The secret to creating original content

How to create original content for your blog: good writing practices

Reader Letter: Hi Trisha! I want to tell you that no matter how wonderful your blog is, it has just made a young Russian girl pretty miserable. Don’t get me wrong, your blog is so far the most amazing thing I’ve found online, it is an example of witty mind and passionate soul, it educates and inspires, but… Here comes my very subjective, personal “but”. I was researching travel blogs to understand what to do and what not, as I want to start my own travelling blog, I was searching for my niche, for something that will be different from what Internet already has, for some kind of my own “thing” that I can have if I am courageous enough to start posting. And then I read your blog. It took me down so hard. You are all I am but further on the road. We are so much alike (at least as see it judging by your posts) that I am no longer even thinking about having my own blog. Thoughts, ideas, style of writing that I want to reach someday, even destinations and countries visited, wow, that’s just impossible. I just came back home from an 8-month trip to South America, and in October I am leaving my country again, now for a longer period of time, that’s why I felt ready to write about what I experience on the road. That must sound really shitty, but your blog discouraged me so much from what I was hoping to start doing. I just realised that there is a better version of me out there, doing the same and better stuff. No, don’t tell me that I definitely have my own thing that distinguishes me radically from your way of writing a blog. That may be as well true, but it was hard enough for me to come to a decision to write a blog, and it will be almost impossible to do what I want to do knowing that you exist. You are outstanding, and I adore so much what you are doing, I agree with every each post of yours as if I was writing it myself. But I hate you at the same time for killing something very important to me. — Anonymous, Russia

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Today, I woke up with a heavy heart. I have seen a lot of great bloggers out there in the same manner that I have also seen those who are running out of content ideas and are copying others work. I feel bad for these people because they have a lot of potentials and I know that they can do more. Due to lack of practice and hurrying to be on the ‘top,’ they lost themselves along the way.

The girl from Russia who wrote the letter above is not one of them. The moment I read her e-mail, I wanted to hug her. I wanted to explain to her there are no right and wrong thoughts and if she wanted to write the way I do, it will never happen. Why?

Writing is from the broth of our experiences. There will be some things that happened to her that didn’t happen to me, and that could be a good material for writing. Each of us are unique in our own ways and we have our own methods to share what we think — to express ourselves in our own writing style. Never will it happen that we will have the exact same material unless we copy/paste someone else’s work.

I have given a lot of writing tips in the blogging section of this blog but I feel like it’s not enough. I am not a writing expert yet but I want to affirm to myself that one day, I will be. However, I am very much aware that nobody will write perfectly. Even the greatest writers learned it the hard way. It took them years to improve their writing and they still think it’s not perfect.

With this, here are some additional writing practices I want to share with you. This is more useful when you are running out of blog ideas — when you feel like your mind is blank.

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1. Accept that writing is a process.

Not only in writing but in everyday life. Humans are not fit to undergo process. We are always looking at the end product. When I first started writing, I always wanted my writing to be flawless thinking maybe some big publishers will eye my work. I even thought of this without starting to write! It’s ridiculous how we want to sit down, face our computer, stare at a blank page and instead of writing, we always think of “what will happen when this gets published? I love my idea and I think everyone will like it, too. It will go viral.”

These are good and beautiful ambitions but we should focus on the now. It’s good to have a goal but wanting to be blown away with your writing will make you lose focus. Your writing will lack flavour — like those large fries without salt. It will feel incomplete even if you think you’ve already completed it.

Every time your mind goes ‘fast forward,’ say this to yourself: “It’s a process and I must accept that it really is a process.” Repeat the word ‘process’ in your head and you will understand what I am talking about. It’s a process.

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2. Develop a writing routine/habit.

“But I am not like you, Trisha. I have a 9-5 job and I am not a full time writer. In short, I don’t have the time.” says one of my clients in one of our sessions in my Travel Blogging Coaching. Who says you only have to write when you ‘have’ to? Don’t you know writing can also be your best friend?

After years of traveling the world, I got home last week and was shocked by my own culture. I’ve changed a lot that I don’t know how to adjust in my own home nor did I know how to be around old friends. I was really frustrated but writing helped me through. I put my rage in 5 pages of my journal instead of steaming the drama and throwing my rants to other people. I drastically wrote all the frustrations, all the fear and the negative energies in my journal. And it worked. Writing is therapeutic so do not think that you only need to write whenever you need it for your blog. You can write anytime of the day tackling the wide variety of subjects running at the back of your head.

Here are my everyday writing routines:

A. The moment you wake up, write right away. Notice that every morning, you have too many things running in your head? Write that down. It doesn’t need to have one theme. Write longhand and just blurt what you are thinking.

“I am hungry. But I need to finish that article for BuzzFeed. Wait, my friends are coming over today. Ahhh, I have visitors again. What time do I need to call my Sam (my French bestfriend)? Fck, it’s fcking 3am in France. He might be drunk. My nails are so filthy.”

Above is a sample of my morning writings. You see, they are not in line with each other but I am just throwing what I think on my pages. This practice made me write complete thoughts and ideas when composing my articles.

B. Make a list. Remember those listicles you always read on the internet? Those come from practice (a process) as well. When I am really upset, I write 100 things that makes me happy. Not only that it makes you feel good and appreciate what I have but it also helps me express in full sentences (like the morning writing). You don’t notice this but writing sentences in full is really difficult most especially when you find yourself on a dead end. Most of the time, we know how to say it but it’s challenging for us to put it into writing.

  1. I am alive and I am very thankful for that.
  2. It makes me happy that I am able to see my mother everyday. I missed her so much.
  3. Music makes me happy. Most especially the Spanish songs. They give me so much joy!
  4. Seeing a lot of books together makes me happy. I don’t know why but when they are piled together, I cannot help but smile.
  5. Being able to write with a gorgeous view everyday makes me happy. My parents house, this house I grew up in is the only thing that doesn’t feel strange.

Above are some of the things that make me happy. Do something like this until you reach 50 (or even 100!) You will see how it will make a difference on how you feel and how you write.

C. Learn when to walk away. The bad thing about most young writers is that they treat writing as an obligation. They sit in front of the computer for hours thinking “I have a deadline. I need to finish this.” In the end, there will be no product and the ‘deadline’ have passed. When you feel like you can’t even write an opening sentence for your article, walk away from the table. Go outside. Take a 1 mile walk and appreciate the things around you. Do not spend the whole day in front of the computer because there are a lot of side activities (Facebook and all the social media there is) which are harmful to your creative process.

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3. Do not copy other people’s work.

Well, it’s the first rule in every writer’s life and I am not sure why I even have to say this. When push comes to shove we think that we are already out of options so we tend to peek into other people’s blogs and say “what is he/she writing?” From there, you will find a lot of articles that relate to you and you will then think: “I can just write something like this. There are too many bloggers out there doing the same.” Much more that you have to be different. Much more that you need not be like the others.

When you feel like doing this, pat yourself on the back and say: “I am a big person. I am greater than this and I can write something beautiful in my own ways, from my own ideas.” Giving yourself the positive affirmation will life your spirit up instead of hurting yourself with the negative remarks. Never ever doubt your writing because you are already amazing as you are. You will create original content and who knows, it might go viral!

On another note: you also shouldn’t compare your work to others. Remember that no one has the exact same life as you. Write ABOUT YOU. Focus.

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4. Please yourself.

We’ve already said “be yourself” shitloads of times — so much that it loses its real meaning. Try to say “be yourself” to yourself. Does it still have an effect? It went away right? The sentence is too overused that we can’t decipher what it really means anymore. So now, I am telling you, “please yourself.” If you feel good about what you are about to write, do it and if you feel happier with the product, publish it. There are no right and wrong thoughts. Self expression is what makes a good article double awesome. Develop yourself by pleasing yourself first. If you are happy with your writing, you will be unstoppable. Words and phrases will flood your ‘workspace.’

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5. Lose yourself. Sing. Dance.

Today, I lost myself on Instagram stories (@psimonmyway). I felt really upset so I needed to dance. Your body is one of the tools which make your writing beautiful so treat it good by losing yourself. Do you sometimes feel you want to be a child again? I do. All the time. That’s why I sing and dance like a crazy person. The moment I arrived the Philippines, Latin music blared my parents’ home and I didn’t care even if the neighbours were complaining. You need to feel good about yourself most especially if you are keeping things inside. It’s blocking your creative process. Let it out. Sing. Dance. For 15 minutes, learn not to care.

Finally, to the Russian girl, I still think you should write. I still believe you can express yourself in the way only you know how. I am hopeful that one day, you will create original content and it will be really really beautiful.

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Writers, what are some of your good writing practices? 

I want to hear your thoughts! Leave your tips in the comment box below and help other writers make it!

[us_separator][us_iconbox icon=”fa-pinterest” title=”This post might be helpful in your writing life!”]If you want an inspiration on how to create original content. hover the image on the left and pin it for later.[/us_iconbox]

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • October 25, 2015

    Good to hear, it’s nice to read about just doing it for yourself as opposed to chasing writing success by copying other similar writers.

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  • October 26, 2015

    Hi Trisha,

    love this article. You pointed out 2 things I recently discovered as well: The moment you wake up, write right away and developing a routine/ habit! It really helped me so far. Now I am glad you have some more useful recommendations here 🙂

    Keep it up!
    Matt

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  • October 26, 2015

    This was really great and refreshing to read! I use all these tips in my everyday life and I can vouch for them. Writing’s just a journey, like travelling, and we’ll wear ourselves out if we focus too much on the destination. Just got to enjoy the process! 🙂

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  • November 6, 2015

    When I first started writing, I tried not to read anyone else’s blogs. I was so worried that their ideas and thoughts would somehow become infiltrated into my writing! But I’ve found that I really enjoy reading a good blog now and then. It’s refreshing to read others’ experiences and know that mine are unique, that my objective and writing are also unique, and that we can all just enjoy each other’s strengths.

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  • November 6, 2015

    That point you make about knowing when to walk away is key.

    Sometimes it just doesn’t flow, or worse, come at all.

    That’s just the way it is… some pieces we right and they feel complete, amazing.

    Other times it just all feels a bit shit!

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  • November 7, 2015

    Writing is a skill and one that you develop over time. You have to write in order to get better and I also think reading helps. look at the kinds of things you enjoy – why do you like them. Rather than copy them develop your own style. And it will change over time as well.

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  • November 8, 2015

    Gosh it’s not easy blogging is it. The worst is family and friends back home who always wonder/query what you are doing all day long… I like #5 very much except we still getting our head around this Snapchat ha ha ha

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  • November 8, 2015

    One of the hardest things as a blogger is trying to stand out. Especially in traveling, there are so many itineraries and what not already there. My frame of mind is that even if someone has already posted something similar, my voice, style, photos, etc may inspire someone differently than someone else’s post. Besides, I’d rather have readers that connect w/ me anyway than just passerbys

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  • November 8, 2015

    You’re so right about learning to walk away. I’ve learned that the story will tell itself in its own time. There is no need to rush it into something it doesn’t really want to be. And yes, while writing every day is a good habit, I’ve also learned that not everything should be published. Be prudent and ruthless in terms of quality.

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  • November 8, 2015

    I must be one of the strange one who never runs out of travel stories to write about! My problem is finding the time to write the posts, for as you know, it’s not just writing the post, but finding the right photos to accompany it, then market it to readers, then comment on other blog sites to help broaden your reach, and to reply to all comments on your own blog. It’s practically a full-time job! But above all, I agree how important it is to write what you like and be true to yourself.

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  • mar
    November 8, 2015

    For me having a routine is key, it is the most important way to feel you have a regular life and to set yourself for inspiration

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  • November 8, 2015

    Great post and tips. While some of them don’t fit me, like blogging when I wake up since that’s the time I spend with my daughter, the direction is great. Thanks for sharing.

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  • November 8, 2015

    Great tips!
    It took me a while to get into the swing of finding my own style and voice back in the early days but I found that as long as I was truly passionate about what I was chatting about, it would all come together.
    This would have been an ideal read back then so hope lots of people take all these on board. Crackin’ post 🙂

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  • November 8, 2015

    Fantastic tips Trisha – for me I’ve found that finding a routine is one of the biggest things to producing new and original content, and that’ll vary for each person individually, for instance I write best for some reason at night where-as I’m not very productive in the morning. I think everyone just needs to find their own groove and move with that – the hardest thing is not comparing yourself to other people, but once you stop it will set you free!

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  • jen
    November 9, 2015

    Wonderful that you have found a routine that works for you and that you are taking time to inspire others to find their own voice.

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  • November 9, 2015

    Great article! For me the hardest thing is being myself, not being influenced by other writing that I like, and also the routine, I am so so bad at that!

    Really helpful tips though, great article! Thanks for writing 🙂

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  • November 9, 2015

    Very helpful tips here dear, I always write what I have experienced. On my personal blog (not the monetized one) I only write because I wanted to and would like to express myself.

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  • November 9, 2015

    I couldn’t agree more with Please Yourself. I write for me and not for anyone else and that is how I find I attract more readers (or at least the right readers that I want for my blog). You can’t really write for other people because if they don’t like it, you’ll just end up being disappointed but if you write for yourself and you like the outcome then that is more than enough. People will see your passion through writing and that’s how you get readers 🙂

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  • November 9, 2015

    You’re right, writing is personal. I tend to write on public transport, I type in notes on my phone then email to myself. If it’s a large article or an article for someone else, I’ll often make a mind map first.

    Walking away is a good point, it’s so easy to lose eight hours to the keys of your laptop!

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  • November 10, 2015

    I agree that you need to be in the habit to write. However sometimes you aren’t feeling the love. That is when I stop and walk away and wait til I know that I am in the right zone. I love reading others stories, for writing style and for great stories

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  • November 10, 2015

    Hi Trisha. Your meaningful content struck me once again and I can’t helped to comment to your blog again for the second time today. I think a really meaningful blog posts, or precisely any content or articles that published to the public should not only focus on problem-solution basis, which means giving people directly what they are asking for. In this content, it’s not just giving advice to the Russian girl to continue writing, the main idea is to ask people to live for themselves, express their true identity, be really good to your ownself and that’s the main underlying concept behind writing, which might seems simple from the surface but lots of hidden traits are hidden from this talent.

    And to the Russian girl, I wish she knows that in whatever we do, we should not always aim to be the best among everyone in this world, we should always aim to bring our best to this world. We are creating a world that only has one best thing, we want a world where people could enjoy unlimited great things in life with no limit

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  • November 11, 2015

    You’ve nailed all the tips you set in here which I can absolutely follow! I’m such a new blogger myself and like the concern reader who emailed you, I feel the same sometimes. I think it is a matter of time and personal experience till a person starts to become a writing machine but like anyone, we sure do run out of experience. Writing is passion, it needs soul; and to answer your question about people copying other’s works – shame.

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  • November 11, 2015

    I seriously need some tips/training or outright ass-busting to get me to follow a writing routine. I’m too undisciplined and I write far too sporadically. It isn’t going to get me too far as a travel blogger if I don’t fix it soon. Great tips here though – I really felt for the Russian girl.

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  • November 11, 2015

    Great tips Trisha! Sometimes I find myself thinking what’s next? Specially since I’m still a student and when school starts there are few opportunities to travel or to write blog posts.

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  • November 11, 2015

    Awesome article trisha! This one is a good read. Exactly what I’m looking to push myself to be a better blogger. Thank you for inspiring me today!

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  • November 15, 2015

    Have bookmarked the page for future ref. Have found many great tips. Thanks Trisha.

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  • Jeany
    February 22, 2016

    Just when I was about to tell myself I’m not a good writer as there’s so many good bloggers flooding the internet, this posts simply encourage and uplift my spirit. It’s like a tap in my back when you said ‘you’re already amazing as you are’..
    Thank you so much Trish!

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  • May 23, 2016

    I write for a living but when I start to write for my own blog, I couldn’t come up with a sentence. And I figure out that it’s the obsession of getting things “perfect.” Over time, I learned that done is better than perfect 🙂

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  • May 25, 2017

    Hello Trisha! You are surely right with your tips. I love how free and honest your blogs are and you are an inspiration to me. I just started blogging this year and I am totally loving it that I am planning to really be serious about it and self host it soon! More power to you! <3

    reply

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.

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