Today is day 10 of my 30 day writing challenge.
I wasn't feeling like writing today, so I told myself "just get something out there" and keep the chain going.
And on a milestone day like today, I wanted to reflect on a few things I've learned so far:
Right now, it's taking me around 2-3 hours to produce each post. Some of the lazier posts take just under a couple hours, and my review of "Rewire Your Anxious Brain" was a few days in the making and took upwards of 10 hours, including 7 yesterday.
But, like I talked about on day 1, there are ways to make it easier: using voice transcription software to "loosen" up your mind, sending emails to yourself from your phone - and a new tip: turn off your computer monitor and just write for 30 minutes.
The only way to keep this up is to remove your inhibitions. Curb your perfectionism. Don't start in edit mode - start in brain dump mode - and edit later. The key is to make it easy.
Here's what I wrote about in the last 10 days:
I thought I'd be struggling to find topics to write about. And that's true, many days felt like a struggle, but it turns out I had more to say than I thought.
What I realized is that you need a content pipeline.
You need to be constantly thinking "oh, this might be some great content". This does a couple things. First it makes life a little more interesting as you're constantly surveying for something to turn into a post. Second, it forces you to learn better, as you only can write a post if you've thought clearly and done your research.
But the other reason you need a content pipeline - it's the same reason why companies have a backlog of things they will rarely, if ever, get to. A backlog is similar to the "deleted scenes" from a movie, except the items on a backlog haven't been made yet. They exist as a foil to the actual content that gets created. It's as if to say, "I chose to write about this topic OVER every topic on the backlog."
That selection, of choosing the topic that you did against everything in your backlog means that you're more excited about a given topic than everything else on your list. That excitement will shine through, and make your writing better.
It's good to have options.
On its best day, my website had 60 visitors. This was almost entirely from Reddit, regarding a book summary I had written (about The Boron Letters). On most days, I get single digits.
Very few people will read your stuff and that’s ok. (see the next point for why)
I’m not gonna lie, a big part of why I’m doing this is to eventually learn SEO. But right now, SEO is such a far out day dream. I have no organic clicks, no back links, and no strategy to get them. My daily visitors routinely number in the single digits, although recently I might be getting closer to 10.
I want these numbers to go up eventually, but right now, I don't really mind if they stay small for a while - the writing itself has been worth it.
Simply sharing my writing with friends and family has enriched my conversations.
At work (and previously in school), I love good meetings when everyone had done the reading and came prepared with their questions, comments, and insights.
When I share my content with my friends and family, it’s like I force them to do the reading and now the conversations are primed with rich fodder to discuss.
This alone has been worth it, and is the primary reason I write. Sometimes I write with a family member in mind. Other times, it's a couple friends. But my best stuff, I want to share with someone specific - and when I do that, my writing improves (hard to run the counterfactual, so you're just gonna have to take my word for it).
I still have 20 days to go! But I’ve already learned a lot from the first 10.
Today was supposed to be a “mail it in” day, a cop out, but I kind of like what I have. Will probably do another one of these at day 20, and of course, another one at day 30 (look at me, thinking in terms of a content pipeline).