How to Write ~ A Simple Tip for Success on Hive

I've seen two posts within a week about how to be successful on Hive. This one from @consciouscat and this one from @slobberchops. Both give some great tips and are recommended reading.

I was thinking about if I had anything to add to the conversation. At this point I'm probably one of the older accounts still active on Hive and I've been relatively successful in this time, so I must know some secrets, right? Right??

Well... no.

While I have done well here, many who have been here for less time do much better than me. So I'm not the one to come to for "instant success" posts. But I do have some tips. These aren't necessarily specific to Hive, but to life in general and to writing a little more specifically. They can work for you well on Hive, however. Let's get to them.

Secret Not-so-Secret Tips for Doing Well on Hive (and in Life too)

Tip 1: Show up

I think the only secret I know is that of consistency. I saw a post from @tarazkp awhile back about that one in which he mentioned he hasn't missed a daily post in a few years (this post), and he mentions in that post that @taskmaster4450 has also gone quite long without missing a day. I'm not quite in their league. I'm going off memory here, but my first two years I posted almost everyday, but then I missed a lot of days in my third year due to some personal events at the time; while I have been everyday since that point making it at least 600 in a row, my overall consistency is low. Overall my post count is high (at least 1400 according to @hivebuzz) but I do have those missed days in my 3rd year that screw up my record.

Anyway, we're not here to talk of my failings: we are here to talk of the power of consistency, or showing up every day.

There are so many quotes that cover this. I happen to like Woody Allen's quip "80% of success is showing up".

Stephen King locks himself in his office from 7am to noon everyday and forces himself to write, whether he has an idea or not. Neil Gaiman does something similar, usually using a cafe instead of his office. He brings a notebook and fountain pen to a cafe and nothing else, so either he sits there bored for several hours or he writes something.

You may say those guys are highly successful so they can afford the time to do that—a poor schmo like me can't. True. But even before they were successful they showed up everyday.

Stephen King would sit at his typewriter every night after his wife and kids went to bed. He had his day job as an English teacher and he even had extra part time jobs to help pay for his kids, but he still showed up everyday to write.

Neil Gaiman would do the same. Then later when he was trying to become a novelist, he would sit up in bed every night after his wife went to bed and he'd write longhand a page or two of a story. His comic book writing income was enough to get by so he didn't need to do this, but he still showed up everyday. And it paid off—he is now one of the most successful novelists today.

So show up to Hive everyday. Write something. Post it. Repeat. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece—it doesn't even have to be especially good writing—just show up and write. A lot of stuff may be ignored. Scratch that. A lot of still will be ignored. But we are playing the long game here. Remember the Tortoise and the Hare. Slow and steady, my friend. Show up everyday and you drastically increase your chances of being seen and finding your way to Hive success.

And if you don't get noticed, well, at least you'll get a lot of writing practice. And that's not a bad thing either. You'll have plenty of samples if you decide to send a writing query to some online magazine.

Tip 2: Don't Be Perfect

That wasn't what I wanted to talk about. The article just started and I already went on some wild digression! Ahh... oh wait, maybe that's tip number two. Yes, that's it: don't be afraid to fall off the point. Don't aim for perfection. Just keep writing!

I think many writers get stuck on wanting to make everything they post perfect. It should be long, it should be exciting, it should make the reader want more. If any whales happen to stumble across your post you want to really pull them in, right?

The problem there is that it will never be perfect. And aiming for that perfection at best slows you down and at worst prevents you from publishing. No one is perfect. Just write.

Also, there is art in not being perfect.

I've told the story before, but one of my favorite newspaper columns when I was growing up was from a guy named Peter David. He wrote his weekly column for many many years. It was nominally about geek stuff—Star Trek, comic books, sci-fi movies, that kind of thing—but he would almost always get off track right and the beginning and move from topic to topic, taking a long meandering path to the end of the column, a series of digressions that gave his column its name But I Digress.

I guess that's a common enough thing in newspaper columns. A column is more about the personality of the writer than the writing. But Peter David's column seemed to be a little more rambling than most.

And here is when I steal his column title. But I digress. The point is, just keep writing. You'll craft some interesting posts. Maybe you'll get a newspaper column out of it too.

Tip 3: Write Early, Not Late

Image by Kat from Pixabay

I know I know I know, waking up is hard. I agree. But please bear with me.

You may have heard of the novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It was an extremely popular book a generation or two ago and continues to be fairly popular. It was something of a philosophy textbook disguised as a hippy journey disguised as a book about motorcycles. It's a great book and worth the read.

The author, Robert Pirsig, wrote the book in an interesting way. He would wake up at 2 am, write until 6 am, then go to work. After work he's go to bed almost immediately after getting home, around 6 pm. He did this so that he wouldn't be bothered by his wife or son, phone calls or visitors. For that time he could direct all his focus to his writing. Having that quiet time is a big plus, but I think there is a lot to be said for doing it early too.

I think most of us are the opposite, we try to stay up late to complete our work. We get home from work, eat, shower, play with kids, then work after everyone goes to bed. But what usually happens when we do this? Either we find ourselves nodding off or at least we have a had time focusing. At worst we completely fall asleep. And is it surprising? We are fried from work. What's the solution? Make coffee? That might help a frazzled and tired mind, but it will also ensure more difficult sleep later in the night.

Here is where waking up early comes in. The advantage of waking up early is that your brain is fresh, and fresh is the best time to do something. Have you ever heard the phrase "Death by a thousand cuts"? I'm sure you have. The idea is that a large number of very small things can add up to a big thing. A thousand paper cuts will kill you just as much as one big cut.

Well, this is why we can't think well at the end of the day. We are forced to make a million decisions everyday. They might be small, worthless decisions, like do I want the dark roast or light roast at Starbucks, but a million tiny decisions drains you just as much as a few big ones.

This is why people in high stress situations try to eliminate as many pointless decisions as they can. Most famously you have Steve Jobs who wore the same black turtleneck every single day, or Obama who only wore blue or grey suits.

This is why writing first thing in the morning has so much power. Our thinking hasn't been worn down by countless decisions, our focus hasn't been scattered to bits by all these paper cuts.

So turn off the TV, stop trying to keep yourself awake to work at night. Go to bed early and set your alarm an hour earlier than usual. It will be tough to get up—let's face it, it's always tough to get up—but once you make yourself do it and sit down to write, you may find you can think a little better.

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough. So there you go, three things that might help you find a little more success on Hive.
1. Show Up
2. Don't Be Perfect
3. Write Early in the Day

Good luck!

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Hi there! David LaSpina is an American photographer and translator lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time and searching for the perfect haiku.

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    This is amazing and you used so many great examples of other peoples methods and I couldn't agree more with you!

    There have been so many days I've been busy and couldn't get around to writing until night time and found it a bit of a stuggle, for awhile I've consitantly gotten up early in the morning to write and it's so much better; having that little boost before the day has started is also great for the mind.

    Also, you're totally right, showing up and not being so hard on ourselves or our writing is great advice.

    I don't think I'm 'Successful' financially on Hive, I've had great days and not so great days, but, one thing that has happened to me since being on Hive, is my writing has gotten waaaay better. Reading back on my writing from a year ago when I joined, to now, there is such a huge improvement. Mainly because of constantly writing, but a lot of it is due to critisms I've gladly welcomed from people who've read some of my work.


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    Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it 😃

    one thing that has happened to me since being on Hive, is my writing has gotten waaaay better.

    I'd say that is success right there. Improvement is the name of the game of life and you are doing it. Congratulations!

    Thank you so much for putting this out..
    I struggled so much when I came to hive, because I saw good writers and I made comparison with my self..
    I wanted to be perfect like them..
    But now I'm learning to be me and to do within my limit...
    Thank you for this wonderful piece!!

    You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.

    But now I'm learning to be me and to do within my limit...

    That's great to hear! Good luck.

    Since i opened this account, I have been afraid of posting a thing because I don't know whether I was going do it right or wrong, so all I do is read what others posted. I'm grateful for this, it has really help in reshaping my mind

    Don't be afraid, just post. You will improve with practice.

    Glad you enjoyed the post 😃

    I had to read twice. I really enjoyed the content with all the hope it gives. Thank you for coming up with such an encouraging content 🙂

    Great Post. I think there's a lot to what Ben Franklin said on waking. They also say your energy is highest when you first wake up due to the cortisol/adrenaline.

    Consistency is a hard one, but I think it depends on your point about perfection. If you are too hard on yourself or expect results too fast, you will give up when it doesn't happen. Instead, allow things to slowly and steadily build and snowball until it is something big.

    I think tomorrow, I will make my first post on here, introducing myself and starting to journal daily. I hope people will support me 🤞

    I was thinking of mentioning Ben Franklin actually. His autobiography is such a great book full of good lessons and ideas.

    I think tomorrow, I will make my first post on here, introducing myself and starting to journal daily.

    Sounds like a great idea! Be sure to use tags like "introduction" and "introduceyourself" and make it a decent length with a few photos. Hive curators usually watch for introduction posts and try to reward most of them with pretty big upvotes, so your odds are higher.

    Thanks for the advice! I just posted my introduction post if you want to check it out:

    wow, a wealth of knowledge in this post. Thanks for the tips.

    Thanks for reading! 😃

    Uhmmmm...excuse me!

    walks off towards a nearby corner and screams!


    Now you know my problem? I have read this and I am going to reflect on it. But, the discipline! The discipline has always been my problem. Your points are just something else. My goodness!! And you raise them with references to people I have read about/from making it hit harder. Damn!

    Yeah, I get you. Discipline is everyone's problem. That's another reason to do it early in the morning. Your willpower is stronger in the morning before all the decisions of the day wear it down.

    Yeah. I'm trying

    Nice suggestions. Two things: One, I've written about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance I think three times here on Hive. For some reason, I kept returning to that book. Two, Hemingway spoke a lot about writing in the morning. (That's how he did it.) 100% agree that's the best way to do it.

    I'll have to check your posts out. I love the book and also have referred it it many many times on Hive.

    I find myself writing a little more recently, and while I’ve being doing actifit reports almost daily, I didn’t actually understand where they went for about a year🤦‍♂️

    These days I’m working on at least 2 value posts per week, as well as aiming to make my actifit posts somewhat more interesting. I don’t always succeed, but they are all opportunities for practice & reflection.

    2 per week and filling out your actifit posts is a great goal!

    I don’t always succeed, but they are all opportunities for practice & reflection.

    I think this is a great way of looking at it!

    Thanks @dbooster I figure I can reasonably produce 2 solid posts each week without feeling under too much pressure.

    As far as i can see, one of my greatest strengths is my willingness to admit when i suck at something, and use knowledge/feedback of specifically how/why I suck, as guidepost towards how I can improve more efficiently.

    Life long learner over here 🙋‍♂️

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    Thanks for the shout-out, David. I appreciate it. Now... to go read Slobberchops post! !LOL

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    Showing up matters even if it's manual curation or comment section xD


    Thanks for the curation. Much appreciated 🙏

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    So show up to Hive everyday. Wow something. Part of. Repeat. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece-it doesn't even have to be especially good writing-just show up and write.

    Oh dear, as a new Hivian I sincerely hope that this is Not the hive gold standard. If 'being a success' on hive is about posting daily crap then it is on a path to self destruction. Indeed, my first comment to the person who introduced me to Hive was, "Its full of crap", and I can see why it this is what is being promoted as the correct way to use hive.

    By your standards I sincerely hope I never become 'successful' on hive, but instead spend days considering and crafting my content in order to benefit people rather than add to the refuse heap of daily post irrelevances.

    Such a bad attitude won't get you far on Hive. Hive is "full of a lot of crap", yes. Many people do just shitpost here to collect upvotes and the few cents those bring. But there is also a lot of beauty on Hive. We have people blogging about their lives and their hobbies. They are not trying to craft the perfect message like a professional writer, they just want to share their lives. This is wonderful and their posts are beautiful. If you can't see that, there won't be much on Hive for you.

    Not to mention, you seem to have missed that last 25 years in blogging. Blogging groups (Hive, Wordpress, tumblr, etc) are not professional platforms. In professional areas, such as magazine writing or writing a book, then yes, one needs to take time to craft their message or an editor is likely to reject it. But in the blogging space, we are more concerned with practicing our craft, getting a message out, and making connections, and those things are best served by writing consistently and often. It is more similar to a writing group where people practice writing everyday and share their results with each other. Most people in the blogging space are not writers. Many haven't written for years before discovering blogging. Blogging gives them both practice writing—which will help their writing improve if they do it often—and a social connection that they might not have otherwise.

    I suggest you try to change the way you are looking at this space. If you are just here to put up posts and hope the upvotes magically come, you won't see much success. Hive is for connections first and foremost and you won't make many of these if you keep calling everyone's post "crap".

    Thank you. I am genuinely grateful for your post and reply which inspired my post here... 🙏

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