When I was in grade 12, the final year of high school in Australia where I grew up, we were given a year-long writing assignment in English class.
We had to spend the entire year researching and writing about a topic, then by the end of final semester, submit this monster 10,000 word assignment.
10,000 words back then was a HUGE number to my teenage self. I would never have believed ten years later as a blogger I could pump out that many words in a weekend!
Star Trek Is The Answer
I was born in 1979, so an 80’s child, and a 90’s teenager. For me, one of the defining experiences of the 90s was Star Trek: The Next Generation.
You could say I was way more geek than party-animal at 18 (I’m still the same today). As a result a Friday night with take-out Chinese food and a new Star Trek episode was heaven.
I never liked writing much when I was growing up. I remember during high school, carefully reviewing the assignment criteria for each subject, giving out an audible sigh when I saw the word count requirements.
A paper of 1,000 words was manageable, 2,000 was painful and 3,000 was just unrealistic. You can imagine what I thought about this 10,000 word monster I faced in my final year.
I struggled at first to come up with a topic for my year-end English assignment. I was not a good student, did not like studying and most of all hated assignments because they had deadlines. I really disliked deadlines.
After several months of procrastination and a looming deadline for the first part of my English assignment it dawned on me — I could write about Star Trek!
I hadn’t considered writing about something I actually enjoyed because up until then I was told what to write about. As a result, every assignment was a painful, laborious process of forcing myself to research and compile words about a subject I cared nothing about.
My final year English thesis was open-ended enough that I could propose Star Trek as the subject, as long as I tied it into a theme the teacher thought was relevant.
I made the pitch for my proposed Star Trek ‘research paper’, and for the first time ever in my twelve years of schooling, was able to write about something I cared about.
My Best Grade Ever
Despite my love of Trek, facing a 10,000 word mountain to climb meant I still wasn’t exactly looking forward to the job.
I procrastinated as always, then as the deadline loomed threw myself into the writing.
Knowing my subject meant I didn’t have to force myself through a painfully boring research process, but I still had to produce 10,000 words.
It took a month, but I got the project done just in time, and handed in my paper.
To my surprise, upon graduation my English grade was my best result ever.
I got an A, and it was largely due to my Star Trek final assignment since it carried the bulk of the assessment weighting.
Grade A was not a very common result during my school days. I produced a couple of assignments that earned an A, but my final year English class is the only subject I landed an end of year top grade.
When people ask me if I had any qualifications before I started blogging I tell them about that grade ‘A’ in high school English (as a joke more than anything!).
I’ve never studied writing, never wrote for pleasure or kept a diary as some of my friends did growing up.
I enrolled in a business degree at university after high school, which I am sad to say did not change my experiences with writing.
The only difference were the word counts – university lecturers expect more of their students than high school teachers 🙁 .
I got through my university degree in four years, one year slower than the prescribed three year curriculum (I found I was better able to cope with just three subjects a semester).
After graduation, I was well and truly over studying. I saw myself as an entrepreneur, so I was going to do my best to focus on business and making money.
I was looking forward to a life free of assignments…
The Entrepreneur Becomes A Writer
As you may know if you have read or listened to my background story, during my early twenties I enjoyed some success with a website about the card game Magic: The Gathering and also an English editing business, BetterEdit.com (I was not the editor!).
Despite that business success, I still didn’t feel like I was on the right track.
I wasn’t making the kind of money I wanted to and I didn’t enjoy running the businesses I was running.
I loved being an entrepreneur, in particular generating ideas. I enjoyed fantastic freedom in my life, with absolutely no deadlines. However, I was still jumping around, trying things and quickly dropping them.
I lacked focus, purpose, and direction. I just hadn’t found my mojo so to speak.
I started a blog in 2004, initially as a marketing experiment for my editing company. That experiment didn’t last long because I didn’t like writing about editing, but I did enjoy writing about my ideas and experiences running my business.
That’s why in January 2005, at 25 years old I started a blog purely to write about the subject I cared about, entrepreneurship.
For the first time, writing became fun. I had no deadlines, no grades to care about, and I could write as many words (or few) as came to me!
It was thanks to this freedom and love for my subject that I discovered writing. It became my passion.
I would have laughed if you told my younger self that I would write for a living. I would have laughed if you told me that I would come to see writing as the defining activity of my life, something I saw myself doing until I die. Yet I do.
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Writers Need Readers
My blog Entrepreneurs-Journey.com would go on to define the next ten years of my life. It became my creative outlet, a source of therapy during hard times, a powerful communication tool and the foundation of a million dollar business.
However, like all writers, at first I started publishing my work to the world not knowing what to expect.
The table at the ‘3 Monkeys’ where I first wrote my blog
I remember sitting there at my laptop in my local cafe the ‘3 Monkeys’ in Brisbane Australia, typing away, then hitting publish.
Needless to say, not much happened during those early months. I loved my blog, but I had no idea if anyone else would ever feel the same.
I didn’t realize this when I first started blogging, but it quickly became important to see a reaction to my writing — to know people were reading.
All my writing prior to that point was read either by teachers, tutors, lecturers or friends and family members. I didn’t really care that much since that writing was mandatory school work.
When it came to my blog, I craved feedback. I needed to elicit a reaction in other people, to receive some kind of sign that my work had meaning and feel my writing created value for others.
The Audience Appears
Within a couple of months of starting my blog comments started to appear on my articles. Then the emails began arriving from people asking for advice, or just saying how much they liked my blog.
Before my blog I never thought I might actually be good at writing. I never thought I’d write words that hundreds of people would read, let alone thousands, or millions.
The initial feedback I received from my small but growing audience spurred me onwards. I began thinking of all the subjects I could cover and felt this intense desire to get everything I knew into my blog to help others.
I wrote furiously and my audience grew. My writing wasn’t brilliant, but I had my own style. I wrote how I thought, and it seemed to connect with people.
Make A Difference Through Your Writing
Before I started writing I never realized how powerful it was to influence people through your words and ideas.
Over the past ten years I’ve written about many personal subjects on my blog, including the meaning of life, a tribute to my mother after she died from a stroke, and the key to happiness.
I’ve enjoyed countless interactions with my readers in person. Hearing how much my blog has positively impacted their lives never gets old.
I used to view ‘writers’ as people who write books. These people spend a year or two in relative isolation, then finally after months and months of toiling over their words, emerge to release their masterpiece.
Unfortunately, as the statistics show, most books don’t reach a very large audience.
While I can certainly appreciate the achievement of simply getting a book finished, I believe all writers need readers.
We need to feel our work has meaning to others. That gives us meaning and purpose.
No matter what subject you write about, ultimately we all want to change lives for the better.
This is why I am so glad I started blogging. With a blog you hit the publish button from day one. You then hit it again and again and again, day after day, week after week.
Blogging is publishing. It’s about getting out there and building your audience — finding your readers — from day one.
You get to enjoy that feeling of impact sooner. You get feedback that can guide your writing and give you new ideas.
Best of all, a blog builds your audience, so on that day you do publish your first book your readers are there, standing by, ready to buy it and read it.
You know your book is going to be read. You know you will make a difference.
How To Publish Your Book And Already Have Readers
How would you feel knowing that when you publish your book you will have thousands of readers standing by super-eager to read it?
What about enjoying the experience of making a difference with your writing long before you publish your book?
Writing a book is no small task. Wouldn’t it make sense to explore your subject, explore your ideas and start producing some writing that reaches people right now?
If you have a book already then you are even better positioned to benefit from blogging. You can start to build your blog audience and sell your book to them starting immediately.
You’ve probably been told that for a book to succeed a marketing plan is just as important as the book itself. Your blogging strategy is that marketing plan.
Books don’t sell themselves. You have to get out there and tell people they exist.
That’s what blogging is about. Reaching out and building your readership now and growing it every day thanks to the platform your blog creates.
Best of all, as a writer you will inherently ‘get’ blogging.
It’s about using your writing to reach out to people 24/7, and not simply hoping that your writing will magically attract people the day you release your book.
Learn How To Blog And Publish Your Writing Now
I’ve been teaching people how to use a blog to build a readership since 2007.
I’ve helped thousands of writers leverage the power of blogging to experience the joy of being read.
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I’d love to see you in my course and help you start to build your readership today.
Remember your book is not going to sell itself. You need to learn how to market your writing if you want to find readers.
Here’s to being read and making a difference with your writing.