Being a serial writer is a demanding and mysterious craft.
To succeed, you must constantly ooze creativity and new ideas – all while learning new tricks to keep up with the competition.
The effort it takes is sometimes more frightening than thrilling, unless you’re willing to face your fears and challenges head-on.
Here are seven writing mistakes that can kill your blog. Have you committed one?
1. Lust: Wanting it all, way too soon.
It’s easy to lust over the success of others who have put in the time and dedication to get to influencer status.
The checklist of potential blogger goals is a big one: get tons of followers; create a well-designed site; brand partnerships for days.
But results don’t come overnight. Having patience with your blog is a virtue that can have big payoffs. Create a goals timeline or an official action plan to treat your blog with the care, attention, and time it needs to flourish.
2. Gluttony: Being excessive with your thirst for words.
Some writers are gluttonous with their word use — whether taking the long road to get to the point or having a too-healthy relationship with their thesaurus.
I’ve struggled with writing in circles. Now, it’s a fun game for me to see how clearly and succinctly I can make my point.
Make self-editing a priority on your list of to-dos, and ask yourself these three questions:
- Am I writing in a way that most people (read: average Joe) can understand?
- Am I using too many toxic filler words? (e.g. “due to the fact” vs. “because”)
- How many sentences can I break into two, or even three, separate thoughts?
The answers will help you put unnecessary verbiage on the chopping block, so you can craft powerful sentences.
If you’re running a one-person blog and maybe don’t have someone to help you edit, try downloading a tool like Grammarly to proof your blog posts for readability, in addition to grammar and punctuation.
3. Pride: Focusing too much on you, when there’s a lot more territory to cover.
One of the keys to blogging success is connecting with readers. You want to show your authentic self and share your personal experiences — it’s critical to building trust.
But even though readers are coming to hear from you, don’t make it all about you. Just like in life, an excess of pride can drive people away.
Share what you know, while diversifying your writing for your audience. Forge ahead on new topics outside your experience bubble and take time to also share the stories and expertise of others.
4. Sloth: Being too slow to publish.
Creating loyal readership takes hard work. One of the best ways to get there is consistency.
If you’re a sloth at the editorial calendar, you can expect readership to stay down. Craft a realistic publishing schedule to set expectations with your readers – whether it’s every couple of days or once every two weeks.
Think of yourself as your reader’s favorite magazine. What would happen if they went to the newsstand only to keep finding last month’s issue?
If readers need to check up on your blog too often, they are likely to jump to another source. Wouldn’t you?
5. Envy: Trying too hard to be like someone else.
There are so many bloggers out there trying to be the best at the same exact thing, and on all the same platforms. True originality is hard to come by.
If you look too much like the next blog — or, worse, are stealing from them — you will feel the consequences of your envy.
Your own special brand of blogging is what will spark reader interest in you. Don’t risk your audience because you’re afraid to be yourself and try new things.
6. Greed: Caring more about personal gains than your audience.
Greed can get the best of us — especially when we’re winning.
When you start to reap the benefits of your good work, it’s easy to forget what got you there.
Take your audience into account when making decisions that spur your personal growth, like embarking on new partnerships or monetizing your blog. Ask yourself: Does this decision align with your audience goals? Is this what my readers would want from me?
Remember, your relationship with your audience is the backbone of your success.
7. Wrath: Wanting to win so bad, you get ruthless in your endeavors.
When you’re hungry for success, passion sometimes can turn into wrath of the angry blogger.
Writers are only as good as their tribes, so be careful about making enemies or starting wars. All it takes is one person with a tight and influential circle to destroy your credibility.
Mad about something? Channel that anger into awesome ideas. The best way to win is to do better.
(This post was originally published in October 2017. It has been updated for freshness.)
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Anna Jasinski is the former senior manager of audience relations at PR Newswire and a former magazine journalist. Follow her on Twitter at @annamjasinski.