Have you seen how much advice there is out there for writers developing a platform? So much that if we read all the blogs and books that tell us what to do we wouldn’t have the time to write a single word.
A few years ago you would have seen me with my head in many of them. I believed there was sure fire way to make me stand out from the rest and I simply hadn’t figured it out yet.
Nowadays I’m choosy about the advice I take. You should be too. Because if you listen to many of today’s gurus, they’ll tell you your voice has to be a whole lot louder than all the rest.
And that’s baloney.
There are a lot of writers out there, and thousands of blogs. In fact it can be quite scary to look at the competition, so I try not to do that too much. But I do know this: while the most successful people may have followed a set of turnkey rules, success as a writer doesn’t come from following the crowd, or all the rules, it comes from being true to who you are, and practicing your craft.
Steve Jobs faced a lot of competition on his way to the top. He broke most of the rules and did things his way. But one thing he never did was stray away from his brand. He remained consistent in his message and his method.
As a writer you are your own brand.
That’s what makes you unique. You don’t have to find the “secret”, as many will have you believe; you simply have to work on putting your passion and your talent into being uniquely you.
People see through an inauthentic brand immediately. If you try to be something you’re not by following advice that doesn’t resonate with you, your brand simply won’t add up. One day you’ll say something that is in sync with your voice and on point with your mission; the next you’ll come out with something completely off topic. People will notice. And when they notice they won’t trust you.
Trust is the biggest thing you can do to make people love you and your writing. (Tweet This)
There’s only one you in the world. No one else can play the role as well as you can, so why bother trying to be like the rest? Worst still, why bother trying to be something you’re not so you can be louder than the rest? This is what often happens when we try to do things someone else’s way, without consideration for whether it fits in with who we are.
You don’t need to shout louder than anybody; you just need to find the people who love your voice and your writing. It’s all about knowing, and then finding, your tribe.
If someone loves your work that’s a good sign.
Okay, if it’s your mother, you may need to find an additional fan, but the good news is, if one person loves your work others will too. There are more than seven billion people on this earth, each with his or her own quirks and interests. Believe me, if you have one fan, there are several thousand out there just waiting to discover your work.
Not louder, smarter.
Following the secret rules (which really aren’t secret) to success may give you a boost, but if everyone else is following the same rules, it still doesn’t really give you a leg up.
There are no secrets, no short cuts and no hacks. Sure there’s some good advice out there, but hard work and being true to your brand and writing voice are the only things that will build your audience and readership in the end. You have to be willing to go the long haul and not give up.
And you have to work smart. Instead of following the crowd consider what makes the real authentic you unique. Try something new that reflects who you are. Break all the rules.
Get comfortable with putting your work in front of people. (Tweet This)
If you don’t put your work out there, how will that slice of 7 billion people that is yours ever find you? Being comfortable with sharing your work, reading it when you have the opportunity, and finding a way of getting it in front of people that works for you, is essential.
There’s enough room for everyone.
Thanks to technology we have become very aware of all the competition in the writing field. But competition has always been there, and technology has actually made things easier rather than more challenging. If someone wants to publish their work, they can. Ten years ago—no way.
There isn’t a restriction on the number of spots available for successful writers; there’s room for all of us. We all have something to say that a certain group of people needs to hear—no one else can fill that spot.
So rather than trying to be louder than the rest, quit following every piece of advice out there and concentrate on building your brand. Spend the time you would have spent on courses that promise to make you six figures in a year on writing more.
After all, it’s that 10,000 hours you spend working on your craft that will make you an expert in your genre or blogosphere, not the hundreds of hours you put into being louder than everybody else.
Do you often feel pressure to be louder than the rest? Share in the comments.