Yesterday, in the almost four years it’s been around, for the first time ever, I managed to post on my blog every day for seven days in a row.
To put that in context, previously I managed to post – on average – about 1.5 times a month (and those half articles weren’t particularly great I can tell you).
(I even managed to post articles on two other websites I run as well #humblebrag).
And it’s not about posting as some kind of fake, abstract goal. Or pretending that every article is some kind of Pulitzer Prize contender. But doing so has helped me to:
- get my ideas in order
- better connect with people I already know
- connect with new interesting people
- create a ‘body of work’ that I can refer people to if they ask me about the same topic in future
- stop caring about what other people will think if I start posting every day(!)
- create something I’ll probably look back on and cringe about in the future 🙂
I’m not saying that you should automatically do the same, but if you’re interested in increasing your creative output in some way or other, here’s what worked for me.
Write for yourself
I don’t consider my blog my work. I consider my blog an outlet for the voice that’s in my head, and even if no one read my blog, I would keep writing it. Once my subconscious knows that something is due, it’s more likely to verbalise the things I see around me. Writing my blog is a privilege.
– Seth Godin on Hack the Entrepreneur
(Has written over 5,000 articles for his blog).
Write for yourself. If you want to create something meaningful and fulfilling, something that lasts and speaks to people, the counterintuitive but really really necessary thing is that you must not write for people. The second you begin to write for or to a so called audience – and this applies equally to podcasting and film-making and photography and dance and any field of creative endeavour – the second you start doing it for an audience you’ve lost the long game.
Because creating something that is rewarding and sustainable over the long run, requires most of all keeping yourself excited about it. Which in turn, of course, requires only doing things that you yourself are interested in, that enthuse you.
– Maria Popova on the Tim Ferriss Show
(Writes a blog (Brain Pickings) which reaches over five million people every month).
Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, your story will get pneumonia.
– Kurt Vonnegut (via Maria Popova)
Use what you brain is already working on
I write several blog posts for every one that you get to read. I keep them on slips of paper. I keep them in Notes on my iPhone. I keep them in ISIS in my Mac. They get improved. They get rewritten. They get deleted. Sometimes it will get deleted shortly before it was going to be seen by everyone. Sometimes they get deleted months before it would be seen by everyone.
If I see something in the world and I don’t understand how it works or why it works, I try to figure out why. Then once I figure out why. If there’s an insight there that I think is worth sharing, I have the privilege of sharing it.
– Seth Godin on Hack the Entrepreneur
I think the key to being interesting is being interested and enthusiastic about those interests. That’s contagious. That’s what makes people read you and come back, which by the way should and can only ever be a by product of your own willingness to keep coming back to your work, to your creation.
Because if you do it for other people, trying to predict what they’ll be interested in and kind of pretzeling yourself to fit those expectations, you soon begin to begrudge it and become embittered and it begins to show in the work, it always always shows in the work, when you resent it.
– Maria Popova on the Tim Ferris Show
And you might find…
Writer’s block is a phony, made up BS excuse for not doing your work.
– Jerry Seinfeld (via Ryan Holiday)
Of course I’m only seven, now eight, articles in and there’s no guarantee I’ll stick to it. But I did get unstuck and it did make a noticeable difference.
Hopefully this article helps you do the same too, if that’s what you want to do.
PS If you’re a regular reader you might’ve noticed the shift from articles on ‘how to do stuff in WordPress etc’ to articles about business / whatever my brain is thinking about in general. I’m still enjoying writing and sharing ‘how to’ articles and recommendations, but from now on I’ll be posting most of them over at the ThemeValet blog. If you’d like to receive these kinds of articles again, just go ahead and subscribe.
PPS If you want to write more I also recommend grabbing a copy of Dan Norris’ Content Machine book when it comes out next month. Dan has been extremely successful in building up his WP Curve business with content marketing and is a great example to learn from. It’s also free between 10 and 13 August. Just go to contentmachine.com and enter your email address for a free copy.