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How To Be A Prolific Writer

Posted by on Nov 7, 2008

One of the weirdest things about blogging is that not everyone wants to leave comments on the blog. Sure, I’d love that as much as anything, but what sometimes happens is people will send you an email to tell you things or to ask you questions. I take that as a compliment, especially since no one has sent me anything bad yet.

There’s one question I get more often than any other. The odd thing is that I get this same question outside of this blog. I get it on my other blog. I get it from my newsletters. I get it from people in organizations I belong to. I sometimes get it from people who have been forwarded things that I’ve sent to others. And I always get it from my friends, because I tend to chronicle my life and then share my stories with all my friends.

I’m betting some of you would have loved to have been on my personal mailing list when I talked about the day the plane I was on that was trying to take off hit a deer. Or, if that’s not good enough, how I, as a five year old child, walked away from a crowd in downtown Japan and went on my own adventure, while teachers scrambled to find me.

Anyway, that question is: “How can you be such a prolific writer?” Well, it’s just what I do. 🙂

As some of you may know, I’ve actually written a book on leadership called Embrace The Lead, and I have a second book called Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, once again on leadership. I’ve also got 5 other books in the works, but who knows when I’ll finish any of those. I’ve written tons of articles in multiple places on a variety of subjects, and I’ve been published in a few national magazines and newsletters. I wish I could get more people to pay me for writing, because there’s nothing I’d rather spend time doing, other than playing poker (yes, my wife knows this, so go ahead and tell her).

Enough of the self promotion. How does one go about being a prolific writer? How does one come across so many ideas to write about?

I like to think of myself as someone whose real business is the accumulation of knowledge. Other than geography and entomology, I have this insatiable thirst for knowledge. I just want to know things.


I also like to think I have kind of a discerning eye for being able to step outside of a situation and view it as a story. On this blog I posted something short, with videos, on how I felt after Barack Obama was elected president. I’m not sure how many of you saw this accounting on my other blog of what went on with my wife and I the night he was elected, but I’m happy to share it here.

After I’ve accumulated some knowledge, and after I’ve had time to digest an event as a story in my mind, I love sharing my thoughts and happenings with others. Maybe my goal should be in storytelling, because I just love to tell my tales and share information as much as I can.

Getting back to the point, which is how you can become a prolific writer yourself. Here are five ways you can become a prolific writer:

* Write like you talk – I see many blogs where people seem to be trying to figure out how to write rather than just writing. Most of the time when I sit down to write, I write directly into blog, real time, and I don’t stop until I’ve written the entire thing.

Most of my posts take between 5 and 10 minutes to write; that’s about all. It takes a little longer to finish if I’m adding links, which is always a smart thing to do if you can, but otherwise, my posts are usually done fairly quickly. Even most of my very long posts have been written that way.

This post is being done differently, as I’m writing it in Word (word to the wise; if you compose something in Word, then transfer it to an HTML based program, you need to remember to change all the quotation marks so your coding will be recognized; maybe Microsoft will fix that one day) and then I’m going to transfer it over. I’m taking a little more time with this one because it’s a list post.

When you write, whether it’s short or long, ask yourself if you’ve written in your voice. With short posts, ask yourself if that’s how you would present yourself if someone was sitting with you and talking to you. If you’re writing a long post, do the same thing.

* Think of every situation as a story – Who doesn’t love hearing or telling a good story? The truth in life is that almost every moment of interaction with someone else can be told later on as a pretty good story. Right now, I have a story in my head about the adventures my wife and I have had over the past two weeks with a chipmunk that’s somehow found its way into the house, and how even the exterminator has seemed to have lost this battle. I don’t have a place to put it, however, but it’s a story I can tell friends.


When it comes to your blog, telling your story about an implementation you did with new hardware on your computer, or new programs you’re trying to run, are all stories that you could probably tell. Think of it as if you were talking to a friend of yours; that helps you to put it in context.

* Don’t niche yourself into a corner – There’s a lot of talk on the blogosphere about selecting a niche and sticking to it. However, there are also thousands of blogs that have been abandoned because those people couldn’t continue thinking about what they wanted to write about.

People who write financial blogs and essays seem to run out of things to say because they think their niche is finite, but it’s not. Right now, I’d be writing about the price of gas, the bad news about the car and housing industry, credit cards and their changing of interest rates and top dollar limits, why keeping health insurance is important in a bad economy. There are thousands of ideas related to finance that aren’t directly related to the stock market that they could be writing about; check out the link to my finance blog above. 🙂

One of the issues I’ve had with many blogs I’ve been reading lately is that it seems many of us tend to keep writing about the same issues over and over, and at the same time. Days ago I wrote about commenting on blogs, only to discover later on that four other blogs had written on the same topic on the same day. When we talk about blogging, we tend to stick to specific niches that help drive blogs into prominence, hopefully. That’s why I break out into other areas from time to time on my blog, throwing up a video or two, giving a personal opinion about something, or sometimes going in directions that don’t have much to do about blogging at all, but are important to me at that moment.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I believe Peter’s guest post on why he loves blogging was a very important post because he’s someone who refuses to be locked into a corner as to what he can write about on his blogs, even if they have a specific focus.

* Don’t worry about perfection, but check your grammar – There is no such thing as the perfect post. I’ve written some that I think are pretty good that get few readers, and some articles I thought I was just putting up to have something to write about that have touched a lot of people.


People sometimes worry what someone else is going to think about what they’ve written, and that can paralyze them and stilt their writing. I’ve never had that issue; I write whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like, trying to offer something pertinent or personal, and that’s that. I don’t use profanity because I don’t use, and never have used, profanity in my real life (I’ve also never had a drink in my life, smoked cigarettes, taken illegal drugs, or, for balance, gone to church since I was 11 years old).

I have to admit that there are times when it’s hard reading a blog post or an article where the grammar is choppy and sentences don’t flow. I make allowances for people for whom English isn’t their first language, because I’ve seen how some of the posts I’ve tried to do in other languages (thanks, or kind of thanks, to Babelfish, which is now deceased).

By grammar, I don’t mean using a word like “y’all”, which is a part of my language, and I don’t care how many people tell me it’s not a real word. I’m talking about major misspellings of easy words (it’s easy to tell a typo from a misspelling), picking the wrong words (there, they’re and their”, as examples), or missing words throughout someone’s copy.

* Write about what you love and like – I love blogging, and it goes well with this blog. I love finding all sorts of things on the internet, which I can write about on this blog.

I love writing about the things I do on my business blog. I have a bit of passion towards everything I write about, whether it’s positive or negative. When one has a passion, one can do a lot of things and talk about a lot of things.

Everyone has a passion, and many people are hesitant to release it to the public. Trust me, there’s so many more things I could talk about on this blog that would make people’s heads spin, but that’s not what this blog is about. I have a place for that sort of thing, but I’m not sharing it here, so don’t ask. 😉

I was listening to Lynn Terry on a conference call earlier today. She was saying how she has multiple outlets of expression under pen names that she doesn’t tell everyone about because sometimes she just needs to step out of being Lynn Terry for a few minutes. I’m the same; every once in awhile I just have to be someone other than Mitch Mitchell, or T. T. Mitchell, my business name, or whatever my wife feels like calling me at a particular moment. Still, being passionate about something, and adding a passion for writing into the mix, is probably the most important thing about blogging, and something I cover in my blogging series.

If you can put all of those things together, you can be a prolific writer. Some of them might seem like it’s a lot of work, but trust me on this one; if you’re doing something you love, it’s never work.

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Write like you talk is the one I like the best Mitch as this is more likely to let your personality show through and lead to a post that would me more appreciated by others.

As for writing in Word and then pasting it in WordPress, isn’t there a feature in WordPress that allows you to paste straight from Word?

Sire´s last blog post..My First Impression Of The Thesis Theme

November 7th, 2008 | 7:00 PM

I don’t know, Sire. What I do know, however, is that Word doesn’t capture html properly, and I code the colors of the links and such for the blog. Something about the apostrophe’s. I thought there was a way to change how they appear in Word, but I can’t remember it.

And thanks for the comment; I hope it helps some folks who might be thinking about writing in some fashion.

November 7th, 2008 | 8:06 PM

Yeah, I reckon that HTML may well be the sticking point. You know Mitch there is many a time that I wish I was as verbose as some of the bloggers I know, but I have always been a man of few words. Maybe that’s why my comments and posts my sometimes seem flippant. A character flaw perhaps?

November 7th, 2008 | 8:29 PM

I wouldn’t say a character flaw, but I would ask if that’s how you talk during your regular day. Remember, I’ve been reading posts of yours for a few years now in different places, and every once in awhile, if something hits you the right way, you can be somewhat verbose. I write way more words than I use when I’m speaking, but I always have the words in my mind; I’m just a bit more discreet in person. Sometimes I feel more words are needed if one is writing, to try to avoid someone misconstruing what I’m trying to say.

November 7th, 2008 | 9:57 PM
Mike Henry:

“I’ve also never […] smoked cigarettes, taken illegal drugs, or, for balance, gone to church since I was 11 years old”

I’ve often wondered how many of us there are out there. With the exception that I’ll have a drink on occasion (usually get them bought for me), I’m in the same boat.

Mike Henry´s last blog post..Need or Want: New Spectacles?

November 8th, 2008 | 2:39 AM

Good for you, Mike. I just have this thing about being in control of myself that prevents me from doing all that stuff. Didn’t work for desserts, though.

November 8th, 2008 | 3:21 AM
Blog for Beginners:

I make allowances for people for whom English isn’t their first language….

You do that for me, don’t you Mitch?

In fact, this is the biggest hurdle to overcome for me in the beginning. I usually spend more time beautifying the words than writing the first draft.


Blog for Beginners´s last blog post..How To: Remove Ads from Categories

November 8th, 2008 | 2:04 AM

Glad to hear from you, Yan. Actually, you write very well. I was thinking about Alvin Phang when I wrote that line, because he writes very good stuff but it’s easy to tell that English isn’t his first language, and I don’t mind it because what he says is go good.

Glad your site is back up; I couldn’t get in for awhile there.

November 8th, 2008 | 2:13 AM
Blog for Beginners:

I never really pay much attention to his writing habit but this guy is pretty successful in his niche..

PS: Are you saying that my site is down awhile ago?…..

Blog for Beginners´s last blog post..How To: Remove Ads from Categories

November 8th, 2008 | 10:49 AM

Yes, for a few hours yesterday your site was down, because I kept trying to get there to read your latest post.

November 8th, 2008 | 11:03 AM
Blog for Beginners:

I guess my shared hosting couldn’t handle the traffic anymore. I’m thinking of moving to VPS but just don’t have the technical skills to setup WordPress with it.


Blog for Beginners´s last blog post..How To: Remove Ads from Categories

November 8th, 2008 | 11:07 AM

Setting up WP on new servers and the like is very easy; what’s more difficult, in a way, is making sure you move all your content over. A good host will already be set up to create a WP blog, so you’d just pick that, let them set up the blog, and then you bring your original theme back over and you’re back in business. Then, when it’s time to upload your backed up files (of course you’d always back it up), there are different ways that it can supposedly be done. I know Peter had to do it himself, but when I researched the issue it seems this process is quoted most of the time on many sites. And heck, just put it out on your blog for some assistance, and someone will come to the rescue. 🙂

November 8th, 2008 | 11:33 AM

hi Mitch,
I think I could try my hardest, and not anywhere near as prolific as you are. My goal on my new blog is two posts a week (it’s part time) and I hope to kick it up as I get the hang of it.
I like all your points, but especially to “not niche yourself into a corner” and to write about whatever you like or love.
I created a niche blog about trade shows since that’s what I know about, but I’ll probably only write 1 out of 4 posts about that and the other 3 will be whatever strikes my fancy. It’s a lot easier that way.
My biggest challenge at this point is getting the thoughts and words out of my head and onto the computer screen.
Anyway, great post, and I have a similar weakness for desserts… 🙂
~ Steve (aka the trade show guru)

Trade Show Guru´s last blog post..Run, Fatboy, Run

November 8th, 2008 | 5:32 PM

Thanks for your comment, Steve. You know, something that might help you out is purchasing a copy of the Dragon voice recognition software. I have to tell you that without it, I might never have finished my first book. It’s not perfect, because none of us talk perfectly, but it’ll get most of it down, and then all you have to do is edit.

November 8th, 2008 | 8:17 PM

hi Mitch,
Thanks for the suggestion on Dragon voice recognition software. I never would have thought about it, or thought that it really works. Are you saying you used it? And do you still use it?
~ Steve

Trade Show Guru´s last blog post..Run, Fatboy, Run

November 9th, 2008 | 11:19 AM

I don’t use it for regular writing like this, but when I have something long and involved, then I pull it out. My book was almost 200 pages, which can be a lot of typing, as you know, but once I hooked up Dragon, it was relatively smooth sailing from then on.

November 9th, 2008 | 11:40 AM
Work From Home Opportunity:

Hey Mitch,

This post was really enjoyable for me to read.
I had never thought about wandering away from my niche a little bit, but now it makes perfect sense for me to do so.
This opens up a whole new world for me as I was really straining to continue writing on just my niche topic.
Thanks for putting this thought process in my head.
John Baril

November 8th, 2008 | 6:46 PM

Thanks for your kind words, John. As I sit here right now, I can come up with probably 10 stories I could write about working from home and some of the opportunities that present themselves, both real and fake, and a host of other things. I’m glad to help with the mind expansion, and I look forward to reading more of what you’ll have to say in the future.

November 8th, 2008 | 8:19 PM

Man, you ain’t lying with that one. However, I found the same thing happens with Notepad, which I hadn’t expected. I have another program that I just might have to think about opening up and using whenever I’m composing a long piece, except it doesn’t have spell check. However, it’ll give me the proper quotation marks, and when I copy it into the blog it’ll highlight typos at that point. But we’ll see.

November 8th, 2008 | 8:20 PM

Same thing as with Word. It’s not the coding problem specifically, like Word would do if you tried to create an HTML site, it’s that it, and Notepad, renders quotation marks differently than they’re rendered in HTML, with curved marks rather than up and down straight marks. And those won’t translate the HTML properly. With my HTML program, it’ll change the quotation marks back, but WordPress keeps exactly what you transfer over in that instance, so I always have to go back through my copy and change all those marks.

November 8th, 2008 | 8:58 PM

Notepad or Wordpad? Wordpad does things very much lke Word does. I use a plain text editor for my coding and articles. Check out Editpad. It’s a great tool.

Scott Thomas Photography´s last blog post..Assignment 1: Collective Shoot

January 22nd, 2009 | 9:08 AM

Nope, I meant Notepad. At least in Vista; I didn’t remember having the same issue with XP, but it’s possible. But see, that’s one of those sneaky things Microsoft has done; they made sure to change things just enough so that, unless you catch it, it’ll mess up webpages like nothing else.

January 22nd, 2009 | 11:18 AM

I am still struggling with writing :), these are great pointer to help me Mitch

November 8th, 2008 | 10:26 PM

Glad to help out, ZK; use any of them you need. 🙂

November 8th, 2008 | 11:41 PM

You’d have noticed if you’d put in any HTML and transferred it over. The links to webpages worked, as did bold, but colors didn’t work and the target-blank didn’t work. So, that messed stuff up, in my opinion.

November 9th, 2008 | 11:41 AM

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

November 10th, 2008 | 2:41 AM

Thanks Kaylee. For someone who didn’t know what to say, you said the right thing. 🙂

November 10th, 2008 | 10:45 AM

Great tips, Mitch! I know I was always told that when you write, don’t worry about the grammer and punctuation. There’s plenty of time to go back and edit it later. The important thing is to get the thoughts, story or whatever on paper or in a file.

Like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

As Mitch’s friend, I have enjoyed many a story about his life. I hope he’s saved them all as they’d make a great book. (Oops, sorry to refer to you in the third person, Mitch!).

Scott Thomas Photography´s last blog post..Assignment 1: Collective Shoot

January 22nd, 2009 | 9:01 AM

That’s okay Scott, you’re allowed. 🙂 And I’ve saved many of them, but I’d have to do some serious editing to protect the innocent!

January 22nd, 2009 | 11:16 AM