What I Learned From Sharing 1,000 Self-Improvement Ideas In 100 Weeks
Seven things happen when you stick with a project.
This week marks the 100th edition of my For The Interested newsletter.
It’s not a goal I set out to achieve, but I’m proud of the accomplishment and thankful for the 19,000 subscribers (!) who joined me along the way.
Since each week’s newsletter includes 10 actionable ideas to help you improve your work, art, and life, that means I’ve shared 1,000 such ideas in this time as well (you can see them all archived here).
Doing so has taught me a lot about how to get better at things, but it’s also showed me what happens when you stick with a creative project for 100 weeks.
Here’s what I discovered and I’m sure you will too…
1. It gets easier.
Here’s a universal truth: Creative work will never be easy, but it will always get easier the more you do it.
Too often people overrate the difficulty of creative projects because they give up on them so quickly they never reap the benefits of prolonged experience.
When you stick with a creative project, you grow into it, become more intuitive with it, and develop an effective process for it.
Every week your creative project will get easier. Not easy, but easier.
2. You have to enjoy the creation, not just the potential results of that creation.
Because creative work isn’t easy and its results are never guaranteed, you’ll only stick with a project for 100 weeks if you love the process of creation as much or more than the intended results.
It’s been a blast building an audience for my newsletter (learn how I did it here), but that’s not my favorite part of the project.
I genuinely enjoy putting it together each week and find it a rewarding and valuable learning experience — that would be true even if nobody read it.
Because I found satisfaction in the work, I was able to stick with it long enough to attract the results.
3. It creates opportunities.
When you do something for 100 weeks, it unlocks opportunities you could never achieve in just a few weeks.
My newsletter has earned me multiple social media consulting clients (without even much direct effort on my part to use it as a tool to attract clients) and opened doors to relationships and opportunities I never anticipated.
But it’s not just about business opportunities.
Sharing a creative project with the world over the course of 100 weeks allows you to build an audience and community around your work which then enables you to do interesting (and fun!) things you wouldn’t be able to do without them.
For example, a couple weeks ago I invited readers to create a collaborative Spotify playlist with songs that sound like summer and the reaction was incredible — 134 songs were shared from readers and it’s filled with great new music for us all to discover.
That was only possible because of my connection to an audience that had built over the course of 100 weeks.
4. It separates you from the crowd.
Most people don’t do anything for 100 weeks.
That means sticking with a creative project for that length of time separates you from the average person. It says something about your dedication, commitment, and willingness to invest in your work.
It also demonstrates a clear way your project differs from other similar projects.
In my case, there are lots of newsletters out there (and if you have one, I invite you to join our Newsletter Creators Facebook group), but few have published 100 issues.
The length of my commitment sends a message to potential new subscribers about my newsletter’s value — and helps it stand out from the crowd.
5. It becomes more efficient.
Do anything 100 times and you will get better and faster at it.
It takes me less time to put the newsletter together each week now than it used to and that’s because I’ve developed instincts and processes to make it more efficient.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make efficient.
Ironically, while it takes less time to produce, it’s also becoming a more high quality production. As I learn more about what my audience values most, I’m better able to serve them.
6. The purpose of your creation becomes more clear.
When I started my newsletter I had a general idea of what I wanted it to be, but I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what it was and who it was for.
That’s impossible to know when you start a creative project — the best you can do is have a hunch.
But 100 weeks into this project, I’ve honed my vision, refined my product, and developed a clear sense of what this newsletter is and who it’s for.
The same will happen for you if you put in the time and repetition — what starts as a hazy vision will increasingly come into focus.
7. It gets more fun.
Gaining experience is fun.
Having an audience is fun.
Producing a better product is fun.
Becoming more efficient is fun.
Getting results is fun.
Two years ago, my newsletter started as a side project — an experiment I figured might last for a bit until I lost interest.
But now, it’s a centerpiece of everything I do.
It drives business for me, is a showcase for ideas I want to share with the world, is a hub for an incredible (and growing!) community, and it’s the secret weapon that allows me to learn incredibly valuable things which have made my work, art, and life better.
It’s become one of the things I most enjoy, value, and am proud of in my life.
And it only took 100 weeks for that to happen.
If you’re thinking of doing something creative or already have started, I encourage you to stick with it for 100 weeks.
You’ll be amazed where it can take you.