The Myth of Not Writing Every Day

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When we somehow get the buzz in our heads that we want to be a writer, we are told from day one that we have to write daily, without pause. We are told that we have to finish every project, that’s the only way we’ll learn. We are told we should only read this, and never that. We are told we need to write only high brow for respect or only genre to sell. But is any of it true?

Writing is still the world’s one great mystery. How people manage to write an entire book and sometimes publish it and even more rarely, make money from it. How does it happen? How can I make sure it happens to me? 

The truth is, there’s no one way to write a book or be a successful writer. There’s clearly a silver spoon guided path that absolutely helps but the one great draw to being a novelist is that it isn’t reserved just for the rich. Plenty of middle class people have succeeded too. I say that sarcastically. I don’t know how poor writers could really succeed these days but I would love to hear from you if you have. 

I’ve had some weird moments this past year when people found out I was a successful writer beyond what I do to earn a paycheck. I explained why I stopped writing to a co-worker who then told me she thought I was “hiding out.” That wasn’t the case at all. When you’re hiding out, you know it. Sure I’ve been afraid of a lot of things (success, failure, trying, not trying, offending people, not speaking my mind); we are all afraid. 

Be careful who you listen to, especially when these people handing out “wisdom” don’t even know you. I left freelancing to get a much larger paycheck; and got a damn good job that I’m proud of. It’s nothing to scoff at and it sure as hell isn’t something just anyone could get. 

What her statement taught me is what so much of blogging has taught me: people all around us judge us and impose their views on us without actually being in tune with what we are actually doing or the reasons why we are doing them. 

What she doesn’t know? My time off was filled with research. Gloriously rich research. I watched TV series, movies and read novel after novel. I relaxed. I forgave myself. I fell in love with someone who cheers me on and takes good care of me. I succeeded at a day job that allowed me to write and do social media on a large scale. I produced and wrote an entire publication. I saved a department at work. I learned to love reading again. I picked up a renewed sense of appreciation for grammar and style guides and editors. 

See, our successes are so much more than just whether we published a book or not. Or whether we have fans or not. Or whether we appear on Oprah or not. I have many talented friends who have written fantastic books who aren’t famous. I take pleasure in reading what their minds created and that’s what truly matters. 

Writing is all about telling a story that will stick with the reader. If you aren’t captivating your readers; you’re not doing it right. 

Write to be transformed 

I’m typing this from my iPhone with very limited cell phone reception in Alaska. I’m on vacation; the first vacation I’ve taken in years.

It feels nice. I’ve gone through books and reminisced about being in this same house, years ago, writing my memoir. It was the most productive week of writing I’ve had to date and the writing wasn’t so bad either.

I haven’t written much this year. I took a “break.” I knew I needed some time away from my writer’s block and some time away from the guilt. The guilt of not writing every single day. Or the guilt of not publishing something someone else would love. Or the guilt of saying goodbye to my fans while I took a break. 
Since I started blogging in 2010, I’ve learned far more about myself than I expected to. I’ve enjoyed the journey. 

I write because I love to write, and because I NEED to write. It’s not about making money, although it sure is hard to publish without money, what with the editors and writing coaches. When I stripped away all my writing and publishing and spent days here in the Alaskan tundra, I found out I “still got it.” I still love to write but more importantly NEED to write to survive. 

I think that’s why my break has been essential. To take me away from the need to publish or the need to earn money by way of blogging. Back to the heart and soul of why I wanted to be a writer when I was just a kid. 

Writing is a way of life; it gives me life. It’s beautiful and transformative in a way that very few things are. 

Whether it’s on the page or your iPhone, blog or Instagram-happy writing, dear friends.

Hello Again

Last weekend I really wanted to blog again and I was inundated with work instead. Today’s my first day off since then and I’m once again sitting in front of my laptop-my comfort zone-with my coffee nearby. I feel complete again.

I haven’t written for awhile. About anything really. That’s not entirely the truth-I write every day for work. At work I write and edit dozens of news releases on any given week and I’m working on putting out a publication right now that’s in its final stages. I’m telling the story of an organization and I’m loving it. But I haven’t “written” like this for awhile. And I’m so excited.

The last time you’ve heard from me was probably near the beginning of my relationship. I didn’t want to blog about our new relationship. I really wanted us to work. For some reason I felt like I’d jinx it if I wrote about us, and I’m sure life doesn’t work like that but part of me really enjoyed keeping what we had private. Away from the public, away from ex-boyfriends, away from scrutiny or nosiness. Just behind closed doors. Which for me was really important in a lot of ways because in our year and four months we’ve had a lot of amazing moments but a lot of bickering too (which is normal, I hear). My friend’s husband calls the bickering stage the “early marriage stage” which is apt. We’re not married, but we moved in together and had to sort through our quirks and our personalities and what bugs us. We’ve had to give and take and learn to communicate. And none of that is easy. It’s not a fairy tale.

What I wanted to keep most private was our amazing moments, though. I know enough about the scrutiny of the internet that even when things are amazing, trolls (and “friends”) will make you feel horrible for it. I didn’t want to chance it with that. What we have is really great; great in a way that’s special for us and probably wouldn’t work for everyone. But it’s what I needed and wanted for a very long time. And my long time readers know that. And some of you want that. And most of us have felt at some point that we’d never find that. I sure didn’t think I’d ever find it.

I think what’s interesting is that I always felt so out of place being unmarried earlier in life and now I regret nothing. I talk to friends who settled down and had kids earlier and a lot of them wish they experienced more; a lot of them wish they’d experienced what I did. For me, there was something so important about discovering what I loved, traveling, writing, living alone, sometimes even being alone, dating different people, and just really solidifying who I was as a person. I think that’s really important and for me, I feel more happy and secure. Which isn’t to say you can’t feel happy and secure at a younger age; it just means that happiness and security isn’t prescriptive. It happens through different means for all of us.

The #1 Skill Most New Bloggers Overlook

The following is part of my Blogging Better series.

I’ve been meeting a lot of new bloggers in forums and Twitter over the past several months and there’s a shocking thing I’m noticing. Many new bloggers overlook a skill that is essential to their success and it’s preventing a these bloggers from moving forward.

Every day, thousands of new blogs are started and every day, thousands of new blogs die. Not every blogger who starts a blog will still be going in four, five or even ten years from now. Let’s face it, blogging is a lot tougher than we make it look.

What’s the skill that so many new bloggers overlook and why does it prevent a lot of bloggers from moving forward?

It’s simple.


Being resourceful is key, whether you’re creating a first time blog or launching a business, largely because blogging is such an independent activity. Being resourceful is more than just the ability to use Google in a productive way and the ability to gather enough information to get through your issues as a blogger. It goes beyond this. It moves into what you do with the information you gather and how you put into action the answers you find.

But what I basically mean is, are you the kind of blogger who asks everyone else to pave the way for you or do you set out to educate yourself? 

The instincts of a blogger are important. The other day I had a conversation with another blogger who was saying she wanted to take her writing career further. I told her just to be careful where she submits (as not all opportunities will help your career as a writer) and then I said, “I think you’ll be fine. You have good instincts.” What I meant by that is that she had done research and enough reading to know where to place her work initially.  The first place she submitted to was very close to her niche and was very reputable. She had good instincts and knew where to start with her career because she’d been resourceful.

You can’t teach instincts for success.

Or can you?

We all need to start somewhere and I believe you can lead people toward success. Of course not everyone is going to do the hard work to get to where they want to go, but you can point them in the right direction. I’m going to share my philosophy on blogging with you below. This is how I worked as a new blogger and what helped me get from point A to point B. You may think I’m a bit harsh sometimes, but you’re going to need to find mentors who will cut the crap and tell you the honest truth.

  1. First, you need to commit this to memory: blogging is all about self-education. The key there is SELF. As bloggers, we are students of technology, social media trends, business etiquette, marketing and public relations and community building and since blogging is still relatively new in many ways, you’re responsible for creating your own lesson plans. There’s so much to learn isn’t there? Of course. The key is to always be learning and always growing professionally. Above all else: be resourceful. It’s not any other blogger’s job to teach YOU.
  2. Bloggers need to keep in mind that just because there’s a tutorial out there with a pretty “pin-able” image on it, that doesn’t mean it’s the best method to follow. Some people just write crap and to make matters worse, sometimes these bloggers are endorsed by people or brands who make them seem competent. I spend dozens of hours wading through hundreds of articles online before I find something I want to share with my fans. Likewise, you should have a discerning eye when taking advice from bloggers. Look at their credentials carefully before you take the advice of someone with a huge fan base. Test what they’re saying to industry standard advice. Look for leaders in the community, not followers.
  3. Good bloggers become professional not by the amount of money they make or how many views they have, but by how well they are able to master tough concepts and trends and still stick with the job (in an ethical way). Good bloggers become professional because they conduct themselves as professionals and find a way to stand tall on their individual platform and keep their integrity in place when they get to the top.
  4. As a blogger you need to master writing, editing, SEO, technology, web hosting platforms, social media trends, billing, contracts, pricing, client relations and more. How do you do that without being overwhelmed? With a step by step plan. Take things one day at a time, one subject at a time. Good bloggers have a plan to improve and are committed to it. They seek out expert advice, read books, scavenge for information and continually improve their plan until they are confident they’re on the right track.
  5. Need help? Good bloggers aren’t afraid to hire someone to coach them and aren’t afraid to read a book (or five) to master a concept.
  6. Good bloggers are entrepreneurial enough to be flexible when needed. If something isn’t working, they change it.
  7. And the number one skill most new bloggers overlook: Good bloggers are resourceful. They don’t expect seasoned bloggers to hand them over anything: pricing, tutorials, details about their income, or where to find things on Google. The other day I overheard a conversation between a new blogger and a seasoned blogger that went like this:

New blogger: I need a tutorial on how to price my sponsored posts. Do you have one?

Seasoned blogger: No, I Googled that when I needed it but it’s been awhile.

New blogger: I’m really surprised you don’t have a tutorial for that. We all need it.

Seasoned blogger: Mouth gaping open in shock.

As I overheard this conversation, I was initially shocked at how entitled the new blogger was, but then I realized good bloggers (and bloggers who will last) are resourceful first and foremost. They take their job seriously and they read vast amounts of blog posts, articles and research until they find the answer they need.

Bloggers who aren’t resourceful simply won’t last.

Now it’s your turn. Join us for the Blogging Better link-up below:

Once a month, I’m co-hosting a link up on blogging resources called Blogging Better with Julie DenOuden. We would love it if you linked up your best blogging resources below. Our readers are new bloggers, mid-level bloggers, hobby bloggers, professional bloggers, small businesses and social media managers. Our link-up will go live on the last Tuesday of every month. Join us on Twitter using the hashtags #bloggingbetter and #blogbetter.

About Your Hosts

GOTM-about-me-260x300 Julie DenOuden is my co-host and a fellow Southern California blogger. Julie blogs at Girl on the Move, a blog about traveling, cupcakes and social media resources. She started blogging just over two years ago and truly has some of the finest organizational skills you’ll ever see. Julie is a great resource for social media tips and her 31 Days to Create a Social Media Plan is a must-read for any blogger.


headshot If you’re new here, my name is Lisa Kerr. I’m a veteran blogger of more than four years whose work has been featured on the Huffington Post TED Weekends, HuffPo Live, NPR and more. During my four years of blogging, Oprah’s network contacted me and the CW developed a pilot TV show about my first blog, so I’ve learned a lot about the business side of blogging, blogging beyond monetization and protecting your intellectual property. I now advise companies about how to connect with their clients by creating a compelling story and building community and I also work with new and mid-level bloggers, teaching them how to manage their social media communities, tips and tricks for WordPress optimization, and how to create a professional writing portfolio that will further your career.


I hope you’ll find the tools and tips we share here helpful in developing your blog, and as always, we’re here to answer any questions you may have (either by email or comments) in future posts.

To join the link-up:

Visit at least 2 posts from below and comment on them.

Follow your hosts on social media:



Sign up for future Blogging Better email updates here.


My Holiday Vacation Bucket List

My parents are very into traveling and I’ve reaped the benefits of this all my life. We’ve gone on cruises to Alaska, spent Christmas in Hawaii and flown over a snow-covered Arizona in my dad’s airplane. We’ve made memories and visited some of the prettiest places in the world together.

As Charlie and I start talking about next year (and admittedly, I find myself more and more in love with him), I find myself thinking about vacation time we’ll need to take and of course, my mind first goes to dream vacations. If you’re going to plan something, do it big, right? I love staycations and this writer probably needs to take some time away just to write, but why not plan my dream vacation?

I don’t have a holiday bucket list, really, but I have a holiday vacation bucket list. I love putting up my Christmas tree, watching holiday movies, and making hot chocolate at home. I usually drive around town looking at Christmas lights (which is even more fun in New Mexico because of their tradition of luminarias). But one thing I’ve done around Christmas that I would love to do more of is travel. I’ve been to New York at Christmas and have seen Rockefeller Center all decorated. I’ve been to Disneyworld and Disneyland during the holidays, Vegas, New Mexico, and Hawaii. But I haven’t been to Germany during Christmas (which I’ve heard is amazing) or my newest dream spot: Quebec City, Canada.

No one seems to enjoy Canada in the winter (even Canadians), so I love that it’s not everyone’s first choice. A few years ago when we went on the cruise to Alaska, we stopped in Canada and I fell in love. After that one trip, I decided I loved Canada so much that I would keep going back (or maybe buy a vacation home there). So of course, when I was starting to plan my holiday vacation bucket list, I had to include Canada and that’s when I found Quebec City. Not only is Quebec City in Canada, but it has a Winter Carnival and it’s very own hotel made out of ice. It looks magical and even has a reputation as being one of the most romantic vacation spots.

From the photos below, I’m sure you can see why.

Quebec City

Quebec City, Canada Source
Quebec City view Source
Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City, Canada Source
 See more on my Vacation Planning and Winter Wonderland Pinterest boards.
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