I've been playing the guitar for 27 years. I've been blogging for much less. But playing music helped me be a better writer tremendously . Here are 5 things I've learned.
When I was 15, I met a guy at school who eventually became my friend. We had a lot in common, especially in the area of music. One day, I was invited to his home after school. When I walked through the door, his older brother was sitting in a chair in the living room playing the guitar. I was immediately fascinated and wanted to learn how to play. I started visiting frequently on the weekends and started learning to play. I was so obsessed that my parents bought me a guitar and a small practice amp. And so I played, and played, and played. I haven’t stopped since, and that was 27 years ago.
Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned by playing music that can make you a better publisher:
After a year or two of playing, I thought I was getting pretty good. It turned out I thought I was better than I really was.
When a fellow guitarist watched me play he had this to say, “You’re pretty good, but you’re missing something. You gotta feel the music.”
Ah, feel the music. I thought about it and it made sense. It changed everything. A real game changer.
LESSON #1: There’s a difference between being good and being really good. Passion makes the difference. Whether its music or blogging, you will do much better when you really care about it. One of the most passionate bloggers I’ve encountered is Ti Roberts.
Combine passion with technique. Sure, I had plenty of technique. I had learned how to do things with the guitar. Bends, hammer-ons, harmonics, pick harmonics, power chords. You name it. I experimented with it.
LESSON #2: We all can learn technique. How to do stuff.
And sometimes we can get creative and find another way of doing things. Another technique. Another way to blog, or say something different.
Another thing I’ve learned from playing music is to be unique. There are a lot of people that play the guitar, but there’s only one person that plays the way you do.
LESSON #3: You have to find what makes you different and expand on it, hone it, and make it your own. Just as there are a lot of publishers blogging about their niche and their experiences. Their life at times.
No two experiences are exactly the same.
No two people are exactly the same.
You have something to say that’s different from the rest? Say it! This is one of the more challenging things about blogging. Will you be unique with every post? No, but your voice will emerge as you write.
4. Art, Creativity, and Value
Music is an art. A work of creativity. Is it always a masterpiece that millions of people listen to in awe? No, not always. But that doesn’t mean that music can’t still be good and enjoyable to listen to.
LESSON #4: Blogging is also an art and creative work. Some bloggers have touched the hearts of others with their experiences. You can feel their words and their pain. A great example is Jon Morrow’s post, “On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas.”
Does this mean you have to write a tear-jerking post, every post? No, but value is the key to success for a publisher. Sometimes it’s not what you say or how you say it, but how valuable it is. Even if the purpose of your writing is just plain inspiration or motivation. Are you providing value to what you write?
5. Success is Learned and Practiced
No one person knows how to do things without learning. We are not born with the knowledge we need to be successful until we learn it, expand on it, and make it work for us. Success is based on learning the things you need to know to achieve it.
LESSON #5: There is a basic set of steps to follow and beyond that, be creative.
When I first started playing music, I learned how to use techniques, add passion, and put it into practice. Put it into action. Corbett Barr of Think Traffic has a great post on “21 Quick Actions You Can Do Today to Set Your Blog Up for Massive Success.”
Success is taking the knowledge you gain and doing something with it. Knowledge without action is just knowledge, not success.