How to Achieve Instant Success as a Writer

How to get views, gain followers and rise to the top of your niche.

Post published by Greg. Those of you who were around in 2009 will remember Greg, who frequently took the liberty of publishing posts to this blog in an attempt to “help” Meg continue posting while she was busy. This earned him the title of “Meg’s evil twin Greg,” for reasons still largely unknown to him.

When it comes to writing, there is only one thing you should focus on if you want to succeed.

Achieve great success as fast as possible.

Success in writing is measured by a combination of how many people follow you, how much you have published and, most importantly, how long it took you to become successful.

The longer it takes you to succeed as a writer, the less your success matters. So here are a few ways you can make sure your success is worth it.

Focus on quantity, not quality

The most effective way to skyrocket your views and quadruple your subscribers is to focus on quantity. Write as much as you can, as quickly as you can. The quality of the things you are publishing – and make sure you’re publishing as often as you can manage – is not important right now.

If you want instant success, all that matters is that you’re making your voice heard. Getting noticed is easier the more content you have to show off. People won’t mind if it’s not great writing, as long as it’s there. Sometimes you might just write a title and then paste a link to an article or blog post to serve as your body text. That’s fine. It’s still another published article under your belt.

Mislead your audience

Ever wanted to go viral? It’s every writer’s dream – and you can achieve it. Instant success is all about pushing to the front of the line, so do whatever you have to do to show up in search engine results and social media feeds. Don’t waste time fact-checking your information. What really matters most is what you title your work.

Headlines are everything. It doesn’t matter what you write about, as long as your headline draws enough attention to grant you the clicks you deserve. It’s OK if your headline is misleading; this is just the way it has to be now. You’ll never get views or gain followers if you stick to honest headlines with relatable content underneath.

Promote yourself whenever and wherever you can

More so than your actual content, what you really need to do is focus on promoting your work. You probably follow a lot of other people doing the same thing you’re doing. You’re going to be spending a lot of time commenting on people’s channels, posts and more, so get ready to do a lot of copying and pasting.

The most effective way to do this is to comment on other writers’ blogs, social media posts, etc. Don’t bother commenting anything related to the post – it’s a waste of time. Instead, just paste in a link to your own work, asking people to check it out. That’s all. It’s likely other people’s audiences will be interested in what you have to say just by seeing your link.

Do what everyone else is doing

Those who are out there succeeding while you’re sitting here virtually unknown, they know what they’re doing. So your best bet is to follow their lead. They’re not called “experts” for nothing. You need to make sure you’re keeping up with what is trending, so you can make sure to write about it, whether it’s relevant to your audience or not. Follow your favorite bloggers and journalists on Twitter so you can make sure you’re always close behind when they publish something new.

While you’re at it, you might as well scan their work carefully to see what they’ve already written about. Ideas aren’t copyrighted, so feel free to copy and paste quotes and headings as you see fit. If you do copy subheadings, just make sure to change the wording a little bit so no one will notice. This is a quick way to come up with a lot of content in a very short amount of time. Prepare to see the views roll in!

I hope these tips help you to achieve all your hopes and dreams as quickly as possible. The faster you succeed in writing, the better. It takes very little patience, strategy or effort. Just expect people to come running as soon as you start writing, and you won’t be disappointed.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Maybe You’re a Struggling Writer Because People Keep Telling You to Struggle

Does being a writer really suck THAT much?

There’s a difference between being realistic about your goals and sabotaging your own potential.

I’ve told readers of this blog a hundred times over that making a living as a writer, succeeding in this creativity-based business, is hard. I don’t sugar-coat it. I have shared my own triumphs and struggles as I have moved through various stages of building up a career in writing over the years. Never once have I told you, hopeful aspiring writer that you are, that you cannot do this.

However, I have also never held back the truth – that it takes a unique kind of willpower to get through the most difficult parts of this writing career building process. A combination of characteristics many of us have to learn to craft into personal habits over a span of years.

It occurred to me this morning that your goal of “becoming a writer” has likely met with one of three general responses as you’ve grown up – either those around you were overly encouraging (a sort of “you can do anything you put your mind to” philosophy), extremely discouraging (“not many writers actually end up writing full-time, and if they do, they never make much financially”), or responses have always been relatively neutral (“we won’t actually mention how unlikely this is for you, but go chase your dreams anyway”).

I have encountered writers both in the wakes of success and failure who have approached the topic of aspiring writers (I prefer to call them “creatives in the active pursuit of reasonable writing projects”) with a surprisingly negative attitude. Those who have succeeded really seem to want up-and-coming writers to know how much they had to struggle to get to where they are, and often point to luck as their catalyst for a best-seller or a shiny new award. Those who have failed seem to feel the need to warn fellow writers that pursuing a career in writing will always lead to disappointment … always.

(While that’s true – some disappointment is inevitable – it’s not all dark and twisty.)

I must confess that maybe I have made the mistake of taking on a grossly negative persona in the past, at least mildly. Because being realistic, while it might seem the appropriate thing to do, is often taken too far. So much so that we highlight only the dark side of realism, and ignore the bright spots. Without even realizing that’s what we’re doing, maybe.

It has always been my goal to do two things: approach writing with an honest, tough-lovey lens, and give you the starting tools to help you navigate your way through your path toward success. It’s not that this whole writing thing is impossible – it’s that many people will never follow through with their goals, at least they won’t if they’re not willing to actively pursue them. (How to do this is a big topic – if I’ve written about it before, here’s a link, and if I haven’t, I will very soon.)

But many people are wired to pay attention only to the negative viewpoints on things. That’s just how it is. It might be very hard for you to hear anything else besides, “Writing is hard and if you’re too lazy you’re never going to make it.” That may be true (honesty, remember?), but that doesn’t mean you are not capable of success. It just means you are going to have to work really hard. And many don’t want to hear that. Or maybe they just can’t.

Here’s what happens when you keep hearing how much of a struggle writing is. You start to approach every writing project already in the mindset that this is going to be a struggle – and that you have to struggle if you want to succeed.

I have good news: it’s not true. At least, not completely.

Because, yes – writing is a struggle in the sense that you have to put up with a lot of resistance before good things start happening. That’s what I, and maybe many other writing bloggers, mean when mentioning “the struggle.” But that does not mean every single minute of writing has to be painful. And it also doesn’t mean that if you’re writing something, and it feels good, you’re automatically doing something wrong.

As I’ve said before, your mind has a major influence on your perception of a task. So if you walk into your office before you even start writing, thinking about how unpleasant it’s going to be, guess what? It’s going to be unpleasant.

But if you walk into your office and think, “I’m going to write today, and no matter what, it’s going to work out in my favor,” then maybe today won’t be so bad.

Rejection doesn’t have to mean failure.

An unresponsive audience doesn’t have to mean you’re doing something wrong.

Poor sales doesn’t have to mean you didn’t do your best.

We’re just trained to think that way. Because we keep paying attention to the successes and failures of the writing world that keep telling us how much it sucks to be a writer.

It really doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe if we all stopped approaching this so negatively all the time – myself included – we’d stop struggling, and start accomplishing more things.

I’m going to try really hard to pay more attention to my “being a writer sucks” mentality this week, and I hope you’ll do the same. I’ll return with an update on my experience for you next week. (There will still be posts in-between, just about other, more positive things.)

Now stop whining, and get back to writing. ;)

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Don’t Stop Trying When You Start Succeeding (How to Earn a Career in Writing, Part 8)

Things aren’t going to get any easier – but that’s okay.

For many people, writing is a long, exhausting struggle. Some writers never get past the ‘write like everyone is listening even though only two and a half people are reading’ phase of writing professionally.

Often, that has nothing to do with talent, and everything to do with the amount of effort a person channels into a very draining task.

This is the part where I would normally spend a few paragraphs using inspiring language to remind you that no matter how hard it may seem, you should keep going, even if success seems very far away.

And while that is all valid, and you SHOULD keep writing even if it seems pointless right now, I’m going to spend the rest of my time with you today talking about what happens when things, writing-wise, start going right.

Because it does happen. Contracts are signed, books get published, articles go viral, blogs erupt in more daily pageviews than their founders can believe.

And the one thing you don’t want to do, when you find yourself surrounded by success, is let yourself relax.

Now, I’m not saying you’re not allowed to celebrate your success – by all means, make that a top priority, because hard work is worth raising a glass to.

What I mean is, you can’t let your guard down just because you’ve surpassed the battlefield that is Trying to Write for a Living. Now, more than ever, it’s very important that you focus on working even harder to give your success a solid foundation so it doesn’t suddenly crumble beneath you. Asha Dornfest, founder of Parent Hacks, explains it like this:

“The thing about quick success is that it can’t last, at least not in its initial form. Making a real go of it takes persistence. And therein lies the secret of my hustle, the quieter, less glamorous months and years that followed the early salad days of my blog. The part where I kept going after the initial flash bulbs faded.” (The Hustle Economy, p. 76)

When success hits, it usually hits hard. It’s exciting, it gives you an irresistible adrenaline rush – nothing can ruin these good feelings! Except one thing actually can, and that’s deciding that you’ve made it, you’ve put in all the hard work you needed to, you don’t have to work hard anymore.

The truth is, virtually anyone can get a publishing contract, publish a book, write a viral article or attract a wave of new subscribers to their blog. Anyone can catch the interest of an audience. The key to success that lasts is putting in the work that keeps people around, even after the buzz dies down.

Because the internet and its ever-connected users move so fast, what interests someone today might not catch their attention tomorrow. So success in writing in its many forms is a constant game of aligning what people want to read about with what you’re prompted to write about. Always. Every day.

It takes a lot of time and effort to consistently create content that resonates with people. So while it might feel now as though you’ve created something so good people will never ignore you again, keep in mind that if you really want to succeed, you can’t just do that once. You’re going to have to do it again. And again. And again.

It feels very warm and fuzzy to realize you’ve succeeded, in one way or another. Cherish that feeling. Really take a moment to recognize how good it makes you feel. Because this is one of the things you have to hold onto when the pressure to perform starts to feel a lot more like stress (it happens to everyone at some point – it’s normal).

Success feels really good. If you want that feeling to last, it’s not going to come free.

You put in at least some amount of work to get here. If you’ve earned your success, that’s proof that you are going to be able to achieve really great things at some point. Don’t give up now. Your journey isn’t over yet. It’s more than likely just beginning.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

How to Earn a Career in Writing – Part 2

Don’t just start – finish.

Read Part 1

“What you make won’t always be good, make you money, or reach your desired audience. But if you finish it, it will at the very least be done… that’s the only way it has a chance of checking any of those boxes. Do things. Do them until they are done.”

– Jason Oberholtzer, editor and producer (Hustle Economy, pp. 23-24)

Out of all the creative projects you have started in the past year, how many have you actually finished? How many are you still working on? How many have you had to put to rest, unfinished?

I, as I’m sure many others do, can name past and current projects in each of these categories. The abandoned, unfinished ones being the most difficult to admit.

But I am not a chronic unfinisher. Unless there is a reasonable roadblock preventing me from finishing something, and I am forced to admit defeat, I finish what I start.

But many don’t. Which is why so many complain that they just can’t seem to ever finish anything.

Many writers and creatives struggle with something I like to call a Finishing Complex. They tangle themselves so unnecessarily in worries about What Happens When This Is Over that they stop before they ever get to Over.

I’m all for the claim that starting is better than nothing – you deserve all the praise and then some for acting on an idea. But you can’t just go through life dragging all your unfinished projects behind you. Not if you want to earn the right to call yourself a Successful Professional – whatever that means.

There are likely dozens of reasons why people start things but don’t finish them. The two plaguing writers the most, I’m going to guess, are these:

  • The euphoria that comes with Starting Something New wears off – it stops being fun, so usually you just end up taking the easy way out and quitting, usually passively (gradually working on something less and less until it lays eternally forgotten)
  • Other things get in the way – usually distractions you’re for whatever reason unable to overcome. You start binge-watching a new show on Netflix (DON’T DO IT) or you make the mistake of deciding to work on a new project without planning out how you’re also going to simultaneously work on finishing the current one.

There’s a possible third – you don’t think it’s good enough, so you just give up.

Here’s the cliche reality you’ve heard too many times already: writing is hard, getting published is harder, it’s not always going to be fun, it sometimes takes years to break into the business.

Here’s what you don’t hear often enough: the more often you quit before you’re done, the less likely you are to break that cycle someday.

If you want to succeed in writing, you have to train yourself to work until you’re done. This takes a lot of discipline – something else you’ll need to overcome this habit of just not wanting to get it done. You’re not lazy – you just have a weak skill. All weak skills can be strengthened – with effort, and hard work. It’s essential, if you want to be a finisher. Finishers, eventually, make money, and reach larger audiences, and are more proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Yeah, it’s too hard, you’re tired, you keep getting rejected, all the feedback you get feels like needles in your chest. None of that even matters if you aren’t able to follow through. Finishing is a skill – not just in writing, but all over the professional landscape. If you don’t know how to consistently finish things, who’s going to be able to rely on you to do so regularly – and pay you for it? Nobody.

You never know how a particular piece of writing will turn out. You might think something in progress is the worst thing you’ve ever written. Finish it anyway. If nothing else, finishing makes you feel more accomplished. It boosts your confidence. It helps build up your resilience. There are going to be times you’re responsible for writing something, and you don’t want to keep going, but you have to anyway. It’s not an option. What are you going to do when you get to that point?

Why should I keep writing when I’m bored?

Here’s the thing … if you’re bored writing it, someone else will be bored reading it. So if you’re losing interest, it’s up to you to reignite some kind of spark. You have all the power in the world to spice up your own work – use it. The thing is, you had an idea. Your brain came up with something good enough that you made the conscious decision to sit down and start writing. Just because it’s no longer shiny and new doesn’t mean you should abandon ship when you still have plenty of sailing to do. Just keep writing. Make it interesting – overly dramatic, if you have to. You’re not THAT bored – you’re looking for an easy way out. Stop making excuses.

I’m good at meeting deadlines – just not my own

If you’re someone who works well on deadline but can’t push yourself to finish anything on your own, you’re probably accountability dependent – you need someone or something to hold you accountable for doing your work and following through, or it’ll never happen. There’s nothing wrong with that – but if external accountability isn’t available, you do need to take some steps to learn how to set and meet your own deadlines. Otherwise, scout Facebook groups and other writing forums to see if a reliable accountability buddy is ready and willing to partner up.

But my writing really is awful!

Really – says who? Has anyone ever straight up told you, “You are a bad writer?” I highly doubt it. If you’re going off of your own opinions of your work, stop it. We’re not allowed to officially judge our own work, because 95 percent of the time, we’ll hate it and think it’s the worst piece of writing ever created. It’s normal to cringe at your own writing, but that doesn’t mean your writing is bad. If you’ve received negative feedback on your work from someone else, that also doesn’t mean you’ve done a bad job. It’s actually more disappointing if critics have nothing bad to say about your writing. There’s always going to be someone who feels the need to point out a flaw. Get over it.

How do you make money and grow your audience as a writer? By finishing what you start. Every project you finish is another chance at success. Pick one thing from your long list of Things You Want to Start and focus on finishing that one thing. Finishing doesn’t mean it has to be perfect. It means it has to be done. Done, in first-draft terms, still means a lot. Get to that point, so you can go even further.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

What Happens When You Don’t Take the Risk?

Should you take the risk?

It’s been on your Bucket List for over a year now. Self-publish this book. You’ve done everything you were supposed to. You wrote; you rewrote. People gave you feedback, you were a little shaken by it, but in the end, your mess of a first draft somehow transformed into a book people might actually want to read.

You’ve always known self-publishing was your end goal, at least for your debut novel. But you’re afraid. What if people don’t like it? What if you don’t make any money? What if it’s the worst book anyone has ever tried to sell?

Why even bother? Why take the risk?

Risks can make or break an actively aspiring writer’s career. We take them often, but the big ones make us uncomfortable. A risk can work out in your favor, and make you look really good. A risk can also feel like a strike against you, and leave a dent in the reputation you only just started to build.

We always consider the consequences of what happens if we do risk everything, and everything goes wrong. There’s another question you should always ask, after contemplating whether or not a risk is worth taking.

Should you take the risk? Also: What happens if you never do?

There are two possibilities, none of them favorable to you: you’ll miss your chance, or you’ll never work up the courage to even try.

If you don’t take the risk, someone else will. Or you will become so used to talking yourself out of ‘just going for it’ that you start to forget why you ever even considered it at all. This is how Giving Up often happens – gradually; a repeated decision ‘not to,’ until you stop trying to convince yourself you should.

I urge you to take the risk – your risk. You already know what it is. You want to send that query letter, but all the What Ifs are just too much to bear. Or there’s something you’ve been wanting to write about for awhile, but it’s personal and it’s a memory you aren’t sure you want to bring up again right now. You’re torn between trying to forget and using words to Deal With It.

Whatever it is, the outcome of taking the leap won’t be worse than wondering what might have happened if you would have – even though you never did. Insert cliches about how short life is, how you never know until you try, how pointless it is to wait when you can Just Do It.

If it helps to tell someone about the risk you haven’t taken yet, leave it down in the comments. If not, just keep telling yourself it’s going to be worth trying. You’re going to fail and fall short many times throughout your life as a writer, but you’re also going to succeed and hit the mark, too. Both of these extremes can only happen when you take more risks. Name one successful artist who has ever succeeded by not taking risks.

You can do this. I will if you will. Aaaaaand GO.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You That You Can’t … Actually, Go Ahead. Let Them.

There’s something powerful about the word “no.”


I am loosely classified into what many call Generation Snowflake.

Many of my peers, according to theories I won’t touch on this blog, to put it simply, take everything way too personally. This is the Me generation. Apparently, if you don’t agree with something, it means you have been personally attacked by someone who shares different views than you do – and you’re allowed to fight back. Especially with social media as your crutch.

This is the generation of Participation Trophies and Safe Spaces. Everyone expects special treatment, God knows why. Possibly the most unbearable thing I have had to deal with, as a millennial managing younger millennials, is the majority of people’s reactions to being told “no.”

Many of us grew up being told “No one is allowed to tell you that you can’t do something.” This is pretty nice advice, if you use it logically. Many Snowflakes don’t. They interpret this as, “If someone tells me ‘no,’ I have a right to argue until I either get my way or quit.'”

I’m speaking from a creative perspective here. I know of people, those I have attempted to teach and mentor in the past, who want to be writers, but cannot accept that their way is not always appropriate. Here’s how you succeed: you pick your ambition, you figure out what kind of work – what kind of EFFORT – you’re going to have to put into it, and you get out there and you DO.

If someone tells you no, you cannot get 300 hours of college credit for working less than 100 hours, it means no, you did not do 300 hours of work, stop asking for my signature and good luck at your Real Job. I am right, you are wrong, deal with it.

If someone tells you no, you cannot be a writer because [insert reason they think you’re not good enough], this is not a personal attack. This is not the time to fight that person to the death. This is the time to walk away, cut that person out of your life, and work so hard for so long that you actually DO become a writer – ha, ha, you told them so. Except you didn’t. You worked your way up to proving them wrong, without giving them the satisfaction of watching you struggle along the way.

Work. Effort. Focus. Patience. Discipline. The list goes on. These are all prerequisites for a successful creative career, and many of my fellow Snowflakes have no clue how to check any of this off of their untouched to-do lists.

As you’ve probably picked up, I don’t really fit in as a Snowflake. Not because I want to set myself apart and Be Unique, but because I figured out, very early on in my life – on my own – that crying and whining on social media gets you absolutely nowhere. Ever.

The thing is, you can’t control what other people say to you. People are going to criticize you, and reject you, and try to bring you down. Welcome to the Real World. If you want to let their negativity infect you, honestly, that’s your choice.

I will note that in some cases, for legitimate mental health reasons, it is very difficult for some people to ignore other people’s criticisms. I am one of those people. So I’m not saying you’re awful or worthless for struggling with this. For most of my life, psychologically, I could not very easily separate someone’s opinion of me from my opinion of myself.

However, I would not have achieved what I have at this point in my life if I had continued to let that non-controllable impulse drag me down. I learned how to silence those thoughts, and so can you – by letting a “no” motivate you to create your own “yes.” By NOT TAKING EVERYTHING PERSONALLY.

Rejection is never personal, and is always about the other person’s needs above yours. Always. Actually, people CAN, and WILL, tell you that you are incapable of doing something. In fact, they SHOULD. How else do you learn to go after what you want (the right way) despite other people’s opinions?

There’s a difference between being told “you’re doomed” and “you’re wrong.” If someone older than you tells you that you’re doomed, you’re probably not. If you’re wrong – you’re probably actually wrong, and need to stop expecting everyone to bend the rules to accommodate you.

This post turned into something way different than I intended, but for all my fellow Snowflakes: good luck. Whether you’re on my side of the line or not, prepare to work harder than you ever have before to achieve your goals. For everyone who goes through life being handed everything we’ve worked ourselves to exhaustion for … I don’t know. I hope you’re proud of yourselves, I guess.

And of course, if you feel Personally Offended by what I have written here, go ahead, tell me so. I would expect nothing less.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.