What Happened When I Published 25 Articles in One Month
Around mid-November, I read an article about how a writer was able to make $4K a month writing on Medium. I was astonished. I had been writing for most of my life and barely made a fraction of that in months.
Of course, the article was well-written, straight to the point and its takeaways slapped me in the face like bugs on a windshield during a road trip across the prairies; I wasn’t writing enough, not even close to what the writer was talking about. And honestly, I was embarrassed to call myself a writer given how “little” writing I was actually doing.
I was pumping out 2 articles a week, 2 videos and 1 podcast. She wrote an article every day. Every single day, whether she felt like it or not, nothing else. No social media. No nonsense. No distractions. Purely writing. That sounded like bliss. And it led to an aha moment.
Write more and get published by publications
I had been feeling stuck. My videos and podcasts were slowly getting traction. And to be frank, after making hundreds of those, I was burnt out. Although making audiovisual content allowed me to grow immensely, it didn’t quite fit in with my creative flow state. I didn’t just try once and give up. I was doing that consistently for almost 2 years so it felt like the right time to take a break.
I got grounded, in tune with my instincts and took on the writing challenge. There are 31 days in December so that meant publishing 31 articles. I didn’t want to self-publish; I upped the ante by aiming to get published by publications.
So I didn’t meet my goal to publish every day for a whole month. Given it was December; with a belly full of chocolate biscuits and ham plus valuable opportunities to spend quality family time, I didn’t quite make it. However, it was still incredibly rewarding to see myself perform and put effort into something I should have been doing years ago.
25 published articles later (24 by publications and 1 self-published), here’s what happened:
Increased traffic, revenue, subscribers, followers
The first thing you probably want to know is whether this affected the quantitative performance measures like traffic, revenue, followers, claps, likes, shares, subscribers etc.
Yes to all that.
Publishing 25 articles in one month increased the amount of traffic to my site. I saw an uptick in the number of visitors coming directly from Medium.
In addition, because I have a pop-up that encourages visitors to sign-up for free resources, there was also an increase in the number of email subscribers. Specifically, the number of new subscribers tripled in December compared to November.
Lastly, I gained about 100 new followers on Medium and tripled my earnings. And no, I was nowhere near the 4K the writer was talking about.
I have Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but I don’t count the number of followers because there tend to be a lot of “follow unfollow” folks.
Bottom line: publishing more doesn’t only mean delivering more content but delivering new content; as content creators know, content is king.
Write quickly, learn quickly
Practice, practice, practice. The more you do something, the easier it gets and the clearer it is to see where you’re falling short. I thought my brain had peaked its writing capacity when I was writing 2 articles a week. However, pushing myself to aim for one article a day meant I had to write faster.
A quicker turnaround time enabled me to course-correct faster, shortening the learning curve when adjusting my writing quality. I realized there was a pattern in the mistakes I made. Increasing the consistency and intensity of writing allowed me to become more aware of these issues, fixing them as I type rather than during the editing process.
Less thinking, more writing
Overanalysis leads to writing paralysis. Instead of re-reading, re-writing and overthinking sentences, I wrote without pressing pause. At first, it came out as dribs and drabs, like a kinked up water hose. But then the more I wrote, the words just spewed onto the screen as there was no holding back.
Having a one-day deadline made it easier to write without questioning myself because every minute mattered and every word meant I was moving forward. There was no time to diddle daddle on whether to use “unbelievable” or “inconceivable”. The pressure to deliver prevented me from dwelling in the process of decision making.
Don’t think, just do.
No more journal entries that sound like journal entries
I would say 99% of the publications that I submitted to had a “we don’t accept journal entries” somewhere in their guidelines. I’ve been an avid journaler since I could barely hold a pen to paper so I was a bit discouraged; however, I saw it as another bump on the road and took on the challenge as a way to write more.
I totally understand why publications include this in their guidelines. Journal entries sometimes become documenting what we saw and heard rather than what we thought and felt.
I have numerous entries where I merely wrote down the list of things I did that day, in the order of when it happened. From what I ate, what I watched, when I used the toilet to whether I worked out, it was one boring long sentence full of verbs and nouns that my doctor would find useful.
Sometimes those entries are all I can produce that day because I’m so overwhelmed from everything else that I can’t muster enough energy to write thoughtfully with shiny pearls of wisdom and mind-blowing insight.
But that month I was on a time crunch so I forced myself to stop writing mindlessly as I wanted to repurpose whatever I had into an article. I needed to become resourceful and efficient.
The trick was to ask myself the following when I was journalling:
What happened today and what did you learn about yourself?
How did it make you feel when that happened?
Why do you think you felt that way?
It’s about getting the “what?” and the “so what?” so that each day isn’t a passing of events but rather a meaningful adventure with a story that is waiting to be written and shared.
Isn’t that how we should live our day to day life anyway?
Became more desensitized to rejection
I submitted to over 20 different publications. Some rejected. Some didn’t bother to respond and thankfully, some accepted.
Rejection is tough the first time. And actually, it’s still tough even after the 20th and 30th time but the feeling subsides much quicker compared to the first time around. It’s disheartening to put your blood, sweat and tears into something and then have someone tell you it’s not worthy.
But in reality, the way editors ‘rejected’ my articles were written so nicely that I really do believe that it’s because it didn’t fit their publication (not because I suck). It’s more about finding the right fit rather than criticizing my writing ability. Editors are writers too. They get it.
The benefit of being at-bat every day is that there is an opportunity to get a home run every day. A swing and a miss doesn’t mean I’m out; it just means the next one is coming at me hard and fast and it’s time to swing again.
I actually went on and on about dealing and reeling from rejection but instead, I’ve cut and pasted that into a separate draft because…
Generated ideas exponentially
When you’re constantly writing, there’s no time to think about what you’re going to write about. Although I was writing the same volume each day, I was generating ideas exponentially.
In the midst of writing one article, I would spiral and rant out paragraphs upon paragraphs about something that became an irrelevant digression; that would cue me to write a separate article about it.
For instance, while I was writing How I Published Over 100 Articles, 200 Podcasts, 200 Videos Working 6 Hours A Week, it spun into three other posts including this one.
Keep calm and write on
Whether it’s trying to publish an article every day, every hour or every week, writing more certainly had more benefits than I had anticipated. It can only get better as I get better at it. I’ll swing back and forth between videos and podcasts but for now, I’m happily settled in my writing zone.