Why Is Writing So Hard?

Writing shouldn’t be so difficult, and when you answer “What is Writing?“, it sounds easy as pie. However, writing is damn hard. But, why?

There are so many different reasons, and they’re different for everyone. Where one person may say their biggest obstacle is focus, another may say that they just don’t know how to organize everything. So let’s take a look at a few of the most hit-on issues and we can talk about a few ways to overcome them.

  1. The Stepford Complex – I’m not sure that this is an actual term, but I certainly feel like I’m malfunctioning as I strive for perfection. How do you feel when someone tells you “it doesn’t have to be perfect”? For a long time, I took that as a challenge. Oh yeah? Try me! Well, then I had to back up my big mouth.Ā 

    The issue with this issue is that nothing is perfect. Let’s admit something that a lot of people still struggle with. There is no such thing as a one fits all level of perfect. Perfect is only as much as we allow ourselves to be, and shouldn’t be dismissed by others. Let people complain, they can have their own opinions. You set your own goals, and you work diligently to achieve them.Ā 
  2. Perpetual Lack of Time – In this day and age, it’s a wonder people still have hobbies. Once you’ve finished meal prepping, working, working out, paying bills, cleaning the house, and getting your 7+ hours of sleep; how can you possibly have time to schedule anything right? It’s a problem that a lot of people face, but like the perfection issue, you set your limits.Ā 

    The way around this one is focus. You come up with your 10 minutes to an hour for writing, and you focus only on that. The bills will still be there, if the gym closes there are a million videos online you can follow at home, and you can still sleep plenty. Focus on the task at hand. Jot down a plan for what you need to write, make an outline if you need it, and just do it. (Nike, please don’t sue me.)
  3. Once Upon A Clock…That’s not right – Writing is sadly not like riding a bike. These particular wheels get rusty when you don’t use them. After a stretch of downtime, it’s easy to make a lot of mistakes as you get back into it.

    Can you guess the trick here? You got it! Practice! Emails with full writing can help out with this, but no the “TYSM! I’ll TTYS” doesn’t count. Text speak is completely useless in this situation and can hinder you. It’s too easy to fall out of practice, so if you truly can’t block out some time to devote to writing, jot down a random paragraph instead of a plain to-do list.Ā 
  4. To Burn The Writing, Or Not To Burn The Writing – Sharing your work can be very difficult. Artists go through this with their paintings often times too. They finish and they’re very proud, but as they look at the piece more, they “find” little flaws as they worry about what others might think. The same can be said of writers. I know I’m scared to share my creative writing a lot of the time. Short stories, flash fictions, and blogs are totally easy to hand over; but ask me to read the first chapter of the novel I’m working on? Oooohhh no. You could hate the character I love the most. The setting I toiled over could look different in your mind. ….Excuse me while I rewrite a few things.Ā 

    Yes. I really do that. I’ve gotten much better with this issue, but for a long time, I would constantly write and rewrite something because of the fears I gave myself. I worried about what others might think, and if it was going to be right. Then one day I realized, most of what I personally write, is mine. It’s perfect as long as I’m happy with it. Sometimes people will see things differently than you do. When I readĀ Undercurrent, I’m sure at some point Ari was said to be blonde, but it didn’t fit with how I saw her and my brain decided to omit it. Now, if it ever becomes a movie, I could be a bit mopey, but for now, it’s not even an issue! Certainly didn’t phase theĀ authorĀ when I told him.

Long story short? There’s a lot of ways around the issues, but there will always be issues. The four listed here aren’t even the entire roadblock.

See? There’s another one, writer’s block. Hmm…how does one get over writer’s block? Subscribe and you might find out at a later date!

What Is Writing?

Historically, writing is the mixture of letters found in the alphabet and punctuation symbols to form legible thoughts. There are several types of writing styles available depending on the equipment you have. You could use a pen and paper, a chalkboard and chalk, markers and dry erase boards or even type on a computer (if you want to get technical with it).

Writing clearly is a basic essential function of human communication, and requires a knowledge of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure. A plethora of vocabulary is also very useful when crafting a visual piece of conversation.

Whether you’re writing for business purposes, essays for school, articles, blogs, or adding your next novel, you are writing using the same process. There are different approaches for the different types, but writing is always the same.

Check back with me later and we can talk about a few of them!

Spring Cleaning For Your Website

Spring is approaching, slowly for some of us, but it’s on its way none the less. Time to bust out the carpet steamers, power washers, and wash the windows. But hey, quick question. How does your website look? Just think about that while you’re ridding the spider webs from the corners in your ceilings. That’s just from one or two seasons right? How many seasons has your website been through?

First thing you should do, is look at your website storage to see how much you might NEED to sweep under the rug. If you have a lot of space left, you might not need to delete too much. But if you have an olde….more experienced site, you may have less space to post new ideas. This is when you decide if it’s time to upgrade that storage or delete a bunch of things.

Personally, when I ran a quick content audit on my website after nearly a year of being MIA, I removed 6 posts. Now how does one decide what needs to be “cleaned”? I put together a few ideas of my own for just my site.

Your website looks great now! How’s social media? Anything that links back to what you deleted? Or references something out of date? Did you change your logo? Your color theme? It’s easy to lose track of what is where and what may need to be updated. This process could take a while. It’s like a content audit really. But at least this one isn’t looking at the mechanics. Just looking at to keep or not to keep.

Got questions? Leave them in the comments below!

What is Skyscraper Content?

In Google’s webmaster guidelines, it is stated that links should be earned as the result of a grounded link building strategy. In order to “earn” your popular links, you need to make sure there is value in the work the link leads to. You need better content than your competitors, something in demand because your readers love it.

Skyscraper content comes from a strategy technique rather than just a topic. It helps you get those high ranking link placements by using insight from other high ranking content.

Step 1: Find existing content that you can make better. If there’s room for improvement, there’s room for you.

Finding popular content to make a skyscraper opportunity from can be done through keyword research, or browsing the competition. In my research, I found that a lot of people use tools like Site Explorer to do the research for them. From the results you get, you can decide which of the sites has the best content. Site Explorer has a tab to help you with this called “Best by links”. This will pull the sites with the most link authority, aiming for anything with more than 50 other sites linking back to it.

Content Explorer will help you zero in on the most mentioned keywords and phrases in your niche. It will help you search the internet for sites with lots of back links, and even gives you the filters to help you find the BEST references. (Set your “referring domains” filter to 50).

Step 2: Now that you found the content you can make better, make it better.

If you found something that has a lot of authority and knowledge to share, ask yourself if you can actually make it better. Or is this your goal? There are four key ideas to look at when you’re trying to decide if you can elevate a piece.

  • Length – Did you find a top 10 list? Cool, make it 20!
  • Up to date – How old is the article you found? Are there newer studies? Newer statistics? Is the picture showing an author with an afro and a jumpsuit? Update everything! Make sure everything you have is within 2 years of your current date. This way you stay relevant for a while longer.
  • Visual – How is the design? People say you eat with your eyes. Guess what else you do with your eyes, you read. Can you read the page well? Do the colors not match? Make sure your updated epic version is easy on the eyes.
  • Authority – If I can name 5 ways to fill out your character profile with a paragraph to detail every way, and you say I can do it in 10 ways!; I better get more than a sentence for each. Make sure you’re showing your authority and knowhow, not just getting in a size battle.

Step 3: You have knowledge, share it.

This will take a little sweet talking, but if you can swing it, it’ll be worth it. Instead of sending your piece to family and friends to share on social media, reverse the search and talk to the sites that referenced the article. If I used a guide to self publishing article from four years ago, and you found a better way to do it with more recent tools, don’t you think I should link to YOUR article?

The idea here is that you would use that Site Explorer from earlier, and search the link to the article you found. You’ll get a list of people that linked that article on their page, that maybe should link to yours instead. Reach out to them, let them know you have updated information for their post and see if they’ll send some traffic your way. Remember to point out that all it takes for them, will be updating a hyperlink in their post.

Long article short, if you find something you can make better, make sure you’re really making it better. Don’t outdo the numbers just for kicks and giggles, really aim for your value here. This is your brand. This is your business. 20% cooler is an improvement. Don’t aim for 50% better if you can’t deliver the support to back it up.

What is Cornerstone Content?

A cornerstone in masonry is the first stone set during construction. It is the initial foundation of the rest of the building, and what the rest of the stones rely on.

Cornerstone content is the foundation for the rest of your content. This is the core of your website, and consists of the best and most important articles on your site. This is often the pages or posts that rank highest in the search engines. The purpose isn’t to content dump in your field and overload your readers, but to define your brand and become an authority. The length of an article shouldn’t be dragged out for no reason, and it is especially true for cornerstone pieces. The function should be the focus so you can build your voice off of it.

Follow the steps below to help your cornerstone content stand strong.

  1. Optimize for your readers.
    • Make sure your keywords are optimized. This will get your readers to you.
    • Answer the questions your readers will have. If your page is about your book, give them the information on your target audience, book length, genre, and the blurb.
  2. Don’t content dump your market.
    • You want to be an authority, not a know it all. Don’t overdo it, aim for 3-5 solid pieces that you can spin off of.
    • It’s easy to run away with your topics, so make sure you’re only adding the important pieces.
  3. Organize your site navigation.
    • Internal links to your supporting content cut down on tangents, and you should use them. But again, don’t overdo it. If your articles are 50% internal links, you need to edit some things.
    • Make sure your site navigation is functional and simple for your audience. If you have to click here to click there and find the subheading, that’s too much. You’ll lose your audience.
  4. Do your research.
    • Know your market, and what is popular. Find out what people are searching in your niche, what are the most frequently searched terms? Use them!
    • Break your market down into the main topics and the subcategories that naturally come up. This is how you plan your content.
  5. Map your support.
    • Your main topics should be your cornerstone content. This should cover the general idea briefly.
    • The depth of your knowledge should come in the form of your support. If your page has “Publishing”, your posts on the page should be “Traditional”, “Self Publishing”, and anything that you need to do at this stage of your novel.

There are many different perspectives on cornerstone or “evergreen” content, but once you understand what it is used for, and what it is made of, you’re on a good path. Your priority? Your audience. How do they find you? Can they trust your content? Is it easy to find and navigate? Your cornerstone content is the pillar of your website, and should stand on the supporting information you create.

Any questions? Leave a comment below!

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