Today, my new book What Is Your WHAT? Discover The ONE Amazing Thing You Were Born To Do hit #9 on the New York Times bestseller list. I am truly honored, but lord knows it didn’t come easy… or quickly. Often, I had thought about discontinuing my writing. After all, podcasts are huge, people love social media, and video is all the rage.
But I quickly came back to my senses and remembered that I love writing. And, the fact remains that writing today is as important has it has ever been and there’s no greater credibility for your brand than having a bestselling book, high traffic blog, or monthly syndicated column. While many may argue for quantity over quality, my position is that you should write when you feel inspired to write. Holding to arbitrary guidelines (e.g. publishing one blog post per week) and putting something forth that reflects your harried state of mind and clear lack of motivation to do so will undoubtedly be reflected in what’s created and cause irreparable damage to your reputation.
That said, there are exceptions to this rule. Should you be fortunate enough to land a book deal, be asked to contribute consistent posts for a high-traffic site, or secure or syndicated column, there will be deadlines that you’ll need to adhere to. This represents the double-edged sword of writing for exposure versus writing to share your thoughts or stories with the world.
Whether one or the other is the right approach is irrelevant and ultimately reflects your position on the process. You may find that writing for the masses is very appealing. On the other hand, you may find that being forced to write makes you want to share myriad four letter words.
For me, writing is cathartic and is largely an exercise I undertake for my own personal benefit and for the one specific person I am trying to educate, entertain, or empower. You read that correctly: ONE person.
Writing reflects an incredibly intimate relationship between you (the author) and one specific person (the reader). When the reader consumes your creations, she is literally inside your head, and you are inside hers… often for hours or days at a time. Therefore, you must write as though you are speaking to her directly. You simply cannot write for the masses. An effective writer understands the needs of her reader and exceeds her expectations.
This is not easy to do and that is why there is a tremendous difference between writing and being a writer. Almost everyone can write… yet almost no one is qualified to be a writer. Writing effectively is an art… and a skill. And, it takes significant practice to get it right. Eventually, your contributions may be able to reach the masses, but this can only happen when you are willing to invest the time necessary to master your craft.
This is not a dialogue of discouragement… quite the contrary. My hope for you is to become a phenomenally successful writer, hit every bestseller list, and sell millions of copies of your works. I do, however, need you to be realistic. As Malcolm Gladwell astutely defined, it may take you 10,000 hours of writing to reach the writing pinnacle. No better time than write now to get started…