How I Failed My Way Through $12,000 in 8 Months — 12 Lessons That Elevated My Writing Game

Derick David

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Writing — like any goal worth attaining — is hard.

Through time, It will wear you out.

But just like what Jordan Peterson always says,

Each and every one of us should pursue what’s meaningful, not expedient.

So, choose your hard.

Anyone reading this story who’s into writing themselves knows exactly what I’m about to say.

Writing is hard because of:

  • Rejection from publishers
  • Criticism
  • Resistance and writer’s block
  • Or just low-level outcomes

Writing isn’t a game everybody wants to play.

And of course, with the hard comes purposeful achievements.

Over the past 8 months, I’ve written constantly about topics I deeply care about, which have earned me north of $12,000.

And it comes with 12 lessons too, that I’ve learned…

1. You have to be specific on your topic

Writing is written by specialists for generalists.

Being extremely specific brings orgasm to people’s minds, and it stimulates every active neuron in the brain.

Being specific in your writing also helps you find your niche.

But how can you be specific?

  1. Start with 1 idea
  2. Focus on one thesis
  3. Be specific in your wording

When you’re specific, your writing becomes personalized to readers.

In return, they will love every word that you write.

2. Being profitable could take time

So, train yourself to be disciplined at all times.

Writing is for people who are:

  • Curious
  • Persistent
  • Relentless
  • Restless

Content writing isn’t about writing a few articles and hoping they go viral.

  • It’s a full-time job.
  • It’s a life-long commitment.
  • It’s a contract you make with yourself

Do you want to get wealthy by writing?

Keep writing and stay patient. It’s showing up every day and putting in the hard work to get the outcome you desire.

3. Write about something you deeply care about

“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
― Steven Pressfield

Ask yourself, what is that I think every time before I go to sleep?

Or, what is it that I can talk with friends for hours?

Let me give you an example, I love Steve Jobs and Apple, so I can wear you out for hours talking about Steve Jobs and Apple.

Why? Well, I’ve always been a fan of Steve Jobs growing up, and I love Apple products.

So, I want people to feel and think the same way.

And every time I speak about them, it’s like I’m convincing you to become a fanatic as well or a customer if you’re not yet!

Writing something you care about can make you write for hours; plus, it can also help you find your audience.

4. Start with one sentence, the one paragraph

Whenever you feel like you have writer’s block, don’t sit there and contemplate it.

Pick up your Macbook and start writing.

Start with one sentence, then one paragraph, and so on.

Before you realize it, you already have an entire article sitting in front of you.

You won’t solve your writer’s block by thinking about it, but by immersing yourself in the act of doing.

Get lost and get it done.

Or make meditation your solution

Mindfulness meditation not only helps with the flow of ideas and actual discipline in writing, but it also helps with:

  • The ups and downs of article statistics
  • Remaining stoic through the days
  • Dealing with negative criticism

5. Read other people’s work for ideas

There are so many gifted writers out there. If you’re feeling stuck, take a look at someone who is writing about what you want to write about and take down notes.

Ask yourself questions,

  • What is it that people want to read right now?
  • What is happening today that worth writing about?
  • What do people need right now?

It’s literally a hack.

6. Most of your articles will not go viral

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
— Bruce Lee

Many people (especially Gen-Zs) believe that their articles are going to go viral. Well, most don’t.

Show up every day anyway.

If there’s one advantage you can have over almost everyone else right now is your ability to keep doing what you doing despite the circumstances.

Hell, you’ll be scary.

Who knows, your next article will go to the moon…

7. You have to write for the future

Writing can be done for many different reasons, but if you want to write something expedient and worthwhile, you have to be timeless.

Write about a topic that people will want to read 10 or 20 years from now.

Technology and startups are good niches for this.

Write for the future.

8. Break your paragraphs into pieces

We live in an age of too much information.

How do you keep the reader engaged?

  1. You can drop names
  2. You can insert statistics
  3. Show authority or social proof

But, one way is to keep your paragraphs short.

Just trust me, it works. *wink* *wink*

How many times have you clicked on an article and saw thick paragraphs, and decided to move onto the next one?

Haha. You’re welcome.

9. Make it about your audience

Well, this is easy and somewhat underrated. There’s a difference between being a blogger and a writer. Of course, it sometimes depends on who you write for and what you write about.

Your writing should resonate with other people’s lives.

Especially if you want to be a profitable writer.

You can either write about your daily life. Or write about something that can help their daily lives.

Write for something that is bigger than yourself.

10. Aim to get published

Find publications that you think would want to publish your article.

If it’s about startups and technology, “The Startup” is a great choice.

Publications, especially the big ones, can fast-track to profits.

Although, some can be selective, so prepare to be rejected.

And when you get published, always remember to put a smile on your face and buy yourself a coffee, darling.

You just got published.

11. You have to talk to your audience

If you want to keep growing, you have to keep engaging with people, especially your people.

It’s fairly important that when you’re starting out — every comment should get a response.

I know. After a while, it becomes tedious.

Well, this is only the easy part!

“99% of you aren’t replying to comments & it’s killing you”
— Gary Vee

12. Just keep playing the game

Be grateful that you have dust in your face because that means you are on the playing field.

While others are spectators.

I get scores of DMs daily from my Twitter followers asking me to give feedback on their stories.

Remember:

  • The first article you write isn’t going to make you $1000
  • The fifth article isn’t going to be read by 100,000 people
  • The tenth article isn’t going to get you a Forbes membership

Hey, but maybe the 69th article will give you all these at the same time.

How would you know that unless you start?

So, start and click play.

And scream, let’s fucking go.

I promise you —what you’re doing is amazing.

It’s amazing because you’re doing something specific that millions of people in the globe aren’t doing; you’re putting it out there for the world to see.

You’re giving yourself a chance to become greater than you are today.

You’re opening yourself up to brand new opportunities.

But all of these will never be realized unless you start.

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10x Top Writer on Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Startups.

New York, NY
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