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My Favorite Writing Assignments




Kevin’s recent post about how long a blog post should be reminded me of a pair of writing assignments I was handed when I was in school, both of which changed my perspective on writing forever.

You see, when I was in high school and college, I spent a great deal of time studying journalism and creative writing, my two great passions. I was hoping at the time to get a job for a major newspaper working in their Web division, helping grow and promote online journalism.

It didn’t exactly pan out that way, I came out of college just in time to find the news industry already in steep decline, perhaps already past the turning point. Still, my education taught me a great deal, but on the point of post or story length, there were two lessons, both of which were equally valuable in teaching me about writing and how people read.

The First Assignment

In high school it was common for the teacher to assign mock news articles to the class. The rules were straight forward write a news story on a certain topic and it had to be a certain length, usually 1,000 words. We could pull quotes from other newspapers and sources, but they had to be accurate and up to journalistic standards.

Then one day the teacher told us to take our 1,000 word story and quickly turn it into a 500 word one. Worst of all, we only had 20 minutes to do it in.

But while it sounds stressful it was actually fairly easy. Twenty minutes was plenty of time to get through the story several times over and editing it down was more a matter of removing a few nice, but unnecessary, details and tightening up existing writing. At the end of the time frame, most of us had stories that were less detailed, but still largely the same as the ones we walked in with.

In short, I learned you could take out half the worlds of most stories and remove only a fraction of the information, including almost none of the important details.

I received a similar assignment in a creative writing class two years later. However, this time the process we were working with short stories. We were asked to remove 25% of the words without touching the plot. Once again, it was more than possible and, in general, it made the stories quicker-paced and tighter, while sometimes sacrificing some of the warmth and detail.

From these assignments, I learned that cutting words does not mean cutting a story. If you can tell something in 500 words, there is little reason to use 1,000. However, as I later learned was not always the case.

The Second Assignment

Later on, I switched majors. I wanted to study graphic/Web design and was convinced to change my major to advertising. However, when it came to copywriting, I had walked into a whole new world.

In journalism, brevity is valued highly. Getting information across quickly and accurately is the most important thing. However, in advertising long copy is often more heavily prized. In fact, David Ogilvy, one of advertising’s most respected figures, favored long copy strongly in his ads, even writing ads with more than 10,000 words and still receiving a strong response.

The mentality in the advertising world is that if you have a lot to say, you should say it, if you don’t have much to offer, you shouldn’t feel bad about being brief. Selling candy is different from selling power tools, which in turn is different from selling cars.

It was in that spirit we were asked to design a series of ads, starting with roughly a quarter of a page in a magazine and ranging to a full newspaper page, all using the same visuals. But even if we increased the size of the images we used, which was allowed, we still had to be flexible with the body copy, adding and subtracting from it to fit the different sizes.

Quickly it became obvious that, for this particular product, the ads with less copy were not merely more concise, but were worse ads. We had a lot to say and forcing us to be shorter with our words made us harder-sounding and less friendly.

The journalism style of “get in and get out” didn’t work in advertising. As a result, neither I nor the others I was working with were ever happy with my shorter advertisements and neither was the professor.

Bottom Line

So to get back to Kevin’s question of how long a post should be, I agree with his conclusion, that there is no rule.

I would say that you should take all of the time you need but no longer. In the end, it is more important that you write compelling copy than keep it under X number of words. Ten thousand words can feel like a hundred if your writing is good. On the other hand, 500 words can feel like torture if it isn’t.

Your topic and your writing should determine your length, not some arbitrary rule. If you write well and on topics that interest people, they will read it, no matter how long your posts are. If you write poorly and on topics with no interest, no one will bother, no matter how short you keep it.

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What Is Your Blog Post Publishing Frequency and Why?



From time to time, assess how frequently you publish blog posts. Ask yourself why? Sit. Wait for an honest answer.

I publish 4-5 blog posts daily. Sometimes I publish 6 posts. Why? I share oodles of helpful videos, podcasts and articles but on a deeper level, I intend to get my 124 eBooks in a billion hands or more. Yes; I wrote and self-published 124 bite-sized eBooks. Publishing 6 posts daily allows me to promote 6 different eBooks daily on my blog. I also publish 3 or more guest posts daily to share value and promote my eBooks in more spots. Note; that is 3 or more eBook promotions, in addition to all of my eBooks I promote on social media.

Promoting 124 eBooks daily is no joke. I needed to raise my vibe, practice writing and video and podcasting and get clear on upping my post frequency to drive traffic and business through an approach. I see my blog more as a high volume, blogging news portal, like CNN or Fox News, and less a blog for publishing weekly and leaving it at that. Hey; that is just me, though.

You may be different because all bloggers hold different intents and vibe at different frequencies. Imagine blogging once monthly. Today, you set an intent to publish 5 posts daily between videos, articles and podcasts. Seems foolish, right? Few humans make this quantum leap without putting in years of writing practice and also giving substantial attention and energy to energy management, or, mindset work. Never raise your blog post frequency from energies of fear and delusion; burnout and failure await.

But do bump up frequency if it feels fun, relaxing, prospering and generous to publish more frequently.

On the flip side, pull back on blog post frequency if your current schedule feels heavy, tiring, exhausting and overwhelming.

Only you know how frequently you post and why you post at that clip. You know the honest answer. Be straight with yourself.

Optimal Blog Post Frequency

None exists.

Follow your fun and relaxation.

What feels really good and fun and relaxing, but maybe a bit uncomfortable, to you? Run with it. Daily? Awesome. Weekly? Cool. Twice daily? Great. One post, one day, and 3 posts, the following day? Why not? If readers enjoy your content they read your content, keeping up with what they can keep up with. Trust your gut.

I advise publishing at least weekly in most cases unless you publish a long form post monthly ranking well on Google, genuinely knocking folk’s socks off. Why? People forget you as you vanish from the stream for a month at a time. Blogs are news portals for your niche. News should not be published monthly. Weekly at a minimum works fine for news updates.

Making Money and Frequency

In my eBook:

How to Find Buyers Online

I break down how you find buyers for your business online.

Pondering post frequency, money flows to frequent posters and less frequent posters. Everything money-wise depends on your clarity with receiving money and following your frequency strategy because your energy dictates your income. Feel good, and at peace, and relaxed, about your blog post frequency. Success will find you based on your money energy and life energy, independent of your blog post frequency.

Do the inner work and the outer results expand freely and easily over time.

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Blogging Income Tip: How Do You Feel about Money?



As I promote my eBook:

11 Techniques to Conquer Anxiety

I ponder one massive source of anxiety for most bloggers: money. Most of you grew up with money limiting beliefs. Money does not grow on trees. Money is not easy. Money is hard to get. Money is scarce. If you want money, get used to owning and facing each money fear because blogging full time requires you to work for free, generously, for a while, and no human with money fears works for free. All humans clinging to heavy money fears only work for pay. What is working for pay? Jobs. Working for someone allows you to get paid for every hour you work because being employees guarantees payment, per work, per your contract.

Guess what? Blogging is a different animal. Nobody gets paid to be an individual, business-owning blogger because blogging is a business. Business is about building something to boost skills and exposure to where your streams of income yield cash for you. Complete 180 from being an employee because you need face money fears, release fears, and proceed from a generous energy to gain skills and exposure enough to earn a full time income through your blog.

How do you feel about money? Does money feel scarce to you? Do you fear running out of money? Be honest guys. Being straight with yourself allows you to make money because before you make money through your blog, you need to face, feel and release money fears. Why? You never move into actions required to make money being burdened by the heavy fear of losing money, a yoke that saddles most of humanity.

I have noted how Gary Vaynerchuk did 2000 YouTube interviews before he began to get major media and TV coverage. He worked for free for 2000 interviews because he was not burdened by the terror of losing money, vibing abundance and generosity and trust. Most of humanity is so scared to lose all of their money that they never give one interview for free; these people work jobs to guarantee they get money for what they do work-wise, but sacrifice their fun and freedom in the process. You cannot live your dreams through blogging if you have no vision for the future and you cannot create a vision if you feel weighed down by the fear of money loss. How can you dream big dreams if you secretly feel terrified to lose it all? The fear of losing it all dominates your mind, body and actions so you will just work a job to get money and you will treat your blog casually, because your blog does not yield money, like your job.

Of course, your blog does not yield money because you vibe a poverty consciousness and poverty-vibing folks never do the generous giving – working for free, for a sustained period of time – to position themselves for success, a’la Gary Vee and his 2000 YouTube interviews. I have written and published nearly 1000 posts on Blogging Tips. Nobody paid me directly for writing and publishing these posts but the traffic and links and money I gained indirectly through these nearly 1000 posts helped me live a neat life. I began giving generously the moment I faced my money fears.

Expect to do the same if you want to live your dreams through blogging.


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What Few Bloggers Understand



I live a pretty sexy life. I have circled the globe for the past eight years through blogging. Pretty cool, right?

But my blogging duties are seemingly mundane, not too sexy at all and in moments, quite boring. I genuinely love blogging. I have fun doing what I do. But I am also a human being experiencing a wide range of emotions on an hour to hour basis. Sometimes, I just want to go to sleep for a little bit because I feel tired and a bit bored with the blogging process. But if I intuitively know it is time to write a blog post I just write the blog post. In these moments, blogging feels boring and mundane and plain and not too sexy. But doing the seemingly mundane things in boring moments lays the foundation for living a spectacular dream life through blogging.

Few bloggers understand this basic fact of sometimes boring activities laying the foundation for a spectacular dream life. Most bloggers believe I do exciting, inspired and amazing things all day long to live an amazing life. This is 100% not true and nothing could be further from the fact. Blogging is fun for me most of the time but sometimes blogging feels boring. Even when blogging feels fun I am not doing anything earth-shattering or jaw-dropping anytime I write and publish blog posts and comment on blogs and promote one or all of my 100 plus ebooks. Does tapping a retweet button and sharing one of my eBooks on Twitter seem earth-shattering? Nope. Simple. East too. But few bloggers understand simple blogging activities lead to great blogging success.

Most bloggers believe you live your dreams through blogging by trying to knock the ball out of the park with viral blog posts and partnerships with the top bloggers on earth. Nope. You live your dreams by simply publishing helpful content, building friendships with top bloggers by being generous and asking for nothing, and by opening multiple streams of income from an abundant, trusting energy. Each of those steps is simple to put into action but sometimes taking each of those steps feel scary or highly uncomfortable. Nudge through the fear. Take the step. Simple, generous actions eventually lead to spectacular results because all meaningful blogging ventures begin with simple, generous actions. Do not believe top bloggers hit home runs everyday. We hit singles again and again and again and again for 10000 to 20000 hours until all those singles add up to something dazzling over the long haul.

Think in terms of tiny impressions made multiple times daily. I could have tried to write a viral guest post on this blog 3 years ago when I first published posts here. But I just chose to do a solid job writing a simple post some 900 times. Now I have written and published 900 + guest posts on this blog which means on a single blog alone I have 900 links or more, based on the ebooks of mine I link to as well. 900 + links leads up to something pretty sexy and spectacular but it was the simple, generous actions I took daily over 3 years of my life that led to the stunning long-term success. Blogging is doing simple things generously for hours daily for years of your life to build something special and meaningful.

Never believe that top bloggers hit home runs every day for a few weeks before they made it big. Anybody who makes it big does seemingly little things with love and generosity every single day over the course of years of their lives. Imagine 10000 to 20000 hours of doing simple things and you get an idea of what it takes to live a spectacular dream life through the medium of blogging.


Do you want to make money blogging?

Buy my eBook:

How to Build a Profitable Blog from the Inside Out

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