Category Archives: On writing

How To Become a Better Writer (by Michael Hyatt)

I just read 7 “Tricks” to Improve Your Writing Overnight, which also has 5 “bonus” tricks. To these 12 things, I can say YES and AMEN!

They might seem simple. Maybe too simple. But I’ve been writing professionally since 2006 and I absolutely agree with every single one of these. The one that jumps out the most right now is the Stephen King technique (bonus #2).

Go here. Read it. Get better at writing!

Tools for writing better, vs. writing better

On Facebook I saw a link to this hubspot blog post titled The 31 Best Tools for Improving Your Writing Skills.

It had the usual cool tools that you would expect… places to write, like Google Docs and all kinds of new-fangled tools to help you hack writing.

Let me share a different idea.  Instead of finding tools to help you write better, I’ll share a tactic: WRITE!

Just simply write.

9+ years ago I started blogging.  I blogged almost every single day. I thought I was a great writer, partly because that was what I had been told all though high school.  I wrote, and thought my blog posts were da bomb.

A few years into this writing journey, where I wrote almost every single day, I went back to some of my first blog posts.  To my surprise and embarrassment, I found them to be quite juvenile.  Poorly written.  There were mistakes (which is kind of okay, because hey, it’s just a blog), but worse, I didn’t like the tone I used.

I could only see this after having gone through the exercise of writing almost daily.

I don’t care if you get an old tool (pencil/paper) or a new tool (from that link above)… I have similar tools to a guy who lives down the street and does amazing finish work for a living.  My recommendation is, regardless of the tools you choose, JUST WRITE.  And write again and again.

As you write consistently, for years and years, you’ll improve your writing skills. You won’t improve them just because of a tool you choose (although obviously tools can help)… you’ll improve them because you work on your skills.

Take that, social networking!

Social, including blogging, has evolved so much since I seriously got involved back in 2006.  Eight years ago.

First we saw comments go from a blog post go to Facebook… and Twitter… and all of the sudden the blog felt like a cold, lonely place.

Then, we saw people giving up their blogs and moving to Facebook or whatever they thought was better.

During the eight years I’ve blogged regularly, on multiple blogs… but especially my JibberJobber blog.  It is refreshing to see an email from The Publicity Hound (Joan Stewart) that includes this:

–People are becoming fed up with Facebook, and
online marketing experts are recommending that you
blog more, Facebook less.”

I never thought blogs were going away, and there are a few things they are better at than social networks (and a few things social tools are better at than blogs).

I see them all as tools… why not use the right tools to do the jobs needed, instead of one tool to try to do all jobs?

Writing Awesome Blog Posts

Excellent blog post (with a killer slideshare embedded) on Windmill Networking.  This was written by Kristi Hines: Composing a Successful Blog Post

I’ve been blogging for about 7 years, almost daily (less weekends and holidays), and have seen the rise and “fall” of blogging.  The “fall” came when a lot of the conversation went social… comments happened on Facebook or Twitter… this was supposed to be the death of blogging.

Blogging is far from dead or irrelevant.

There are a number of reasons to blog.  I have told tens of thousands of people that blogging is a critical part of an online strategy.  But it is hard.  It takes long-term commitment.  But it is a crucial part of my strategy.

ONE reason is because I can refer back to great blog posts from years ago.  I can’t refer back to tweets (not easy to find), or Facebook or LinkedIn wall posts, Group Discussions, etc.  I love being able to have an easy-to-access archive that I can refer back to.  I’ve tapped into this by creating the Favorite Friday series on JibberJobber, which kind of brings old posts to my current audience.

Anyway, blog!  And read Kristi’s post.

Tim Ferriss and John Romaniello on getting a 7 figure book deal

I LOVE Tim’s blog posts like this… it’s like a formula to go from zero to “successful.”  While you  may not be positioned to write a book, or pitch it, or get an advance, you can learn a lot from this long guest post.

With that, I’ll let you go over there now.  It’s a long post, but it’s worth it. I need to print all of the posts like this on Tim’s blog and study them!

How a First-Time Author Got a 7-Figure Book Deal

Should I make a book out of my blog(s)?

A buddy, Steve Duncan, has some cool blogs.  Here’s a post I came upon that I want to keep. Is there a book in your blog? Convert WordPress to Scrivener

I’ve not wanted to create a “book” out of my blogs (especially the JibberJobber blog) for a few reasons.

One blogger said that blogs make horrible books, and I think I agree.  To connect my blog posts together into something that flows, and the value grows as you read each page, would take a lot of work.  As a blogger I write what I want when I want, I don’t follow a schedule and plan throughout a year or month.  I might have a week-long series, but that’s as sophisticated as I get as far as flow.

Almost seven years later, though, I think it makes sense to pull certain posts out to create several books.  Seven years of writing is A LOT!

I could have a book on personal branding.

I could have a book on job search technology and very specific tips.

I could have a book on career management.

I could have a book on LinkedIn. Oh wait, I already have that :p

I could write a book on alternative revenue streams.  Oh yeah, already working on that.

Perhaps I could pull enough posts together (and fill in the blanks) to write a book on small business, and the ups and downs.

Interesting.  I really have put this off for a long time but when I saw Steve’s post it made me think maybe it’s time.  One reason is because I have a feeling I need some new “products” that I can either move/sell OR just get some buzz around.

I’ll have to noodle on this idea… in my “spare time.” :p


Robert Merrill asks What is the New Blogging?

Check out Robert’s post here.

My answer was so long I thought I’d make it the subject of this post:

Robert, thanks for this post and inviting me to comment. This evolution has been frustrating to watch and live over the years.

As you know I’ve blogged for over 6 years, and have maintained multiple blogs. I currently maintain three of my own.

I also wrote a book on LinkedIn (I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???), coauthored a book on Facebook (I’m on Facebook – Now What???) and have done numerous live presentations, videos etc, on things like blogging, Twitter, etc.

Six years ago I wanted comments on my posts. When social became bigger, the comments went away because people would “comment” about my post on Facebook, or Twitter, or elsewhere. It was messing everything up :p

But I continued blogging… through all the social eruption.

Or should I say distraction.

I’ve seen Google not care about social posts (comments, walls, discussions, etc.) like they care about (or track) my posts. If I google certain keywords I find my posts from years ago, but never a tweet or discussion or wall post. The chatter that happened in social is… GONE.

If I were to leave this comment on your FB page only a small handful of people would ever see it. I could not refer back to it, ever (especially years/months later). But on this post it lives forever (as long as your blog doesn’t go down). That’s really powerful. I continue to send people links to my posts that are years-old.

What I’ve seen recently (in the last 18 months) is that people are getting really tired of all the places they “have to” be… LI, FB, Twitter were the Big Three. Oh but get on Google+ or you are a loser who is missing out! And Pinterest is better than them all! And what about ____ and ____ and ____!!!! It is just too much, and people don’t have time for it, nor do they have the energy.

That’s why you see people “going dark,” or “taking a one month social fast.” It’s just too much.

Where should you blog? On your blog. For years I’ve called my blog(s) the “anchor of my comprehensive social marketing strategy.” It continues to be. Even if I hit a grandslam elsewhere (like a LinkedIn Answers question) I’ll link to it from my blog, so it lives forever and can be accessed later.

The next best place, right now (and this could change but I don’t see anything that is near good enough to be a close second) is LinkedIn Group Discussions. They don’t live forever, but you have a built-in audience that might care about what you are talking about (which bloggers don’t necessarily have)…

Anyway, my two cents. Can’t wait to see where we’ll be in another six years :)

Are You Blogging Effectively?

This morning I have written four blog posts, on four different blogs.  Well, with this one, make that FIVE.

Why do I do it?

Because blogging continues to be an incredibly effective tool for outreach, community development, sharing my thoughts, personal therapy, and even SEO.  It helps me stay connected, and it makes me think critically about my ideas.

Here’s what I’ve written just this morning:

Another Way to See Full Names on LinkedIn: Recommendations. On my LinkedIn blog. Had to schedule this for tomorrow since a prescheduled post went up this morning.

Finding Dignity, Finding Hope. Identifying Your Identity. On my JibberJobber blog. Perhaps the most important post I’ve written this month, maybe this year, about how job seekers tend to lose their identity, and how that is not good (and what to do/think about it).

What is the scariest thing about starting (or thinking about starting) a business? On my 51 Alternatives blog (this is for my newest book).  This was a soft-pitch post, easy to write. Basically I let those blog readers know about my LinkedIn question, which is totally relevant for this audience.

How has social marketing evolved? Please share your thoughts… On the Recruiting Blogs community. I posted this on a Group Discussion on LinkedIn, but thought that community would be a great place to have a conversation about it.

And now this post, which is a good teaching post about blogging (how, when, how often, why, what to write, etc.).

Are YOU blogging effectively? Do you know WHY you are blogging?

How To Sell More Books

I’m starting to get geared up for the next book release… here are two posts I thought were interesting:

HOW TO LAUNCH A BESTSELLING BOOK (Michael Hyatt) – really, really good information about what it means to be a bestseller, etc. Honest, awesome.

25 ways to generate better online book sales – lots of details, lots of technical stuff. Mixing the author’s expertise of SEO and book publishing.

OOPS! Leave a comment on the blog, but we make it impossible!

I just read an interesting blog post, and decided to leave a comment.

My comment was really good (yes, I’m biased).  It was highly relevant, and helpful to the blogger as well as to her readers.

When I hit submit, I was prompted to login to (a) wordpress, or (b) gravatar.

I don’t have a wordpress account that I use, so I tried to login with my gravatar account.  I haven’t done this for, oh, years.  Since I set up the account.

I got an error message, prompting me to try again.

But here’s the sad truth: by this time, I was done.  I had lost interest in making this work.  Even thought the comment was good, and would have helped increase the credibility of the blog and blogger, I was done.  I closed the tab, moved on to the 50 other things I try and do before my workday starts.

Would the blogger have wanted and appreciated the comment?  I’m sure.  Bloggers want comments like addicts want ________.  It helps validate them as a blogger.

But the blogger made it too hard for me to leave a comment.

If you have a blog, logout and try and comment on one of your posts.  If it is not stupid-easy (that is, fill in the comment, your name, email addy and your URL, and that’s it!!), then you are making it too hard.