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1. It’s only about you
Your perspective is unique and interesting — but no one likes “I” statements except for your therapist.
Your audience cares about their own problems. They are deeply invested in their own things. You are only reading this for your own benefit.
Even if we take a tremendously popular show that you watch and enjoy. Ultimately, it’s still about you — and the feelings you get from it — even as much as we want to say it’s about art.
You can bring your own lens to a specific niche, and then relate it to someone else.
That doesn’t mean that you should never discuss your products or services — refer to it when it makes sense.
2. You’re not writing enough to fail
If everything you publish is a home run, you’re probably doing it wrong.
That doesn’t mean being reckless.
But sometimes you need to consider topics that may be slightly outside of your normal wheelhouse. If it sinks, then so be it. But trying new things could help you take a new angle on tired topics.
Really, this is a call to adhere to an old cliche: don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.
3. You lack a standard
What bar are you trying to reach?
To outviral your competitors? Be smarter? Be wittier? Those are fine goals; just know what you’re up against.
This argument is more complicated than you may know at first.
The quality vs quantity argument is tired (quantity creates quality!) but the standard is also set.
4. You’re publishing everything you write
It’s important to write and create frequently, but that doesn’t mean everything you write should be published.
The act of writing is thinking.
You need time to work out your ideas.
For things to marinate.
For ideas to bloom.
Sometimes the act of writing just needs to happen without expectation.
5. You need a point of view.
This is hard to navigate. It doesn’t always make sense. You don’t need to be known necessarily for certain topics, but for having a point of view.
However, this will often lead you back to certain topics and niches. See what I mean by it not making sense?
But what you can bring is a point of view from your experiences — a pattern recognition.
In some ways, this is a return to the old days, being a jack of all trades rather than specializing in a certain field.
With so many tools replacing what used to be a specialized service, creating connections is more valuable than it has been in recent years.
6. You are too comfortable.
We’ve all heard of comfort zones. And breaking out of it, of course.
As people, we only learn when we become uncomfortable. Therefore, to express something new, we have to get out of the proverbial comfort zone.
“We only learn when there is uncertainty, and that is a good thing,” said Yale Professor Daeyol Lee, about when the brain is primed for learning.
7. You lack a call to action
If you’re coming from a rigid journalistic background, this may be a bit of a shock — but people actually want to know what to do next.
8. You are not fast enough.
It’s hard to balance all of these priorities.
Point 4 was about writing but not publishing everything. Now, I’m saying you may be too slow.
Which is it?
This takes calibration. But setting regular deadlines (whether a few times a week or weekly) or even writing in sprints, will help you create consistency.
Sprints are great for a bigger, long-term project — like SEO or a book — that isn’t as dictated by immediacy.
Otherwise, set a goal for more medium-form content (such as articles) and then find ways to increase the frequency of the touch points (i.e. social media or an email list) that can drive an audience to your articles.
This is the hard part most people don’t like.
Note which of these items above are most troublesome for you.
Write 1 or 2 action steps to help you overcome them. What habits do you need to change or add to your writing and creating routine? This may take additional research.
Develop a plan. This will be different for each person, right? If you need to expand your growth zone, this will take more reading and research. If you need to publish faster, this may take sacrificing your sense of perfection.
Feel free to comment below.