Graft the shit out of your goals


The idea of this ‘Review’ page is for me to share my thoughts on any form of ‘entertainment’ I’ve encountered that has impacted upon my life and challenged my way of thinking. Whether this is books, articles, podcasts, concerts or films, for example, I will share with you any discovery that I feel could also add value to your life.

A Review: The ultimate, 6,000 word guide to making it as a blogger in 2017 by the Jon Westenberg.

It is only right that my first post reviews an article that I read this morning on blogging. Perfectly themed, I have chosen to review this because it literally made me sit up and pay attention. The lessons in this 6,000-word piece gave me the kind of kick up the arse that a parent gives you when you finally realise they actually know what they’re talking about. Not only was it thoroughly captivating and entertaining, but the writers ‘no-bullshit’ attitude poured through the words and flooded my brain with so many ah-ha moments that I couldn’t help but be grateful for every word I was reading. As the article under review is, as you’ve guessed, 6,000 words long, I will not touch on every profound word shared by Jon. I will highlight some main areas that resonated with me and hope that, when you have a spare 20 minutes, you’ll be inspired to read it for yourself.

Before I introduce the article, I think it’s important to introduce its platform; Medium. I discovered Medium a few weeks ago; and it’s possibly one of the best discoveries I have made during my years of aimlessly browsing the internet. Medium is a platform where writers can share their thoughts and insights on topics ranging from self-help to programming. Medium explains; “Every day, thousands of people turn to Medium to publish their ideas and perspectives. Leaders. Artists. Thinkers. And ordinary citizens who have a story to tell. Posts range from scrutinies of world affairs to deeply personal essays.” If you do anything today or gain anything from this post – let it be – join Medium. It has already made such a positive impact on my life and my writing.


That said; I fully encourage you to read this article that I have chosen to review for you today. The ultimate, 6,000 word guide to making it as a blogger in 2017 has been written by the Jon Westenberg, founder of Creatomic. This article looks at the cold-hard truths of blogging in the 21st century, addressing how every Tom, Dick and Harry has a blog. Hey, look at me – I too have created a blog. It’s not just popular to have a strong Social Media presence now, it is the norm.

The amount of online companies has soared and the use of Social Media has changed the face of everything; from dating to journalism. What Jon explains is that if you are a writer trying to make it as a blogger – you’re not just competing with those in your country, you’re competing with the whole damn world and every other media-form across the internet distracting potential readers. The silver lining for committed writers, however, is that yes, it may be blog mania out there, but there are also hundreds of thousands of bloggers that will quit. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, however, Jon makes a good point that “Most people are going to refuse to commit the time…Most people won’t commit to spending years of their lives building a blog. They just won’t.”

So what do you need to do to make it as a blogger? Plain and simple…

  • You need to commit.
  • You need to graft the shit out of your writing career, every single day.
  • You need to stand strong in the face of adversity and constantly develop your skills.

If you really want a writing career, you need to commit to the hustle.

Jon affirms that he looks at his commitments over a period of five years; “I like to follow one rule. I never start anything that I’m not prepared to commit 5 years of my life to.” This really hit a nerve with me and I’ll tell you why. The problem with society (especially yours truly), is the need for instant gratification. We see these one-hit wonders, we see people becoming famous on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube and we tell ourselves that success for us could also be that easy, that instant. We try for a bit, we invest a few hours here and there, and nothing. No readers, no followers. Nothing. So we quit. Do you know why I am still working in finance – because I never fully committed to my goal. It seems simple, right? Of course you cannot succeed unless you commit to a goal – but truly ask yourself – how much lip service do you pay to those commitment values of yours? Everyone has a platter of excuses at hand, ready to serve; hell, I have tonnes. But if you’re brutally honest with yourself – that goal you are still yet to achieve; you can bet you haven’t invested all the time you could have to achieving it. An unwavering level of commitment is key to achieving success.

“You can’t become a successful writer, artist, entrepreneur, designer, potter, architect, software developer or puppeteer overnight. There is no such thing as a surprise, smash hit. Nothing is immediate.”

The key learning in this article for me is that you need to commit time, energy and focus into your goal; day-in, day-out. We have heard this so many times, haven’t we? So why doesn’t this stick? What is it that makes some people successful, when so many of us cannot even maintain New Year’s resolutions? The reason, according to Jon, which I absolutely love – it’s not just the graft, but the patience to wait for success.

“But I do know one reason for Amazon’s success. And survival. And continual rise. Jeff Bezos doesn’t think on short time frames. He doesn’t try for instant, hyper growth and he doesn’t expect the world to turn at the snap of his fingers. He can wait for success, and work for it. You can too.”

Lessons: Nothing is immediate; success is the result of years and years of grafting behind the scenes, and waiting – patiently waiting for your efforts to pay off. Never stop grafting.

All you have to worry about is getting one single person to give a shit.”

Another important lesson I gleamed from this article is that, as a blogger, you need to stop sweating the big stuff. Stop sweating about getting 1000s of followers, 100s of shares. Yes, long term, that may be a measurement of success; but today, you just need one new person to care. At this stage, you need to think quality over quantity. One quality, loyal reader is far more important than 100 readers passing by.

Furthermore, one person is manageable; “You can set up a simple out-reach process that will allow you to accomplish this, every single day.” If you focus on gaining a mass audience when you’re just starting, it will only disable your flow of creativity and you will inevitably burn out.

Additionally, part of this expectations management is not allowing yourself to be deflated by blogger envy; Jon recalls how jealous he can get of other bloggers success but one lesson is clear – “The only thing you can do is determine what you really define success to be and then find a way to accomplish it. For you.” Spend some time writing down what success is to you  – what measurable steps will you take to get there and how will you know when you’re there.


So start small – find a new reader each day – find someone who gives a shit about the message you are trying to communicate and use that as inspiration to drive forward. “The drive to get to more than one person comes from there, and it’s a solid, motivating force. A force that will push you forward.” Don’t aim so high that you get disheartened before you even get to try. Always be the best you can be, but make sure your goals aren’t so immediately unattainable that it derails you before you’ve even started the journey.

Lesson: every great accomplishment starts with lots of small steps. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, but understand each image is made up of thousands of smaller pixels.
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One comment

  1. “Stop sweating about getting 1000s of followers, 100s of shares. Yes, long term, that may be a measurement of success; but today, you just need one new person to care”

    Totally agree with this. If you really care about the message that you’re putting out there with your blog posts, then getting through to someone is more important than reaching everyone. It’s great if your message can resonate with as many people as possible, but if you fixate too much on numbers then it’s easy to get distracted from why you’re doing it in the first place. If all you want is fame, acceptance or approval then you’ll probably end up writing what you think people want to read. Focus on what you care about, and someone else will probably like or relate to that passion. That’s a sign of success in itself. The 1000’s of followers will… follow. It takes time, but you won’t grow your fan base unless you keep going and have patience.

    Liked by 1 person

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