There is something I have noticed the past few days that mirrors my own experience. Successful online writing is almost always measured in years. Sure, there is the rare overnight success. But, for the most part, if there is an online writer that you respect or whose name is recognizable in the circles in which you read, it is likely they have been at it for many years. Some examples…

In his wonderful, and I would argue essential, recent post — Designing blogs for readers — by Matt Gemmell, he mentions that he has been blogging for eleven years.

John Gruber, in mentioning his latest round of T-shirts for sale, mentions that he has been writing Daring Fireball full time for seven years. He has been writing online far longer than that.

Jason Kottke has been writing at for fifteen years. But I started reading him online well before that, when he lived here in the Twin Cities and wrote a blog called Oscill8.

And, of course, the first post on this site is November, 7 2003 (going on ten years). But the blog had been one internal to my employer at the time for about a year before that.

My point being this, I get a lot of people who are relatively new to online writing asking me what it takes to be successful at it. I think one of the main things is simply showing up and doing it for a long time. Not only are you bound to get better at it from such constant long term practice, but audiences are built reader by reader over the long term as well.

This was just as true of all of the writers mentioned above. They all started with a single post and just kept showing up year after year. If you would like similar success, that is the place to start.

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