I began blogging in 2005 when our family lived in Singapore. Initially, I had no goal beyond, “share goofy stories about life overseas.”
When we returned to the US in 2012, my blog experienced an identity crisis. Weird stuff doesn’t happen much in the U.S., so I was at a loss for content. The transition back was incredibly difficult for me, so I began to write about that instead.
I didn’t write often-mostly just when I was inspired. I had several posts that succeeded along the way, but only about 20 regular subscribers. Somewhere in there, I decided to write a book about transition (write what you know, after all), but I had no idea how to get it published.
I learned I needed to have a book proposal, so I wrote one and sent it off to the only editor I knew, naively certain she would respond positively and be eager to help me.
She was not. She told me I had no social media platform, and gave me some advice on how to revamp my book. This news devastated me, so I didn’t work on my book or blog for several months.
Eventually, I decided I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, and took some steps to up my writing game: I joined a writer’s group, started blogging more regularly, promoted my writing, became more active on social media, made it easier to subscribe to my blog, and wrote a free devotional for a giveaway to subscribers.
You would think all that activity would boost my morale, but instead, I experienced several weeks of massive anxiety. The prospect of putting myself out there, and taking my writing seriously, terrified me. It was ok to fail if only 20 people were reading; what if I disappointed masses? Or worse, what if all my efforts didn’t gain an audience at all?
I’d love to say I have thousands of followers now and every post gets better and better. I will tell you I have a solid audience, and I do have an agent for my book (though not the first agent-she said no to me again later. Ouch).
More importantly, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to establish yourself as a writer. It’s not easy, so here are my top ten tips for finding and keeping your writing mojo:
1. Just write
Stop waiting for permission, or the perfect idea. I cringe at my early blog posts, but that’s how I found my voice and figured out what I wanted to write about.
2. Be confident
No one else can write what you write. Believe that God has something to say through you.
3. Seek inspiration
Be on the lookout for ideas. Read widely. Then make a system to keep track of those ideas (I use my Notes app and the voice recorder on my phone).
4. Be intentional
Beyond just recording ideas, you need a plan for when you will regularly write and post. I’ve found this resource invaluable: Elite Blog Academy
5. Invest in your writing
Establish a platform takes time and money. Pay for your own URL, or to have your website professionally styled. Invest in writing courses. Take time to listen to podcasts or read articles and books on improving your craft.
6. Pace yourself
Don’t let the pressure to produce make you overcommit. Decide what you can do consistently, and do it well.
7. Be bold
This is the part most of us hate-self-promotion. But it’s a noisy world, and we won’t be heard if we don’t put ourselves out there. Choose the social media medium you enjoy and employ it well to share your writing.
8. Don’t go it alone
One of the best decisions I made was to join a writer’s group. They inspire, challenge, encourage and help me move along in my process. But I also have non-writing friends who have no skin in the game-they’re the ones I know will rejoice in my success and cry with me over the rejections.
9. Expect failure and rejection
Failure means you’re trying. Along the way, don’t compare yourself to other writers-that doesn’t help anyone. Dust yourself off and keep going.
10. Stay grounded in truth
Keep going back to why you started writing. Remember that your success or failure in writing does not define your worth.
To read more about how God has helped me find and keep my mojo, check out these posts: