I’ve Written 150,000+ Words In The Last 2 Years — Here’s What I Learned
My blog has helped turn me into the bad ass human I am today. Here are my favorite moments and the best takeaways that will help you change your life as well.
My first post was about my ex, a little over 500 words, and riddled with grammatical errors…
Looking back on that post (and almost every other one I wrote in the first 2–6 months) makes me cringe.
It’s beautiful in essence, and I gave it everything I had, but it was complete garbage. If my 3rd grade teacher would have had to grade it there would have been more red ink than black.
But that’s completely normal.
If you start something new and aren’t a complete failure in the beginning, your’e not challenging yourself enough.
Even looking back on my undeniably mediocre writing in those days, I knew inside of myself that I was meant to write. All that was missing was a ton of practice and guided mentorship.
So practice and learn I did.
Slowly but surely my readership grew. My skills and ideas begin to steadily expand as well. Friends and family were starting to get value (instead of only being annoyed for social spamming them) out of what I posted.
Then, I had a special moment that solidified my dream of wanting to blog and produce content for a living.
My first (kind of?) viral moment
You see, I am a Millennial. If you’re like me, you know that statement doesn’t carry much weight. We are about as diverse a group as you can get across multiple areas of our lives.
But being the curious fellow I am, i’ve always been fascinated in how we’re perceived on a macro scale by society.
So I’m used to reading articles about my particular cohort.
One day however, I read one last article claiming that all Millennials were entitled, narcissistic, and lazy, and I snapped.
The issue wasn’t that these writers were wrong, or that my feelings were hurt. Some parts of their assessments I agreed with. The problem was that they were overly biased, anecdotal, and misinterpreted what I felt were the strengths or roots of the of the collect spirit of my generation.
I had to do something about it.
So I whipped up a Google doc, and started furiously typing away. I tirelessly scoured the internet for articles and publications that gave facts about Millennials and described our contributions to society in an unbiased fashion.
At the time I was simply blowing off steam. It was more of a focused rant than an article that I wanted the world to see and like. But I wrote it. All 1100 words (which I thought was a novel back then).
Did I feel any better after it was finished? Nope. So I came up with a brilliant plan.
“I’ve got to shamelessly distribute this across the entire internet and bombard all of my social media accounts.” Great plan Ken.
So share I did. To Twitter, and Facebook, telling everyone I knew to read and enjoy. But then, I did something I don’t normally do.
I posted it on LinkedIn and a crazy thing happened.
It exploded. Getting shared, liked, and commented on left and right. It was amazing. I had never experienced that kind of reception to any of my writing at that stage in my development.
People of all ages were applauding my uninhibited and positive spin on my generation’s potential and impact to the world. At the time, it was read by over 1000 people in multiple countries across the world.
That may not be Huffington post type reach, but for me it was ridiculously exciting.
Truth is, you never know when that special moment might happen for you.
From that moment on, I decided that i’d never stop writing. From then until now i’ve written well over 150,000 words in the last two years. It has taught me a great deal .
The awesome lessons i’ve learned
1. The 10,000 hours cliche’ is not a joke
You’ve got to put in the time people.
If there is anything that has grown my skill set more than any other method in the different fields i’m successfully involved in, it’s good ol’ fashioned experience.
Two skills that I implore you to work on if you’re struggling with achieving any goal in your life is patience and dedication.
These two skills are at the core of any successful person. From Elon Musk, to Gary Vaynerchuk, and George Takei. They all knew what they wanted to accomplish, and stayed working towards those goals for as long as they needed to until they happened.
Especially when times were tough.
I knew my writing was terrible in the beginning. My peers confirmed that by not liking, commenting on, or sharing almost anything I wrote. But I carried on anyway.
Working, learning, and improving day after day.
Right now, decide on what you want. Decide on what you want your future self to be and what you want your life to be like. Then put in the work.
Work after you get home from your job. Read books and articles online about your area of interest. Go out to a meetup downtown and find someone more experienced than you and learn from them.
Then practice, practice, practice every single day until you’re great.
Do that, get to those 10,000 hours, and you will be great.
2. You only truly fail when you decide to stop trying
I’m sure that was rough for some of you to hear. Blaming others and your surroundings is a lot easier than enduring the pain and difficulty of taking responsibility.
But to quote Rocky, “That ain’t how winnin’ is done”.
Having a victim’s mentality is the worst thing you can do to yourself. You completely give away your control over your life and the ability to manifest your own destiny.
I remember wondering why my blog wasn’t making me money yet in the first 6–8 months of it’s existence. Or why I didn’t have a million followers or thousands of social media shares.
My brain instantly came up with any and every excuse of why things weren’t working out EXACTLY the way I wanted to. It also became quite talented at finding reasons of why I should give up.
There were plenty of times when I did want to quit. When I spent an entire week crafting what I thought would be the perfect article, but it only got 10 total view. When I read an ebook on how to capture more subscribers to my email list, and my techniques only resulted in a handful of new followers.
But I didn’t.
I knew that it would be easy to quit, and chalk my temporary road blocks up as reasons that I wasn’t “meant” to do this, or simply accept the fact that I was a failure.
However, I also made a promise to myself, that no matter what, I wouldn’t give up. If I wanted to be successful someday, I couldn’t quit. No matter how long it took.
So, when you feel like giving up, and your brain starts lying to you with some excuse of why it’s a good idea. Punch it straight in the face, take back your ball, and never sleep over at it’s house again.
When you start to work on something you love and care about, you’ve got to understand from DAY ONE that you’re either going to accomplish it, or die trying.
Channel your inner 50 cent.
Failure does not exist. It isn’t a real thing. When you reach an obstacle on your journey it’s rare that what you’re experiencing is ever permanent or irreversible.
There is almost always something to be learned from, gained, and fixed about what you’re going through. It simply takes time and patience. So next time you feel like you’re about to give up, here’s what you can do instead:
- Write down the pros and cons of the current situation
- Ask yourself what you did to get yourself into the situation
- Read about one or two people who went through a similar situation and how they got unstuck
- Think of three ways you can overcome the situation and what you can do in the future to avoid the same mistake
That’s how winnin’ is done.
3. Organization and routine will set you free
Goals without routines are wishes; routines without goals are aimless. The most successful business leaders have a clear vision and the disciplines (routines) to make it a reality. Routine sets you free. — Verne Harnish
That man knew what he was talking about.
Even if you’re not a company or a business person, those principles can still apply to your life to help maximize your daily efforts and help you achieve your goals.
One of the keys to my development as a writer was the creation of a strict writing schedule.
5 days a week, I would take 30 minutes and I would have to write at least 500 words. It didn’t matter if the finished product was perfect, but the word count needed to be done.
Creating set routines in your life makes sure you get done the most important things, and cuts out any filler activities you feel compelled to do out of fear or boredom.
This repetition allowed me to turn writing into a habit, and once that happened, it was no longer a question of how I would motivate myself to write consistently enough to be successful. It was as much a part of my day as going to work, or brushing my teeth.
It took all any stress or emotional struggle from the process of trying to motivate myself or stay interested in the task at hand.
Some of you might frequently suffer from what’s known as analysis paralysis.
In short, this is when you get overwhelmed by the thought of making decisions and end up taking much longer to act or end up not making a decision at all.
Getting started with my brand, the blog, and all of my other web content ventures seemed like an impossible task. I had no idea how I was going to achieve anything, how long it would take, or where to start.
Organizing my thoughts and aspirations helped in a huge way.
Building out long term goals, short term goals, and turning those objectives into small daily steps, allowed me to take tremendous pressure off of myself and have the confidence of knowing what to do each day.
Part of the most difficult aspects of transforming your life or embarking on a new endeavor involves the sheer vastness of what you’re about to. It can be intimidating.
Having a well thought out plan of attack puts you in control, and makes it seem a lot less scary.
4. You’ve got to love what you do
Having passion is not an option if you want long term success. It’s a requirement.
True excitement and love for any professional or personal undertaking is the fuel that will help keep you motivated and driven through tough times. If you start anything for any other reason you are dooming yourself to fail, or guaranteeing temporary success.
That isn’t to say there won’t be doubt, or times when you’ll feel like giving up. That’s part of any journey worth pursuing. The trials are what separate the truly amazing parts of life from being accessible to anyone.
Ever since primary school, I’ve at least partially known that I wanted to be an author. Writing always came naturally to me and I even took a few creative writing classes for fun.
The only indecision I had came in the beginning of my blogging career when I was figuring out what topic I wanted to write about.
Initially I wrote about my own day to day life and feelings. But since that’s not all that exciting or helpful to anyone other than me, I started writing about what I thought would be “futuristic” and “cutting edge”.
I figured I’d write about marketing and business trends.
Turns out I am not interested in those topics, nor do I care to write about them. So I struggled with writing consistently and coming up with compelling content.
It wasn’t until I switched my focus over to personal development and wellness (a topic I am fascinated with and strive to implement daily in my own life), that my writing started connecting more with my audiences and when I started thriving.
These days, it’s not difficult to forecast new articles or topics for posts because I am using principles that I learn about and want to implement in my own life as well.
Even on days when I don’t feel like writing, I don’t mind it all that much because deep down i’m always going to be a writer who’s interested in becoming a better human each and every day.
When you’re considering what direction you want to take your future self in, or if you’re asking yourself if your current endeavor is right, ask yourself the following:
- What things would you do for free?
- What do you spend your down time doing?
- How likely are you to still be interested in what you’re considering in 2 years?
Being consistent and mastering any craft is incredibly difficult and takes a long time of dedicated effort. But doing so will allow you to reap all of the juiciest and most rewarding benefits that life has to offer.
Find your what. Go all in. Never give up. You got this.
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