This is an impressive guest post by Kingsley Agu on what chess can teach us about becoming a better blogger/writer; if you love chess, you’ll love this post! You can also find out how you can play with me – if you’re interested – towards the end of this post.
I’ve been playing Chess for over 3 years now, and yet, I’ve never for once correlated its important virtue to blogging – until I played chess with Bamidele.
On the 26th of February 2013, I played a very tough Chess game with WritersinCharge’s founder, Onibalusi Bamidele, and just this single game opened my eyes to the applications of chess traits to blogging.
Below are some things the game of chess can teach you about being a better blogger and writer.
1. Constant Practice Is The Key
The story of Judit Porlar, one of the world youngest Chess prodigies of the 21st century, instantly comes to mind.
At age five she defeated a family friend without looking at the chessboard. After the game the friend joked, “You are good at chess, but I’m a good cook.”
Judit replied, “Do you cook without looking at the stove?”
An excellent rhetorical question, right?
Judit has gotten too good at Chess that she could literally play someone blindfold and still win even while at a tender age of 6. But there’s something they omitted in this story above, the truth is – at that time – she was constantly training and playing Chess 6 hours every day.
This is exactly why she could go on to defeated an International Master, Dolfi Drimer, at age 10 and a Grandmaster, Lev Gutman, at age 11.
Yea, I know you’d wowed now but don’t forget the essence of the story – it’s “practice”, constant practice, strenuous chess training, and continuous practice that made her unbeatable as a little girl.
I can personally relate with this chess story in my struggling days of writing.
When I first started this peculiar craft called “writing”, I was terribly bad at it.
It got so bad that I started considering exiting it for something better, something less hectic and less brain-twisting than writing.
Then, all of a sudden I started noticing some little improvements in my writing; words began to flow more easily unlike before when I had to think for a long time in order to get the proper words out on the screen.
But truth be told – I didn’t see improvement just by wishing that I’ll get better someday; instead, I “constantly” practiced writing every day, I kept at it, studied top writers, subscribed to many top bloggers’ blog in my niche – in other to study their writing style, and eventually all this helped me improve my writing significantly.
Are you still struggling with writing?
Do you seriously want to improve?
Then you need to keep writing; no matter the circumstances, keep writing consistently, and very soon you’ll start to notice tangible improvements in your writing.
And also read and study top bloggers’ write ups regularly – when this is done constantly, their writing style will definitely rub off on you, thereby improving your writing.
2. Don’t Give up Too Soon
I still remember a peculiar chess game I played with a very tough chess player way back in 2011. This particular guy had once defeated a regional champion before (this made people to consider him as one of the best back then).
During our chess game together, he was so confident that he was going to win me (which he literally did). He won the first 3 games easily (but I didn’t give up there), I ended up winning the 4th game.
A surprising win I’d call it – so what did that game really teach me?
It’s simple: “Don’t give up too soon”
It’s because I didn’t give up on that game that made me win the 4th; what would have happened if I had not played that last game? I wouldn’t have known that I could ever beat him in any chess game.
Likewise – When I entered the blogging world newly, I had the same mentality virtually all newbie bloggers had at the start of their own blogging career; to “get rich first and add value later” was the ultimate plan which I had in mind then (this was largely due to ignorance).
But the hard truth was – All those ignorant perceptions of mine didn’t make me become rich or famous, rather, my site’s traffic remained stagnant, subscriber count – zero, page rank – zero, online influence: vehemently – zero.
This made me devastated and tired – I started considering quitting blogging for more “tangible” things that will fetch me “quick money” in no time.
I tried HYIPs, paid surveys, and many other uncountable “fast means to make money” online, still yet, nothing worked out.
Then later on (having given up already), I had the chance to see and come across some successful bloggers (like Onibalusi Bamidele, Darren Rowse and Pat Flynn). Through reading their blogs on a consistent level – I was able to restart my blogging career again and overhaul my way of thinking.
They taught me that any blogger aiming for success online needs to add “VALUE” first on a consistent basis before the “TRAFFIC” will come. Darren Rowse specifically said this one day:
“The Internet makes money for you when you build something that is real and when it matters to people!”
And this is very true.
Also one of the things I learnt from Bamidele was how to use guest blogging to grow one’s blog. I spent a lot of time trying out this thing called “guest blogging” to see whether it will result in anything tangible for my blog compared to the one he was seeing in his blog.
With an enthusiastic spirit, I ventured into guest blogging with boldness – I tried it for the first month: no result.
So I started asking myself, “Where’s the massive traffic Bamidele said we’ll get when we start guest posting on other blogs?”
Believe me! I was nearly going crazy with worry! I even started doubting the integrity of this blog’s owner, thinking that he’s scam.
Then Something weird Happen . . .
Huge traffic started to come from some guest posts which I’ve given up on, guest post pitch were being sent to me from other bloggers? (Like seriously? Me?!), and people started commenting on my blog. This all showed me that what Bamidele was teaching all this while was truly working – I saw increment in backlinks and traffic, even seeing subscribers’ increase on my blog as emphasized by Bamidele in this article about the benefits of guest blogging.
All this showed that guest blogging works! And that he knows what he’s talking about on guest blogging. The only thing I noticed is that, it took a lot of time before I got to see the evidence that guest blogging truly works.
What point are my trying to paint above?
Everything online takes time to work out. If you‘re planning to one day make an outstanding 6 figure salary online – then you should be prepared to wait, you should be prepared to work long hours in the night and day, you should be prepared to wait months before you start seeing “tangible” proof that it works.
Don’t give up yet. Giving up won’t make you successful; rather it makes you more miserable. Always remember that Onibalusi Bamidele of this blog blogged for 8 months with no success whatsoever, but he got his first client the 9th month when he was practically not expecting it.
What would have happened to his success story had it been he stopped a month before he got his first client?
I’ll leave you to answer that.
3. Don’t Belittle Yourself
Read these two inspiring stories of two chess prodigy –
Judit Porlar (10 year old in 1986)
“ In late 1986, ten-year-old Judit participated in the Adsteam Lidums International Tournament in Adelaide, Australia. Edmar Mednis (a strong chess grandmaster) said he played his best game of the tournament against Judit (a 10 year old girl at that time).
“I was careful in that game”, he said. “Grandmasters don’t like to lose to 10-year-old girls, because then – we make the front page of all the papers.”
To paraphrase this story: 45 years old Edmar Mednis was very careful in his game against a 10 years old Judit – but at the end, Judit won the game unperturbed.
Second Story –
Paul Morphy (9 year old in 1846)
“In 1846, General Winfield Scott visited the city, and let his hosts know that he desired an evening of chess with a strong local player. Chess was an infrequent pastime of Scott’s, but he enjoyed the game and considered himself a formidable player. After dinner, the chess pieces were set up and Scott’s opponent was brought in: diminutive, nine-year-old Morphy.
Scott was at first offended, thinking he was being made fun of, but he consented to play after being assured that his wishes had been scrupulously obeyed and that the boy was a “chess prodigy” who would tax his skill. Morphy beat him easily not once, but twice, the second game ended in 6 moves from Morphy.
As two losses against a small boy was all General Scott’s ego could stand, he declined further games and retired for the night, never to play Morphy again.”
That’s basically the beauty of Chess. There is no age limit (or any little person in chess) – since a 6 year old girl can literally smack a 40 year’s old opponent ‘6 to nothing’ in no time. These little ones don’t think themselves little – since they’re practically ready to face any opponent on the chess table no matter old the person is.
My Blogging Story:
I can relate very well with these 2 stories – because when I entered the blogosphere I was so worried about whether I would ever be successful online.
My worry increased significantly when I read a survey about the mind boggling growth of the” internet” – from the survey, a magnificent “215,675,903” functional websites were online in 2009 alone, and this alone got me seriously worried. I started asking myself whether I could ever be heard in this huge place called the internet.
Well, to cut the long story short – I started hearing of a challenge which Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome was hosting, it was titled: “Niche Site Duel: create a big blog in 3 month” (similar to the Blogging Challenge Bamidele is hosting now on this blog.)
So when Pat Flynn succeeded in growing and taking his challenge blog to Google’s front page, resulting in thousands of visitors in just 3 months, and Bamidele repeated this feat in 2 months – that was when I FOUND OUT that the internet wasn’t as big as people thought it is. Just doing the right thing is all that’s needed to succeed on the internet.
From that day – I knew that I “MUST” make it online since gurus on the internet have literally started from scratch and still ended up well all over again.
So I held on to these invaluable points below which I learnt from Bamidele’s successful Blogging Challenge –
- Be Unique and you’d get royal readers in no time.
- Add and always impart value on your blog, even when no one is reading – because in no time, you’d find huge number of people reading and listening to your every update.
- Guest post frequently on top blogs – this will boost you into stardom in no time.
- All this has maximally been working for me so far; my traffic has been increasing and I’m now more confident that l can be heard online.
Do you still think that you can’t make it online?
Never let that hold you down, instead – strive to add value first, and then leave the rest to God. And I can surely assure you that success will be inevitable for you.
Around my chess clique, I’m known for playing defense in all my games. I’m very good at that. I let my opponent attack me with all his chess tactics while I defend.
And when he has exhausted all tactics known to him, then I attack hard against his already disorganized defense – which ends up putting him of guard. This sometimes helps me checkmate the king and end the game very easily.
Similarly, I was using this same approach unknowingly in blogging; I seriously battled with numerous things then that accompanied writing, ranging from the fear of failing, laziness, writers’ block, and procrastination etc.
So acting from the chess experience I had then – I enforced the “Defense” tactics I learnt from chess on each and every one of the problems.
Writers’ Block :
- I defended myself from writers’ block by –
- Reading more than I wrote – this kept me from lacking what to write about at any point in time.
- By praying for inspiration from God – this helped me in no small way in not missing my way.
- Meditating and strategizing more than I guest posted – This helped me plan each and every step I took in guest blogging.
- Relaxing maximally – It helped me relax my brain more while I wrote less (from my observations – writers’ block may likely come when writers don’t give their brain cells the relaxation they deserve.)
Fear Of Failing :
I subdued the fear of failing online by –
- Reading successful stories of top bloggers – these stories were literally about how they started also in this crowded place called the internet and how they made it.
- By seeking advice from top bloggers – I still remember the first question I asked Bamidele and the nice answer he gave me. That advice helped me cope and believe that I’d get to be like him very soon.
Laziness and Procrastination :
These were one of the most brain-twisting problems I had back then, since they literally didn’t allow me to write when I wanted to.
This is exactly how I came out of them –
- I just did the work – I promised myself that no matter how tired or lazy I was at any particular time that I must complete the job at hand.
- I started writing mainly at night to churn out guest posts and articles – This helped me finish more writing works and rest in the day time, thereby keeping procrastination far from me.
What’s your “ATTACK” strategy?
How exactly do you defend yourself from all this factors above that cause bloggers to fail every day?
Being able to defend yourself against procrastination, fear of failing, laziness and writers’ block will surely make you a success in no time.
Always remember to follow a To-Do list, I use it and it works for me perfectly.
In Conclusion. . .
I’m seriously guessing you’ve been literally trying to figure out who won in the chess game between me and Bamidele. Well, it isn’t what I can say myself.
If you want to really know – come play me or Bamidele.
You can add me on Chess.com with this username – “kascoagu”. Also add Bamidele with “delonibalusi”
Note from Bamidele: In case you’re wondering, Kingsley won the game the other day. I’ve since won a few game against him thereafter… lol but it’ll be great to play with you one of these days if you’re interested 🙂
Don’t forget to share and leave your comments below. Thanks for reading.
Kingsley Agu is a weird freelance writer and the editor of SmartDailyWritingTips.com. If you’re looking to grow your business, generate better leads and improve sales, then hire Kingsley to write quality and persuasive contents for you.