I’ve been writing for the web for about two years and have had many ups and downs. I remember how ecstatic I was when one of my favorite musicians endorsed my article and then I also remember when I spent a solid 3 hours rewriting the same first paragraph because I felt that everything I wrote was complete rubbish. Writing for the web can be emotionally exhausting, but it can also be deeply rewarding. While I still feel that most the time I have no clue what I’m doing, I’ve also grown a ton. Here are the four most important lessons I’ve learned from my own experiences writing.
1. You need to enjoy writing
I tend to get burnt out easily if I don’t enjoy the work. Luckily I love to write. I enjoy writing down and sharing my thoughts with others — like I’m doing right now! But writing for the web can be incredibly demanding. It takes a lot of time and commitment. If you’re more enthralled with the idea of having your words on the internet than actually writing those words then there’s a good chance you won’t stick with it. You have to write with real conviction and real often. Things move fast on the internet so if you don’t write that article, then someone else will, which brings me to my next point.
2. You need to be alert
You won’t have much to write about if you don’t know what’s going on in the world. It’s a no-brainer that people rather read about things as they’re happening than a month later. You need to be involved. I keep a close eye on Google News, Twitter, and YouTube so I have new and exciting topics to write about.
3. You need to differentiate yourself
Obviously I get my news from other people, that’s how most of us get our news — unless by some happy accident you’re there when news is happening — so someone’s already told the story you want to tell. When I write about art history I’m met with the unique challenge of talking about stuff that isn’t current and has already been extensively written about, which is why it’s so important for me to find my own voice. One way I do this is too be well researched. I try to add interesting facts that the reader hasn’t already heard a dozen times. But facts aren’t enough, I also stay honest and genuine and I try to take my own advice from the next paragraph…
4. You need to not be so hard on yourself
I am my own worst critic, we all our. I took a break from posting because I felt like my articles were inadequate compared to everyone else’s and that I had nothing new to add. Maybe you’ve also felt this way but it’s not true. We are all unique with unique voices. Often I’ll read articles because I like the writer’s style. It’s all about how you say things. People who are like you will gravitate to your words. You don’t have to be a leading expert or an English scholar — while they can write articles chalked full of information those don’t always make for the most interesting reads. If you’re relatable then that’s half the battle won.
The most important part is to just write. Allow yourself to make mistakes or to write gibberish just to get in the habit. I had to learn most lessons the hard way, but hopefully my experiences can aid you in your writings or inspire you to start, or to keep, writing because it’s worth it. Trust me.