On September 1st, I started writing and publishing 500 words a day, every day. Some days it’s been easier than others but I won’t ever say it’s been easy. I could have taken the path of creating a blogging calendar and batching my writing time. I could have decided to write for 6 hours on the weekend to knock out my posts for the week.
But, that wasn’t the point.
The point was to build up my writing muscle. The point was to exercise creativity. The point was to see how many ideas I could come up with and how many different styles of writing I could try out. The point was to begin the elusive process of really finding my voice.
Some days, it seems like nothing is happening. I get up, I write, I publish, I share and I move on with my day. And then…well, nothing. Somewhere in dreamworld, it seems like if you just locked in and built some momentum with writing, the ground should begin to shake and something should begin to happen. But, when I think about it, I’ve only been writing these blog posts consistently since September 1st. That’s about 105 hours or so. If you believe Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers premise of 10,000 hours for mastery, then I’ve got 9,895 hours to go to achieve it. At my current pace, that’s about 220 more months. Put differently, that’s 18.3 more years of writing one 500 word blog post a day. I’m not sure I have that much time to create momentum.
After my first 30 days, I wrote what I was learning. Now, 60+ days in, what are some of the new things I’ve learned?
- Don’t overthink it. I’m realizing that what kept me back from writing in many cases was me simply overthinking what I was writing. I hate editing. Always have. I never did my papers more than once in college. First draft. Hand ‘em in. That’s what worked for me. I couldn’t stand the thought of going over the words a second, third, fourth or fifth time. I’m not sure why I got stuck later on. But, there was some gold in that process. Now, I’m pouring my heart into the first, doing a quick check for grammar and spelling. Then I leave it. I may come back for a “readers” pass before publishing but I’m not overthinking it. Will my process change? Maybe. I’m still growing.
- Keep reading other writers. As you search for your voice, you have to read and listen to the voice of others. No, I’m not reading to be like them. I’m reading to hear the uniqueness of my own. I’m reading much more deeply than the words now. I’m reading the heart of what is being said. I’m reading the emotion behind each word and visualizing the writers facial expression as they complete each paragraph. This is learning at its most heartfelt.
- I ask the question, should I focus on the craft or focus on the money? Both! I’m studying ways to monetize this but still focusing on being able to do it with quality and not cheap clickbait. I’m also looking at what others are doing here. I’ll let you know what works for me.
- Headlines are hard. I’m writing but I want to write stuff that people will read. So, I use Headline Analyzer and the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer to check how my headlines are coming along. Do I use them every time? No. Sometimes I just want to write and not worry about the click value. There is value in just writing for the sake of writing sometimes. I’m building muscle.
- Let others know you are reading what they are writing and learning from them. I’m not the only writer out here who is sometimes “in their feelings.” We all seek validation in some way. So, it’s just nice to let people know you enjoyed what they’ve emitted with their creative power. Comment, respond, recommend, share, tweet. Pay it forward with the work of others. I’ve formed a few new relationships simply because I tweeted out an article from another blogger.
I’m sure I have more to learn. But, I wouldn’t be learning if I wasn’t applying myself to the process. Don’t wait for the process to come to you. Dive in and take charge of it. You might be surprised what you learn.