How Self-Help Writing Can Enrich Your Life And Make You Happier


Have you ever asked yourself why the self-help sections in bookstores are so huge? Self-help writing has become so popular, especially in the U.S., and this is not a coincidence; there are numerous reasons why self-improvement represents a lucrative market for bloggers, online writers and copywriters. Even those who state that they are happy with their lives always leave some space for self-improvement.

You may already have an idea of what self-help is but that understanding should be deepened by the range of self-improvement topics you could write about.

What Is Self-Help Writing

The idea of self-help is nothing new, but only in the 20th century did it become a mass phenomenon.

A conventional view of self-help is that it deals with problems, but the essence of self-help is that it actually deals with possibilities.

I’ve read somewhere that self-help has a new name nowadays – literature of possibility. Most people would accept the thought that "common unhappiness" is the doom of humankind. However, there are those who refuse to accept that we have to be defined by life difficulties, troubles, misfortunes and slowdowns, although these may be real. If you fall under the latter category, you may be a great candidate for self-help writing.

What Self-Help Writing Is NOT

Self-help writing is not about the fantasies of the ego. Instead, it’s about "the identification of a project, goal, ideal, or way of being where you can make a big difference. In so doing, you can transform a piece of the world – and yourself along with it." I was enlightened by this thought reading the book Fifty Self-Help Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon. I borrowed the book from the library and I’m taking it back only when I’ve ordered my own copy from Amazon.

The book will introduce you to the world of self-help and explain the main thoughts of different self-help writers, carefully chosen as representatives of self-help classics.

If you get your hand on this book, be sure to have a notebook and a piece of paper to write down some powerful quotes; there are many of them in this book and you’ll want to remember them. Even if you aren’t planning to write about self-help topics, this book can shed a light on quite a few "life questions" and help you understand how to think in order to improve your life and be happier.

How To Write Self-Help Content?

Self-help writing is not purely informational; it comes with a benefit – economic, intellectual or emotional. It doesn’t have to go so deep and explain only how to be your own best friend and supporter, and express faith in your essential greatness. Although you can develop this philosophy and decide to write about deeper subjects, you can also explore the small, almost unnoticed, everyday life situations and needs, and write about them from the self-help perspective.

Modern copywriting is built on the belief that people have to read about the benefits of the challenge, project, product or any topic you’ve chosen to write about – not the features. These can be explained in a few brief sentences, but benefits are the food for the hungry.

My Discoveries

A number of self-help writings offers specific guidance, for example on relationships, diet, money and career, or self-confidence, but the central idea of self-help writing is "man thinks – realistically, but positively." The huge diversity of the genre can be explored with SeekSuccess, a challenging self-help website, that gives you the opportunity to learn more about self-improvement, craft your writing and improve your knowledge, online experiences, lifestyle, earnings, and much more.

When I first signed up for SeekSuccess, I thought I’d go for bookmarks first and see how things will go on the site. However, after doing some testing and meeting the hard-working owner and administrator, I started to explore the site a little deeper and tried to understand what it’s all about. It has all the common features of a user-generated website, yet somehow it differs from all of them. Finally, self-help as a topic caught my attention and after doing some investigation, I realized that this topic is what makes the site different. The question was: what was I going to write about?

I took a closer look at the sub-topics and found many that interested me even without knowing that they fall under the category of self-help content. Further thinking and the strong influence of master copywriters, such as Andy Maslen, Maria Veloso and others (thanks to hubber Susana S for recommending these), I’ve also realized that the self-help website can be of enormous help in crafting my copywriting skills and applying them on other websites where I contribute with my content.

Great Thinkers Mentioned In Self-Help Writing

Among others, Tom Butler-Bowdon included The Bible, The Bhagavad-Gita, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin as self-help classics in his book. Although these books haven’t been thought of as self-help books, Bowdon argues for their inclusion (and quite successfully, if I may notice).

Abraham Lincoln is sometimes mentioned in self-help writing because of his idea of "limitless thinking." Other classics are: Dale Carnegie, Paulo Coelho (maybe my favorite author in Bowdon's classics list; he listed The Alchemist, but I could add a few more by Coelho),The Dalai Lama, John Gray (Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus), Lao Tzu, Thomas Moore, Henry David Thoreau, Ralf Waldo Emerson, Norman Vincent Peale, and many others.

The Future Of Self-Help

It’s interesting that every book on copywriting mentions and explains the 80/20 principle. I found that self-books mention and explain this principle, too; as Bowdon put it:

"Success now and in the future comes from being more yourself; if you are willing to express your uniqueness, you will inevitably contribute something of real value to the world. This has a moral dimension to it, but also makes economic and scientific sense."

Back To You

Christopher Buckley, an American political satirist and novelist, the author of God Is My Broker said that the only way to get rich from a self-help book was to write one. Maybe you have noticed, like I did, that not all self-help books are so good or valuable to the reader. That’s why I like the idea of SeekSuccess and their focus on self-help writing; the content is free and available to everybody (and there’s obviously interest in the topic).

Remember, self-help is a huge genre. When you try out self-help writing, don’t stick to “self-help” as your keyword. Take a look at the topics and make a connection with your writing style, the niche you’re dominating, or the usual topics you like writing about.

How to Become Successful The SeekSuccess Way

Are you a self-published author? Is there something you would like to share about your experience and you think it might be valuable to others?

Do you have right on the spot information about money making and careers you’d like to write about, and you believe people can actually benefit from this information?

Experience in relationships, spirituality, lifestyle? Hair loss? A hobby? Are you an Internet freak who knows something new about SEO? Health? Anything else?

Why SeekSuccess Is Not Successful

Unfortunately, there aren't enough people who are interested in writing on this website because it still hasn't reached the point needed to monetize the efforts. For most people who write online content on user-generated sites, making money is the No.1 goal and if this goal isn't achieved in a short period of time, they are likely to give up. It's just like with young unexperienced people looking for a job; they apply for different jobs and the biggest problem is that employers look for people with experience. If you don't start somewhere, how do you get this experience? A total paradox.

Your Opinion On Self-Help Writing

Have you expanded your horizons with this self-help hub?

  • Yes, I haven’t thought about it much before.
  • Yes, but self-help has always interested me.
  • No, this was a boring read.
  • No, I’m familiar with this point of view.
See results without voting

If there’s something you’d like to add or ask about self-help, SeekSuccess, or share your self-help writing experiences, let everybody know in the comments!

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Comments On Self-Help Writing 43 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

An interesting hub Vox! I'm still looking at that site that you mentioned....SeekSuccess....I'll probably join it but sometimes it takes me a long time to shift into gear on something new. Thanks for the great information!

writtenworks profile image

writtenworks 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

That was a really well written article. I love how you referenced Abraham Lincoln, and Dale Cernegie. Dale Cernegie's book How To Win Friend's And Influence People is one of my personal favorites. More so than a specific example, I want to speak to the philosophy behind what self improvement is. Self Improvement is a mindset, an idea that you can become more, overcome your difficulties, and go beyond where you currently are.

It is very easy to get stuck in a limited mindset and feel that you can not achieve anything more, or anything else, because that is all you have known.

50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, are some people that came from nothing to amount to so much. There are numerous stories like this all around the globe of people who broke through the mold and criticism to become something.

If you look around you, everything was created by someone. Every object, every material, every light. Someone figured out how to create everything around you, everything. Without innovation and the concept of breaking through the molds of society and what society believes is possible you would have never seen any creation around you.

I believe in being the most incredible person you possibly can. What you don't know, I believe you can learn, what's not in reach, can be found, what you don't have, you can gain.

The sky is the limit and the possibilities are limitless (as Abraham Lincoln was pointing out hehe). I love the fact that with sites like SeekSuccess there is a focus on this critically important core information.

Writing is a real art form and I have come to gain a lot of respect for good writers. Writing well takes time, craft, and genious, just as any other field. There are a million ways to put words together, but it takes people with incredible creativity and inner imagination to put the words together in written form that bring out an idea and an image in the minds of people who read the material. To put the material together in a manner that can be easily understood, and where a key message can be put across to your readers takes a lot of skill.

Writing well provides incredible value to readers. I am really happy that SeekSuccess is around because there is so much possibility for good writing and authors to benefit from it.

myownlife profile image

myownlife 4 years ago from london

Great information shared. Good job buddy.

Interesting information .

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

@billybuc: Take your time my friend, SeekSuccess will be there when you're ready :) Thank you for taking the time and reading my hub!

@writtenworks: Nice explanation! I'm looking forward to crafting my writing skills at SeekSuccess and learning more about this powerful subject :)

@myownlife: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Glad you found this information about self-help interesting!

PWalker281 4 years ago

This is a wonderful hub, Jasmine, that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I wrote self-help articles when I first signed on at HubPages, but shifted gears about a year ago to focus on crochet. And while I've been thinking about shifting back to the self-help genre, I haven't yet decided what I want to focus on. I'll definitely have to check out SeekSuccess a little more carefully. I had no idea this was the main thrust of the site when I was first asked to join several months ago. I guess timing is everything.

Thanks again for this inspirational hub. Voted up, across, and shared.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

Thank you for the compliments, thumb ups and shares, Patrice! I'm glad you liked the hub, especially because I highly appreciate you as a writer. Focusing on different niches is always a positive thing; obviously crochet and self-help topics are your passions so I believe you'll enjoy SeekSuccess very much. It's a new site so it currently lacks interaction between members, but new sign ups and new content will make it happen. I find the whole idea very inspirational myself. Hope to see you there my friend, and I would be very interested in reading your articles on the topic. I'm convinced you can offer so much and contribute with helpful and encouraging reads!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi Jasmine, this is great and has really kicked me up the butt so to speak! I know about a few topics really thoroughly and have never got around to writing about them to help other people yet, nice one! lol! and I will go and check out that site, thanks!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, just came back to say, I like SeekSuccess! the layout struck me straight away as its like hubs! thanks! I will definitely be giving it a go as my second site, I have tried so many, but they are not familiar to me, but I like this one!

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

Thanks for coming back, Nell! I was pleasantly surprised with the design of SeekSuccess myself. Justin (the owner) announced some great new features so I believe we'll have fun there, too. I especially like the fact that the site has a defined goal and a focus on topics that are really interesting and beneficial. Looking forward to seeing you there :)

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

I just saw that you posted the comment before the "come back" one, Nell! I'm glad we share the passion for self-help topics. Hope to see you aboard :)

tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

I haven't thought about writing self help articles, but that would be very interesting and a great alternative. I am going to check that out. My favorite self help guru is Dr. Phil. He gets a bum rap sometimes but I think he is a genius. I love his style. This is a very informative hub!

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

Thanks, Tammy! Phil McGraw is obviously a controversial person and I haven't been paying much attention to his work, but since you think highly of him, I'll check him out. Self-help writers are always in demand so I think that a self-help website, such as SeekSuccess, is a great idea and a valuable resource for both online writers and readers.

Milli Thornton 4 years ago

Great hub. I've been doing self-help writing for a long time, with my book, blog and online courses--but I rarely think of it in that vein. I'm just doing what comes naturally. But reading your hub has got me looking at it in a different way.

Also, thanks for sharing your tips about Fifty Self-Help Classics. It would not have occurred to me to read that (because I've read way too many self-help books myself and got bored with it for a while), but I think I'll check it out. You've made a case for it being worthwhile for anyone who writes in this genre.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

I'm glad this hub shed a new light on self-help writing, Milli! What's the name of your book? Nice to have met someone who knows more about the topic. The Fifty Self-Help Classics is a great book, although some people might be questioning the position of some books on the list. Bowdon argues for their inclusion quite successfully, though. Because SeekSuccess focuses on self-improvement, I'll take my chances there with this type of content.

Milli Thornton 4 years ago

My book is called Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers.

Not your typical self-help title (it's a very small niche), but it's been a bit of a grassroots classic among people who suffer from fear of writing since it was published in 2000. I used the methods from the book to cure my own savage case of fear of writing--and I've made many friends through the process of spreading the word about my book--so it's been a very personal journey for me. Thanks for asking!

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

A writer like you experienced the fear of writing? I find that hard to believe! I think you're a great writer, and although I always tend to be nice to people and show that I appreciate them, I don't really give compliments on writing that easily. I've just checked your book at Amazon and looked inside; I'd say it's a typical self-help title - just a bit more creative :) I'll get my hands on the book as soon as I can and offer some more feedback once I've read it. In the meantime, I love what you wrote there - for me, writing is suffering, not fun lol But, that means I'm on the right track, right?

Milli Thornton 4 years ago

LOL! Well, it means you've got all the signs and symptoms of being a writer. But I don't believe you have to continue to suffer. If you do decide to get my book, it will show you ways to put the fun back into your writing. That was what cured me - that, and doing it repeatedly (i.e., having fun while I wrote). I rarely suffer any more when I write. Of course, it wasn't an overnight cure. It's a bit like HubPages: you won't get the results you want unless you keep practicing the method over and over.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

I agree. Actually, in my case, it's suffering and enjoyment at the same time. The biggest problem I have is procrastination. Normally, I'm good at multitasking, however, dealing with a few things at once sometimes slows me down. I even read a few books at the same time. I also paint, and when I do, I paint a few paintings at the same time. Maybe it's a bad habit and maybe just an irreparable characteristic of a typical Gemini!

Milli Thornton 4 years ago

I hear ya on the multitasking question. Sometimes it seems beneficial, and sometimes it's just a way to split focus and give less of ourselves to each area. Good luck with the procrastination too. I will be eager to hear how it all works out for you. Do you have a written plan of any kind? It seems to me that, these days, a writer needs a writing and marketing plan combined. Mine is sprawling (and some of it is still on sticky notes) but it gives me a firm direction to go in. Therefore, less procrastination.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

I'll start with the 7 steps to write consistently as suggested by writtenworks (here on HP). Also, you pointed out the importance of saving your first drafts and re-writing the texts later - this seems to be the best habit I can develop, especially because of the multitasking issue. You'll be among the first to know how the whole thing works for me :)

Milli Thornton 4 years ago

Great plan! I read writtenworks hub about writing consistently and you can't go wrong with that. Combining that with rewriting your first drafts after they've cooled off will put you way ahead.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

I think so, too! Can't wait to see the results :) Thanks for the encouragement.

Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

I love your perspective of self-help being about possibilities! Of course it is, though I've never seen it described like that before. I also love the title of this hub and I've certainly found that to be true! Every time I write a self-help article I learn from it myself. Sometimes I wonder if all self-help authors are really writing for themselves.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

Hi, Melovy! You make a good point there. I believe that all self-help writers also learn from their own work. That's why I think this type of content is the best content you can create. Benefits go both ways. I've decided to write self-help content on SeekSuccess, though. It's a self-help website, so...Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it :)

writtenworks profile image

writtenworks 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

It is an interesting thought that maybe self-help materials are written for the writer themselves to benefit :) But I would like to add to this that self improvement embraces a simple concept practiced by many and imo inherent in everything people do. People by nature do what is in their best interests; to create a good business dwelling, you turn a situation into a win-win where employees, or clients benefit, and so do you. Well, this is how any great interaction takes place, the beauty of a beneficial article is it helps the author reflect on improving himself, and the reader benefits as well.

Take the four semesters of intensive Spanish classes I took for example. Those classes helped me understand grammar better in my own language! Any possible benefit will help lead us to something better, and something more! Nothing could be worth more than improvement!

These are the concepts that embody the SeekSuccess site. I hope everyone out there benefits from it!

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

I love the concept of SeekSuccess. Just by becoming a member, even at the time when the site is still hungry for content and new writers, I've already learned a lot.

writtenworks profile image

writtenworks 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

An idea is really what drives anything. Because the idea and foundation of SeekSuccess is so strong, logical, and makes sense, I feel that the site will really end up benefiting everyone.

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Great idea Jasmine and a great concept. I could see how this could be beneficial to one. I think it is important to lay out goals and future plans. Go out and take care of each one a project or goal at a time. Self-writing is beneficial, but I must admit I haven't thought about doing it before. Worth trying, can see the many positives.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

Glad you feel that way, Ricky :) Yes, it's a great concept and the main reason why I'm eager to start writing on the website.

writtenworks profile image

writtenworks 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

Let's be honest, there are a ton of things you can write on, and good, well written content is always to be valued. The concept of self-help, however, is a different concept. It is the idea of benefiting others specifically in the content of your material. With the goal of benefit you provide a win win situation where readers take something away and hopefully improve. This is a concept and a constant learning process. I believe, however, from my limited experience about really good writers that there is a lot of respect to pay towards people who know how to write well. It is definitely an art form, and to be able to use words so well to convey a great message to others definitely takes a lot of creativity and skill. Keep up the good work!

suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

vox: This is quite interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing this site with us - I will definitely check it out. I have read some of the authors you have mentioned and you are spot on! They really do teach us how to approach life in a positive and enthusiastic way. Thanks for reminding me of this! Voted up and shared!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

This is definitely an interesting article. Many things would fall into the category of self-help writing. I was unfamiliar with that website you mentioned but will have a look at it. Up votes and thanks!

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

Hi Suzette and Peggy!

I've started showing interest in self-help topics since I got to know Justin, the owner of SeekSuccess. He had finished the Quick Start Guide and the Help Documentation and then we both took a longer pause because the last summer months kept us pretty busy in our private lives. The site is still small and waiting for new members. If you don't mind being a part of a small community or start one, we'll be happy to see you there, too.

Thank you both for the comments, compliments and the votes up :)

manthy profile image

manthy 4 years ago from Alabama,USA

I agree writing about yourself can be very enriching

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

Well, self-help writing isn't really about writing about yourself (literally), but it reflects on life in general, especially the ways you can help yourself and others to make life better and more interesting or abundant. Thanks for the comment, manthy!

janshares profile image

janshares 4 years ago from Washington, DC

Very nice, informative and very original hub. Great ideas we writers can think about. I think I already write some of my hubs with a self-help flavor. I see now how I may be able to take it further. Thank you, voted up, interesting, and took survey.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

Hi, janshares! I'm glad that reading this hub inspired some new ideas. I have to check those self-help flavored hubs you wrote. Thanks for stopping by!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Excellent and informative article! When I complete a few more writing goals, I'll look into SeekSuccess. Sounds like a site that will interest me. Thanks for this great hub. Voted up and sharing.

Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image

Ian Dabasori Hetr 3 years ago from Papua New Guinea

Good one. I salute you for the hub. I am an educator and I believe my life has been truly blessed in tryng to help others. Serve first before being served is my philoshophy.Keep writing as you and I have reasons to write. That is to serve and make this world a lovely place to live. Cheers

PinoyMom profile image

PinoyMom 23 months ago from Philippines

Great hub. Voted up.

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 21 months ago from Long Island, NY

I realize you wrote this hub a long time ago and I don't see that you've been logging into HubPages lately. So you may never see this comment.

I just wanted to say that I found SeekSuccess very interesting. You must be proud that they used your profile as an example in their tutorial, which I read to see if I'd be interested in writing on that site.

As you may know, I have several self-help articles on HubPages and I wrote a self-help paperback book. So SeekSuccess is a good venue for me to consider for further self-help writing.

It's interesting how they provide the ability to have both a "display name" and an "author name" because that's what HubPages started doing some time ago.

I like the fact that they let us use both our AdSense ID and our Amazon Associates ID for revenue sharing.

There is one thing that stands in my way. I decided not to waste time on that site because I see that the moderator, Justin Hansen, only has 5 people following him. And after two years you only have 5 people following you too. After seeing all the good stuff, I think I'll pass.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 20 months ago Author

Hi Glen! Thanks for taking the time to write your comment.

I wrote most of the tutorials for both SeekSuccess and Seekyt (if they're still there) but stopped writing online because it took so much time and never really paid off. It was fun, though and a useful learning experience.

Unfortunately, SeekSuccess didn't make any progress because there weren't enough people interested in the site to get it started, which is a pity because Justin did a lot of work with the website.

There are no revenue-sharing sites I could recommend, simply because I wasn't successful in terms of monetization, but to make friends and useful contacts Hubpages is definitely No. 1. :)

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 20 months ago from Long Island, NY

Hi Jasmine, it's good to see you're still around. Thanks for that update on SeekSuccess. I guess it would be best to update this hub with that info. That's the only way to monetize successfully.

I don't spend as much time writing as I spend time keeping my hubs up to date with both information as well as changes required for Google to respond well to it.

With that said, I find HubPages to be the best site in terms of monetization, especially since I get paid monthly.

Hope to see more of your writing again if you ever decide to get back into it. But I just noticed you wrote a hub about why you're not. So I'm going to check that out now.

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