There are so many of those people in the Internet- don't add to it.
Consistency is learned skill
I don't think you have what it takes to be a professional blogger because I don't think you have that consistency. I just don't think you do. But you should prove me wrong. Please, prove me wrong.
You should prove it to yourself that you can do it and show up consistently. Write those 10 articles, get in that consistent publishing habit, and then you can make great things happen.
For me that consistency was a skill I had to learn. I wish more people had told me that I didn't have what it took and that I needed to build up that consistency early on. I would have started my work much earlier.
My blogging career didn't take off until three months after I started writing 1,000 words every single day for 600 days in a row.
I talked about building this habit in depth on the Reach podcast. Here’s a bit of what I said:
“I came across an article from Chris Guillebeau said it’s really easy to write a traditionally published book, a self-published book, or a couple self-published guides, you know…100 blog posts, 50 guest posts, and then it goes on, a few long form pieces for some magazines, blah, blah, blah, in a single year. It said it’s pretty easy if you just write a thousand words a day.
A thousand words actually sounded kind of intimidating, but, I thought, ‘OK, I don’t have to do this for an entire year, I just need to do it until this book is finished,’ because I’m tired of being the person who says, ‘I’m going to write a book,’ and then never actually do it.”
That's how I built my blog. It was that consistent effort.
It wasn't about the quality of the writing, how good of a face I have for cameras, or how good my podcasting voice was. It wasn’t about anything like that.
It's about showing up consistently, doing the work, and proving to yourself and everyone else that it’s not just about the excitement of the launch.
5 steps to learn how to be a blogger with consistency
You know that feeling I’m talking about, right? I’m sure you’ve done the exact same thing as me and so many other bloggers out there. In fact, I bet you have a couple barely started projects sitting in files on your computer right now.
My challenge to you today is to find that one idea- the one passion project and really put work into it. And here’s a couple steps to get there:
- Don’t worry about all the stuff that comes later. Don’t worry about growing your list, what your domain name will be, whether you’ll use WordPress or Squarespace, or how you’ll design your logo.
- Brainstorm as many blog post topics as you can. Niche your idea down as much as possible and then come up with as many blog post ideas as you can. Doing this step will help you see how much content possibility you have.
- Choose 10 of those topics and write. Give yourself a deadline and just start writing. Take a cue from step 1 and don’t worry about whether you’re writing is grammatically correct or in a bunch of fragments. This step is about seeing if you’ve got what it takes to create in volume.
- Don’t publish. Hold off for a bit. Send your finished pieces to your mentor or peers that you trust. Get their feedback about what you’re offering. It will help you know if you’re creating valuable content or if you need to make some adjustments.
- Learn to adjust. Take that feedback and make adjustments. No one gets it right on the first try. But here’s the great thing- there’s always room for change. Change is a constant in life, so you need to learn how to see it, accept it, and make yourself better by it.
Do you already know what your one idea is? If not, be intentional about taking time with all your ideas. It’s possible you have more than one great one, but let’s just start small.
So sit down, flesh out your idea as much as possible, and get to writing!