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14 Signs You Aren’t Cut Out To Be A Content Marketing Writer

by Neil Patel

Have you ever wondered, “Maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer?”

Well, you might be right.

I never want to discourage anyone from becoming a writer. I do, however, want to discourage people from thinking they need to be a writer while having absolutely no desire to do so.

I wrote this article because content marketing is king. There are, therefore, tribes of great marketers who think that they must be screwed up because they don’t want to write or can’t write.

If you’re not a writer, don’t beat yourself up. Here are the telltale signs.

1. You Literally Can’t Think Of Anything To Write

Writers are, in the most straightforward definition of the word, creatives. They create concepts, stories, explanations, and persuasion.

For the non-writers, such creative mojo isn’t forthcoming. You may have the creative bug in some other area of life. But writing? Not your jam. You can’t, for the life of you, think of one thing you should write about.

Go ahead and scratch “writer” off of your life bucket list.

2. It Takes You Forever To Write Anything

I know people for whom it takes hours to put a few sentences together. For these people, “writing an article” of 500 words or so means taking time off of their regular work for at least three days.

Ouch.

If you’re a slow writer, you can get faster. And you should.

But if you’re agonizingly slow (and every second is painful), then maybe you should step back and not torment yourself so.

3. Everything You’ve Ever Written Sounds Like Garbage

Let’s face it. If you’re just a horrible writer (and you know it), then maybe you weren’t cut out to be a writer.

On the other hand, maybe you still want to write. You can get better. One of the best ways to get better is to keep on writing.

Few writers start out with amazingly brilliant copy. Your first few articles might be genuine garbage. But over time, you’ll improve.

4. You Can’t Understand Your Own Writing

One hallmark of a great writer is that his or her content is easy to understand.

The person who is most likely to understand your content is the person who wrote it – you. Ergo, if you can’t understand what you wrote, you’re doing it wrong.

5. People Tell You Not To Write

They may say things like,

  • “Let’s just hire a copywriter.”
  • “You know, I think we’re going to hang on to this article and maybe not publish it for now.”
  • “Oh, yeah, your article? I think it’s still in the “draft” folder.”
  • “Uh, thanks for offering, but I’ll just ask someone else to write it.”
  • “Hey, instead of writing that article today, do you mind, um, creating a report on, uh, something?”

If diplomacy obscures their meaning, then ask:  “Do I suck at writing?” If the answer is an affirmative, it’s your cue to jump ship.

6. You Are Too Scared To Publish Anything You Write

Note: Since my jam is online content, I’m referring to “publish” in the online sense of blogs, articles, etc.

Fear has crippled many a would-be writer. In many cases, it’s necessary to push through this fear, and just get the darn thing published.

In some cases, this fear is legitimate. Most writers experience that fear — the trembling finger about to click “post now.” But many writers also experience that underlying confidence that this is good stuff. I need to get it out there!

If you entirely lack confidence, take a serious look at whether what you wrote is worthy of publication.

7. You Never Have Bursts Of Insight That You Want To Write Down

Writers are the kind of people who have sudden bursts of literary insight.

  • A killer article title
  • An amazing topic that no one has covered
  • A stunning way of expressing a thought
  • An outline materializing in their mind
  • The need to get out of the shower to write something down

Have you ever experienced such mental lightning strikes? If you have, then it’s a strong indication that you’ve been infected with the writing bug.

8. You Can’t Tell If What You Write Is Trash Or Treasure

Can you tell if you’re a good writer or not? None of us are very good at self-analysis, but if you simply can’t gauge the quality of your own writing, it’s a sign that you could probably improve.

Why do I say this? It’s mostly gut. The writers whom I know (myself included) have at least a slight sensation that their content is worth publishing. Maybe it’s not the best. Maybe they won’t become an internet sensation. Maybe the article won’t go viral.

But it’s the right kind of content for their target audience. They know it, and they want to get it out.

It always pays to have a second pair of eyes look at your content. Knowing what other people think is often a more accurate way to determine if your writing is trash or treasure.

9. You Haven’t Ever Finished An Article

Plenty of people have a hard time finishing their stories or articles. (Endings are tough.)

But the failure to finish an article — any article — might suggest that you’re not cut out to be a writer.

It’s really satisfying to wrap up an article with a compelling conclusion. There’s a refreshing sense of finality that comes with writing that last word.

But there are some among us who try, and just can’t get the plane to land.

10. You Ain’t Got No Time For That!

If you think writing is a waste of your time, you might be correct. The task of writing is arduous and time-consuming.

You have a million-and-one other things that you should be doing, could be doing, and would rather be doing.

For you, avoiding the task of writing is like a full-time hobby. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’s time to give up trying, and give in to doing what you do best — not writing.

11. You Have No Desire To Ever Write A Book

Novel writing isn’t what I’m focusing on in this list. I’m targeting copywriters, conversion optimizers, entrepreneurs, infopreneurs and generally online marketers.

So why this talk about a book?

According to Joseph Epstein’s famous New York Times article, “81 percent of Americans feel they have a book in them — and that they should write it.”

More accurately, 81% of the survey group’s 1,006 Americans wanted to write a book. With this widespread desire to write, it would seem that the minority who don’t want to write probably shouldn’t.

12. You’re Content To Turn Out Low-Grade Content

We’ve all done it — published something that’s less than awesome.

Sadly, such a practice has become commonplace for online publishers. We don’t have the same high editorial standards and insistence on high-quality that we used to have.

If you’ve become lazy about low-grade content, then you have the wrong view of content marketing. Today’s content marketing needs an upgrade in quality.

Some people — those who aren’t really into content to begin with — are content to let low-quality articles spew forth from their blog.

Whatever the case, it’s time to insist on a comeback of quality.

13. You Want To Write Only For The Sake Of Getting Your Name On Some Online Content

It’s nice to see your name online, even if it’s just on a little blog. But if that’s your only reason for writing, then I would suggest that’s not the highest motivation.

You can hire a copywriter to do that for you.

14. You Never Read Articles, Books, Or Basically Anything

Writers are readers. They have to read. They must stay informed of trends, learn about their customers, analyze movements, research, and gain more understanding of the world and market in which they operate.

The fact that you’re reading this article is a strong indication that, yes, you are indeed a writer. But for those who simply do not read anything, they are probably not going to be your next rockstar copywriter.

How To Become A Good Content Writer

Okay, so we’ve talked about the signs of not being a great writer. So what do you do if you really want to give it the good old college try?

Luckily, writing good B2B content doesn’t require you to be a New York Times bestselling novelist.

There are two simple things you need to do in order to become better at writing B2B content:

  1. Consistently write every week. The more you write, the better you get at it. Make sure you set a calendar event or phone notification to write one article a week. If you can execute weekly, then before you know it, you’ll be on your way to becoming an excellent writer. Ever heard of the 10,000 hour rule?
  2. Most B2B content follows a particular format. That’s right. You can templatize your written content in a sense. For example, a “How-to” article will have an introduction followed by several steps on how to complete a certain task. As a matter of fact, if you’re ever having trouble building content for your business, just start by knocking out all the “How-to” articles you can. You’ll be surprised at how much content you’ll end up putting out.

So why don’t you create a list right now of all the “How-to” articles that come to mind. I guarantee that will keep you busy for the rest of the year :). They’re easy to tackle, and they generally bring you quality traffic.

One Of The Best Writing Hacks Ever: Record Yourself

One of the easiest ways to pump out written content is to record yourself.

You can easily record yourself speak with your mobile phone. You can then send that recording to any of the hundreds of online transcribing companies. For as little as $10, you get your recorded article transcribed into words. You’ll have to go back and edit the recording somewhat so that it reads better. But for those of you that have the gift of the gab, this is probably the fastest way to build good content.

Conclusion

Are there signs that you are cut out to be a writer?

Absolutely. But one of the major reasons that you know is that subjective, internal drive. You have to write. You want to write. It’s what you were meant to do.

So if you don’t have a desire to write, don’t sweat it. You’re going to be okay in life if you never write a single word. I’m grateful you read this, and hope it helps you in some way.

What do you think? What some signs that you’re not cut out to be a writer?

*Featured Image Source

3 Comments

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

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  1. Hammo says:
    April 14, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Great post but I think I passed this test.

    On reflection, I created over 200 blog posts last year and published over 100 youtube videos.

    I think I’m slowly becoming a writer and have a book in mind although it keeps getting pushed to the back of the queue.

    I try to write at least 1000 words a day. Some good and some not so good.

    But the writing habit is more important to me right now.

    Great reminder, and you sucked me in with that title. 😉

  2. Mitch Mitchell says:
    April 13, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Great stuff! One of the recommendations I make to people who ask me how to start a blog is to write 10 articles. If they can’t write 10 articles then they’re probably not going to enjoy blogging and thus I’ve saved the rest of us from having to come across another blog that’s died. This is also proof that more businesses need to pay writers what they’re worth, since few of them would want to do the job.

  3. Andrew Zubriczky says:
    April 11, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Great article; very funny; and very truthful. Any person who desires to write for a living should be required to ‘read and memorize’ this post! 🙂 It’s a winner!

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