How I Succeed With Online Writing

It has more to do with how you think than what you write

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

A little while ago, I had a chat with the founder of an online writer’s academy I attend. We talked about writing goals. Specifically, how to succeed with your one-month writing goals.

My first goal was to finish a chapter of my junior fiction novel I was writing with my son. I achieved that goal by the end of the month.

My second goal was to succeed in online writing. So, how did that go?

I have to shuffle back in time to answer that question.

When I first started publishing online in 2019, it was to improve my writing skills. I’ve always loved writing, but everything I’d ever written was for myself. It was the first time I was sharing my writing with the world. I was both terrified and ecstatic.

A few days after I published my first article, it was picked up and distributed by a fairly large online publication. I was over the moon and had a hunger for more.

I started reading how regular people like myself were making a lot of money writing online. They wrote about their lives, about current events, about anything really.

It looked so simple, but I figured I’d already taken a huge step by publishing my first online article, so why not give this whole making-a-fortune-out-of-blog-writing thing a go?

Money started to trickle into my bank account. It seemed too easy. I was hooked. I published as often as I could, which wasn’t often enough. The regular people who were making ten times as much money as I were publishing two or three articles a day. I was lucky to publish one article a week!

I was failing big time.

I had my reasons. I was too busy taking care of my three young kids. I was run off my feet running a business at home. I was still writing that junior fiction novel with my son. I didn’t have the time, energy or motivation to write online regularly.

“So, writing online is more like your hobby?” my writer’s academy founder asked me during our recent discussion.

It was an a-ha moment for me. I’d never thought about my writing that way. I’d always berated myself for not writing enough. I wasn’t publishing nearly enough articles like the successful writers. I wasn’t making enough money because I wasn’t writing enough. It was a hopeless circle of not doing enough.

The feeling of not being good enough has haunted me throughout my life. Not doing as well as I could as a high school student in my exams (because exams literally make me want to vomit). Not being a good enough mother to my three young sons. Not being a good enough writer.

I’d missed the online writing boat and I was flailing to catch up to those super successful writers.

But now my writing goals were put into a different perspective for me.

What if I writing wasn’t a full-time, exhausting job that I could never actually achieve? What if I saw writing as my hobby?

Was I good enough now? Or successful enough?

You define your own success

Shifting my perspective of my writing goals has changed the way I define my own success. I now see my writing as good enough, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have challenges every day.

I am my toughest critic. As a self-confessed perfectionist, I’ve always been concerned with what everyone else thinks about my writing.

Now I have a chance to value my own thoughts about my writing. I don’t know why it took someone else to point that out to me, but I’m grateful for it.

Why do I always put everyone else first?

I think I’m not good enough.

Why do I feel the constant need to compare my success with others who may have a completely different agenda to me?

Because I believe I’m not successful enough.

It’s a work in progress

I’d be lying if I said I don’t care what anyone else thinks about my writing. Because I do care.

However, my writing is something I am proud of, and I can say that with a sigh of happiness.

I’ve found the secret to my own writing success, as strange as that sounds.

I’m still working on keeping my writing goals realistic. Sometimes it’s easy to see someone else’s success and feel inadequate. But when you are able to achieve your own goals and feel good about that, then everyone else’s success shouldn’t matter.

I regularly revisit my writing goals. Not to lament on how much I haven’t achieved. But to think about the reality of those goals.

I had a writing goal for many, many years that I was never able to achieve. Not because I didn’t want to, but because it was an unrealistic goal.

Did I feel good about myself when each year went by and I was still stuck in the same place? Of course not! I thought it was a place of failure.

Now that I’ve shifted the way I think about my writing goals, I can have my own slice of writing success.

Even if that means celebrating publishing two articles in a week instead of one. Because that’s my own version of success.

And for now, I really don’t need anything more.

Aussie mama of 3 sons. Lover of tea. Planner geek with a cereal obsession. Say G’day: lana@lanagraham.com.au

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