What I learned by writing something every week for the last five months.
On August 25th, 2015 I posted my first article or blog or rant or something and I didn’t really know why.
I had heard about these ideas around Content Marketing, Social Selling and of course the theory of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook made famous by Gary Vaynerchuk, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. In the days and weeks before I posted the first article I just thought ‘What can I do to bring value to the audience?’
First, The audience…
The Audience — the people who have read my writing are my friends, family, colleagues, agency partners, clients, prospective clients, journalists, podcasters and complete strangers.
As I tried to figure out what I should be saying, I decided to make the plan of not having a plan. When an idea for something popped into my head, I’d write the idea down. When I was excited/frustrated about something, I’d push ideas onto the paper without thinking too much. When I got stuck, I’d just close it down and come back later.
The lack of a plan allowed me to feel free and confident that the words would come if they were important and that forcing something like this is NEVER a good idea.
What I’ve Learned…
To start is (relatively) easy. I like talking, I like expressing my opinion, I like being heard and I like being the squeaky wheel, so putting the first few paragraphs of sloppy ramblings down on the page was easy. For me, this has just been one of many outlets for the voice I already have, the opinions I already carry and the personality I’ve had all my life.
But to make this writing thing last for thirty days is HARD. Habits are hard to create and hard to get rid of so I found that until I built the habit of getting something valuable out once a week, I needed structure. The structure worked but I also got lucky. I found one or two passion-filled times and wrote two or three articles at a time to capture those moments which helped alleviate the pressure of writing something every week.
Most importantly, to stop after you’ve gone on for thirty days is almost impossible. Habits are even harder to stop than they are to start. Ask the person who goes to the gym seven days a week how they feel if they miss a day, a couple days, a week? The answer is probably that they don’t feel like themselves. They probably feel like something is missing because their workouts are so ingrained into the person they are. I’m not going to be in the ‘writing shape’ that someone who goes to the gym seven days a week is in but I understand the feeling they have.
Finally, this all has helped me to build an attitude of gratitude. People have given up their time for something I did and I’m so grateful!
I’ve sat behind a computer for the last five months and watched the analytics to see hundreds of people reading my stuff, commenting, sharing, etc. and taking the time out of their day to listen to me. I’m so happy that there has been some value that I’ve been able to provide. I’m so appreciative to have earned a few minutes of your attention.
The truth is, some people have been angered, some have admitted that they were part of the negative side of a rant and some have actually said I’ve motivated or inspired them in some way which has all in turn motivated and inspired me.
After looking back through what I’ve put together these last five months, I don’t believe there is anything I’ve done that any one of you couldn’t do, I’m not special. And yet, almost 2000 times in the last five months, someone has read the words that poured out onto the page. In some cases, that person said ‘let me tell someone about this’ or ‘What a rant! This is funny, let me show someone this.’ And, any reaction whatsoever to my words is something that makes me happy because in my mind, there is no greater value one person can bring to another than being able to cause them to think.
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