- Sunday, July 21, 2019

Start Writing without a huge blog

Do you want to write without having to do all the work of a website? Here are some tips to help you get started... 

Start writing now without a huge blog featuring an old typewriter with a bottle of alcohol and some dahlias all in pink.

Running a blog is a lot of work and can easily become a full-time job. In essence, you are creating a website, so you end up needing to learn (or hire out) Wordpress, CSS, HTML, Graphic Design, UX / UI, Photography, etc. Most bloggers spend about 24 to 30 hours a week (sometimes in a power weekend) AFTER they already have their site up with things like writing content, visual strategy, social media strategy, etc. 

That's a lot to do in addition to writing. 

If you want to be a career writer, without the hassle of a wordpress site or blog, here's my recommended process to get started.

All text: 1 pick your genre, 2 write for free, 3 pitch, pitch and pitch.

Step 1: Pick your Genre / Niche

The first question you should probably ask yourself if you don't already have an answer for it is WHAT do you want to write about? 

Most writers end up writing about almost everything, and if you are good at research, that's very likely going to happen. But most writers also have specialties they excel at. For instance, the guy who published 5 books of poetry may have a small collection of plays and short stories. A guy who publishes biographies may also be a journalist or possibly a poet. 

Picking your genre or niche is really about what you want to be known for as opposed to being what you know. 

The idea is >> Stephen King, all his novels are similar. JK Rowling, same deal. So this would be more establishing oneself as a Career Writer, as opposed to blogging. 

Life kind of writes itself, so there's a good chance you will be succeeding at something very different than your mindset here in the future, but we still make goals just to have a target. 

Reasons you should ask yourself this question:

  • You need to know what to write your first piece about, and where you want to publish it
  • People are digging the niches
  • It helps you brand yourself, which will later make it easier to design your own site when ready for it
  • It helps decide what to share on your social media or any place you hope to collect followers / fans

I write about everything. I have no idea what I want to write about 10 years from now. It wasn't until recently did I notice most of the things I've published are humor mom. But the book I wanted to publish wasn't about being a humor mom. It's more mental health, mindfulness, spiritual thing, which is something moms want. Now I have this Facebook page called Michelle Grewe, Writer. It has no niche. It has no focus. 

In contrast, one of my friends writes about fantasy romance with witches and dragons, and her Facebook page is all stars, black and red, it looks like a book of spells. You don't need words to describe what she writes about when you visit her Facebook page, you see it in the feels of her posts and design. But she does use words that match it talking about her fiction novels. So all of her readers are in to her book's topic. And all of her readers share enough commonalities that she knows her audience well. People searching for spells, and dragons, find her. People who like Harry Potter, Tarot Cards, and Paranormal often see her page as a suggested page by Facebook. 

Having a niche really makes a difference in your overall strategy and function. 

There are many ways to categorize writing, but for the most part, you want to 

  • Know where you would find yourself in the book store
  • Know what dewey decimal your future books might have
  • Know what persona you should aim for: Are you the nonfiction expert of a certain field? Or a fictional character? 
  • Know your overall goals (do you want to write a book? Or just get paid to write articles?)
  • If you plan to be published online, you would do great to know what Pinterest and Facebook categories you belong in that are not a "miscellaneous" type category. 

Step 2: Write for Free

Basically, you want to find a place to build your portfolio. A place that will publish your work, and let you link to it in the future. A place that's like a blog.

The idea here is to "get published" without having to be approved so that you can show a writing history. You can do this with a full-on blog, but you can also accomplish this in other places on the internet. 

There are many great websites that also act as a blog without requiring all the hassle of creating an entire website.
Here's a list of websites to check out in regards to this...

I stipulate that this is the free one because there's 2 kinds of wordpress, but here you can create a blog for free, but you are very limited to design. It's a great place to get your written content on the internet for people's reading pleasure.

This one is very limited on design for beginners, and really only one of the free templates that comes with it looks decent (Notable is the name of the template), but it's a great place to just write. 

When you go to your Linked In feed to write a post, you have the option to write an article. You can put images and what not in it. Then you post. People can also react and/or leave a comment. Keep in mind Linked In is a professional / job hunting / career vibe, so you can almost find publishing contacts and add them to your connections. 

$6 / month
Write and Publish. That's it. All posts are simple black text on white background. 

Just write. 

Free to ???
Sign up for free, but wait 2 weeks to get approved, or pay to bypass the wait. But in the end, you get a place to publish articles. 

$1 + / month
Depending on what plan you want to go with, this platform offers two ways to blog. I suggest checking out all 3 links above because it's somewhat confusing. 

You just simply write and post and then use telegram to help manage things. 

Similar to and works with Write Freely, you find or create an instance and write. 


Be careful as some of these become owners of your content, and some let you own your content. 

If you want more control over the design, or to have your own domain such as yourname.com, then you want your own blog. Check out Start a Blog

As I write this article, the trending thing is Podcasts (with video always being popular). With that said, if you have a great "reading voice," you may consider writing on your own computer and then publishing via a regular podcast, preferably one people can listen to while driving. 

Step 3: Pitch and Pitch and Pitch

Once you get some articles up, share everywhere you can to bring some traffic and visibility to it. Then at some point when you're ready, pick your top 3 most popular ones (or your best), and put them in a Writer's Portfolio (mainly, a list of links you can copy and paste). 

Decide where you want to pitch or submit. This is very dependent on your goals and the type of writing you do. Places to get ideas to pitch to...

  • Places where you read about your topic 
  • Google "where to publish articles about _____" or "Parenting Magazines" 
  • Freedom With Writing (I definitely recommend signing up for their email and making sure it goes to your inbox instead of the spam folder)
  • Writer's Market
Then you want to find out how to pitch or submit. 

The easiest way to do that is to find their website, and look for Submissions, Writer's Guidelines, or something like that within the navigation menu or footer (it's usually in the footer). 

If the place you're looking for doesn't have that, then you can google, "Writer's Guidelines for ______" or maybe "How to submit to ________." You may want to do this anyway as many places have secrets in regards to getting published with them. 

The other option too, and it's usually the most recommended option, is to find the editor you want to pitch to, and while you can try to find their email and email directly, you are probably best to find them on their active social media and kind of befriend them for a few months with regular comments and engagement before pitching. 

There are also many articles in regards to drafting a pitch or a coverletter for a submission. I've had the most luck with pitching more so than general submissions. 

Once you pitch, you keep pitching. As often you'd like, but also as often as possible. Plan to get more rejections than acceptances (a LOT more). 

Other Tips to Getting Published

Facebook groups that post paid writing opportunities (such as Binders full of Writing Jobs
Check out freelancing sites for paid writing opportunities (such as Upwork
Check out job boards for remote writing positions (such as indeed
Check out Writer's Digest website (especially for pitch tips)
Follow Influencers in your Niche (they often offer opportunities)

Also pitch based on good ideas more so than your writing ability. 

The easiest time I ever got something published was I found postcards my grandmother wrote something article worthy on in the 1970's during the Vietnam War, and she passed away in 1998. So when I found these, I pitched to an editor of the New York Times about it, she wanted to publish before she even saw what my grandmother wrote. 

If you think about it, editors are really honed in on what people want to read, what's trending, what they have lots of, what they lack, so it's easier to sell them on the idea more so than the skill. Also, I've written a great article before on a topic that wasn't popular, and it just simply didn't get much traffic. The editors want traffic. And traffic doesn't come from great writing. It comes from great headlines. Of course, great writing creates loyal readers. 

The process itself is a learning experience where you kind of learn as you go, find out what works for you... In my experience though, networking is probably one of the greatest factors. You can learn and find opportunities from peers and major influencers / celebrity authors. Find those people on the web. Follow their social media and check out their websites regularly. Take classes that entail meet and greets with classmates. But the important thing is to get your work out there and then show it off to the right people. 

Let Pinterest Know about this article... 

Start writing now without a huge blog featuring an old typewriter with a bottle of alcohol and some dahlias all in pink.