If you’re a writer, avoid these mistakes at all costs!
I recently read a story on Harvard Business Review that shocked me. It said there’s no middle class in the creator economy.
So if you are a creator, it’s highly probable that you’ll either be super rich, making tens of thousands of dollars every month, or you’ll be so poor that you’ll barely be able to make ends meet.
The lack of a middle ground is saddening. But if you know this information and if you have the right skills, then you can bring yourself from being a broke writer to being a super-rich writer.
I’m a full-time writer for over 2 years. I’ve been writing online since 2014, and in this post, I’ll analyze my worst writing mistakes and share everything I’ve learned in 9 years of online writing.
Ready to get started? Let’s dive right in.
Before we start, if you’d like to watch a more candid version of this in video format, here’s a link:
Mistake 1: Writing Without a Clear End Goal
I began my writing journey on Quora back when I was in college. I just kept writing random answers without having any end goal in mind. It might not sound very harmful, but let me tell you a story.
Back in 2014, there were many writers who were starting out on Quora. Todaym some of them are millionaire writers. The reasone they succeeded were:
- They were consistent with their efforts,
- They had a clear vision of where they wanted to be.
Some compiled their popular answers into books. Others compiled their popular answers into longer articles they republished on other websites like Entrepreneur, Inc., Medium, etc. This helped them build up on the audience they had on Quora. It propelled them to bigger heights.
Whereas, on the other hand, I did nothing with my audience on Quora. Even today, I have 58k followers on the platform, but it doesn’t serve me in any way. If I’d been more intentional with my writing back in 2014, I might have been in a different place right now.
Mistake 2: Chasing Trends Without Strategy
As a writer, it might be tempting for you to pick whatever new trend is in the market and start writing about it. This “trend-jacking” might also backfire.
I’ll give you an example of a writer friend I know. They started talking about NFTs and Web 3 when it became a huge rage in 2022. They shifted their whole focus to talking about Web 3 and NFTs. But in 2023, when AI came to the market, everybody forgot about Web 3. NFTs became a thing of yesterday. This writer, suddenly, had no niche. They had to struggle again to start from scratch.
If you keep jumping from niche to niche and one trend to the next, you lose credibility with your audience. You’d have to struggle harder to establish thought leadership. Don’t let that happen to you.
Instead, pick a niche, something that you truly are passionate about, and stick with it. Your audience will know what to expect from you, and they’ll become your loyal followers.
Mistake 3: Neglecting the Long-term Impact of Words
When I was starting out, I didn’t consider the kind of long-term impact my words might have on my career. There was a time when I used to write a lot about politics and share polarizing, controversial opinions.
The issue with this is my niche is self-improvement in general. It’s not politics, religion, or love and relationships. So, if I pick very polarizing topics or controversial opinions, I run the risk of polarizing my audience. I don’t want that to happen.
Sharing controversial opinions that aren’t related to your niche can lead to serious backlash. For me, it led to rape and death threats from strangers on the internet.
I don’t regret having opinions, but I regret sharing them on a public platform. When you’re a public figure, you’ve to be super careful about what you write. And that’s why it’s important to pick a niche and stick to it.
My Medium Day talk was on a similar topic: How to share personal stories without being too open or vulnerable. You can watch it here.
Mistake 4: Failing to Establish Expertise
At the start of my writing career, I didn’t think of establishing myself as a subject matter expert on any particular topic.
When I began writing on Quora, I picked whatever topic I wanted to write. My answers were a mixed bag on varied topics like life in an engineering college, life as a woman, relationships, dating, having friends and making mistakes, etc.
There was no broad umbrella that could cover my answers. This hampered me in a way that if a client had to approach me for writing for them, there was no particular niche I was an expert in. I might have lost out on many potential freelance clients back in my Quora days.
Right now, I’m not making the same mistake ever again. I’m particular about what topics I write about, and I stick to my niche so that I can establish thought leadership in my niche of choice.
Mistake 5: Overlooking the Needs of High-ticket Audiences
The costliest writing mistake I made at the start of my career was not putting myself in the shoes of a high-ticket audience.
As a writer, a high-ticket audience could be either:
- Someone who can pay you well for your writing,
- People who want to purchase products from you,
- People who want to purchase your books, or
- People who want to hire you to write for them.
If you have a clear idea of who your target audience is, you can better write articles that help them and make them want to work with you.
For this, you need to have proper vision and clarity of thought regarding who your target audience is, what their pain points are, and how you can solve their problems.
If you’re aware of this information, you can serve your target audience better. You can write your articles in such a way that makes them want to send you a message and start working together.
Mistakes That Almost Ruined My Writing Career: Final Words
Summing up, here are the five mistakes that stopped me from reaching the levels of success I could have. If you’re a new writer, keep them in mind and avoid them at all costs:
- I wrote without a clear goal or purpose in mind
- I chased trends without a proper strategy
- I shared too much personal information in the name of being vulnerable and authentic
- I didn’t establish myself as a subject matter expert
- I didn’t put myself in the shoes of high-ticket audiences.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the same. Did you resonate with my words? Did you make a similar mistake? Please let me know in the comments.
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