Sooner or later, the fish will bite
There are heaps of articles online along the lines of:
“How I earned X amount from this viral article”
While this is true, you don’t just write a viral article like that. (Sorry to crush your wishful thinking.) Your articles need to be great for one piece to go viral.
But how do you get there?
Every failure brings you a step closer to your goal.
When you make mistakes, you progress. Does this even make sense?
Heck yeah. Let me explain.
Imagine you’re an A-class student. You ace your exams in school, teachers love you, and you cruise through your university entry exams. The sky truly is the limit. So you continue to university. And then it happens:
It hurts, it’s devastating, and you can’t think of why you stuffed up. You struggle to pick yourself up out of your hole. Never before have you experienced such worthlessness.
What is wrong with you?
Dealing with failure is challenging. But it allows you to grow emotionally, learn from your mistakes and refocus your vision on the road to success.
And while you might think, “why is this random guy telling me this?” I will answer your thoughts by simply saying: “I’ve often failed.”
I have failed in school, university, fitness, side hustles and writing.
After writing for around half a year, every rejection from a publication is still a stab in the back. However, I try to use this kind of feedback to channel my thoughts towards my long-term goal: succeeding as a writer.
Setbacks in life are a huge potential to learn, analyse mistakes and move on. Every step is a step further away from failure and a step closer to success.
Arise from the pit of despair
When you’re unmotivated, depressed and frustrated, it’s often hard to pick yourself up and suddenly be motivated. Here are two ways I regain my focus and motivation for writing:
1. Look at other writers
Writing has been around for a long time. Even today, most educated people enjoy the work of an outstanding writer. With many experts out there, reading another story of: “This simple writing trick earned me XX amount of money” might be more depressing than uplifting.
Instead of focusing only on the top writers, look up some of the mediocre ones. Find writers on your “level” of writing. Read their articles and think to yourself: “How would I have written this? How could I have written it better?”
If you can critically read through other people’s articles, your quality will quickly improve. I learnt this valuable lesson from Amardeep Parmar. He can criticise work from different writers, learn from their mistakes and write professionally without years of writing experience.
2. Realise that one-hit wonders are rare
If you were to analyse one-hit writers, who made money from day one writing online, you’d struggle to find many. Writing isn’t an easy profession. Often the time and effort you put into writing will only pay off years later.
Some people make enough money from their side hustle to quit their job in a year. This kind of person might be you, but it probably isn’t.
Try not comparing your abilities to others. You will often fall back into the pit of despair.
Instead, think along these lines:
Your last blog post could blow up exactly a year from now. Some writers can pay their rent from one article alone for several years. Always keep this in mind when you struggle to motivate yourself.
What have you learnt from failures?
After this boost of self-confidence, and you’re out of your pit of despair, it’s time to reflect and analyse. Ask yourself why you failed. Get into the nitty-gritty of why you missed the mark. If you’re a writer, try to dive deeper: “Why wasn’t your piece a fit for a certain publication?”
When I reflect on these questions, my common denominator is the lack of editing my stories. My words and sentences often seem structured in my head, but others struggle reading my thoughts and finding the read thread.
I believe a good writer needs to be an outstanding editor. If we can trim down on the unnecessary, our stories would improve drastically.
But editing is hard. You proof-read every sentence trying to make sense of your thoughts from the previous day or even week. Practice will be your best friend here. Every time you edit an article, the process gets simpler.
Often this results in two types of writers:
- Writers who strive for perfection and take days or even weeks editing one article
- Writers who want to get their draft into a decent publication but forget the importance of editing
We need to find a balance between those two extremes.
The fish will bite
I have always frowned upon fishing as a hobby. I never felt an urge to spend a beautiful day sitting at a river, sipping my beer and waiting for a fish to bite the bait. You could spend your day with so many more meaningful activities!
However, while I reflected on this topic, the fishing analogy seemed a good fit. In fishing, you need to be the one taking action. You need to provide the food for the fish to bite. Only then will you get a good catch.
If your fishing rod with the can of baits is stashed away in your garage, you can’t catch fish — when you don’t write great content, you can’t go viral. By getting your fishing gear out and making the trip to the river to go fishing, you can achieve your goal.
Continue to create great content, and the fish (publications) will soon bite your bait. Until then, let the quality speak.
Thanks for reading.