Where Should Your Focus As A Writer Be?


It is usually considered impolite to ask a man/woman how many people they have slept with or serviced on the first date. Most  of the time you aren’t really supposed to ask them how much they earn or how much they paid for their house either.

Nor is it considered polite to answer 10 inches flaccid, especially when your goal is to impress people with your wit and not your sarcasm.

Yet I find myself entering into the blogging equivalent of these discussions on a regular basis, except those are always tied into “how many readers do you have, how many pageviews do you get and how much do you earn from blogging?”

Those Are The Wrong Questions

It would be a lie to say I am never curious about how others are doing but I avoid those questions because they aren’t where I want to focus my time and it is not because I am ready to move beyond.

My focus should be on becoming a better writer. My focus should be on taking the fragments you see here and weave them together into one long story or make many stories out of them.

My focus should be to look at the my most popular posts (some highlighted below) and write more that are similar.

 Blogging Is Both Collective & Individual

There is no single path to success here. There is no one way to do it or get it right. When I look at the eight posts above I see very successful posts about social media/business, love, humor and parenting.

That reads to me as proof that good communication/storytelling skills are often more important than topic. You can pick something that is timely, relevant and universally interesting but if you can’t express your thoughts in a clear and compelling manner it doesn’t matter what you are writing about.

Where should your focus as a writer be?

Based on experience and what my stats show I come back to working on your skills as a storyteller with a goal of becoming better. You’ll note I didn’t say anything about becoming a master or expert wordsmith because writing is subjective and that sort of title chasing takes your eye off of the ball.

The bloggers who receive the most traffic and notoriety are not always the best or most accomplished writers.  Sometimes they are just the best marketers.

Your ability as a writer is what will distinguish you from the marketers and help you retain your readers.

Voice Is Subjective Too

We often hear/read posts about a writer’s voice and talk about finding our own. The most important lesson I ever learned about voice was not to worry about whether people will like my writing or not and to just let the words flow from my finger tips.

Some people love my writing, some hate it and some are ambivalent.

Many have criticized and complimented my style. Some tell me they love innuendo and some hate it. Some have said their favorite posts are where I have bared my soul and others have said they despise it.

There was a time when some of my posts were being stolen and used by others. When I asked them to stop they ignored me so I took a different tack.

I wrote some very graphic posts in which I made the swearing sailor look like an altar boy and then I described several sexual acts in graphic detail.

By the third day of writing about the best blow job I ever received the theft stopped and when the dust cleared most of my readers were still with me.

Some had left because they didn’t like it and others joined because they enjoyed it.

But the keystone in the arch was always about the storytelling and it still is now.

Where Should Your Focus As A Writer Be?

It is a personal question and one that can be split into multiple parts because you could talk about the business side here too and delve into how to become a better marketer.

But that is not my focus for this post.

Today it is about becoming a better writer because storytelling is the heart of the whole operation. We can worry about how to make sure our words are read another day.

What do you think?

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  1. Kristen March 13, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I know this word gets thrown out a lot lately, but for me it’s all about authenticity. If I write from the heart – whether that’s a story about my kids, a profile of a book I like or an author I’d admire, or a rant about something that’s driving me crazy – I can feel good about it if I write it from the heart. I know I’m in trouble when I start hearing other writers’ voices creep into my own. That’s a recipe for disaster.

    • Jack March 13, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      I don’t mind you using that word because you don’t just throw words around frivolously. I don’t come to your blog and see epic or amazing used unless it is truly appropriate and for that I am grateful.

  2. J. Parrish Lewis March 12, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Amen. For me, I want to not dwell on how much readership I’m getting, but focus on the craft of storytelling. I don’t even call my website a blog most of the time, even though most of the posts are blogs. I’m trying to keep it open for anything I might be inspired to write.

    Excellent post and thought-provoking!

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