What I learned through 10 consecutive days of writing

So I’m officially 10 days into my 30-day writing challenge, and I wanted to take today to do some reflection and share what I’ve learned so far. Each of these lessons can probably be turned into a full article, but I wanted to share them all in one place

1. Routines don’t stifle the creative process, they enable it.

Contrary to what I used to believe, forcing myself into a routine has made me more creative and more productive. Since I know that I have to write something every day, I think all day long about what I should write about. It’s as if I’ve switched my brain’s idle state to focus on this, rather than whatever useless information I used to focus on.

2. Remove every obstacle in the way.

This challenge has made me focus on exactly what part of the writing/publishing process is hard for me. Because I wasn’t doing it that often, I didn’t realize how difficult it actually is to publish an article on Hacking UI.

For one, the Wordpress editor is not conducive to writing posts, so I need to write in some other application and then copy and past the finished text in. However, the pasted text usually has a few issues that need to be fixed. Also, our design is centered around a beautiful, gigantic featured image for each post. That means that I can’t publish before I find a good image or ask Sagi to create one for me.

In order to remove these obstacles I’ve been publishing mostly on Medium. I can write directly in Medium, since the editor is so easy to use. Also I can publish a post without any image at all. This really speeds up my process, and I can always add the posts that I want to Hacking UI later.

3. Don’t start writing without a clear vision for the entire post

I have an excellent 7-step process that I use for writing articles. However sometimes, usually when it’s well past 2 in the morning and I still haven’t finished the day’s article, I try to take shortcuts. If I try to start writing the article before I’ve written bullets and set up some form of an outline, it always comes back to bite me in the ass. It ends up taking longer than usual to write, and it usually leads to a much weaker article.

4. Creating something every day feels good

I get a nice little serotonin boost every time I hit that publish button. Seeing my work go live every day makes me feel like I’ve achieved something. A lot of times I’m working on projects that take multiple days, or weeks to complete and it’s hard to see the progress or achievements every day. Publishing something is much more obvious and allows me to give myself a pat on the back every day.

5. Some writing should just be thrown away.

My goal is to force myself to publish every day, because in the past I wasn’t publishing enough. I would get afraid that my article wasn’t good enough, or I would just be such a perfectionist that it would never be complete. However now that I’m publishing every day, I don’t have that problem any more.

Instead I realize that sometimes I write something and it’s just not very focused, or it’s not going to be helpful to others. I think that’s OK and that it should be a natural part of the writing process. I should plan for these misfires, and just trash them. I think that after this challenge is over I’d like to write five days a week (the weekends are killing me), but will probably only end up publishing two or three articles per week.

6. I don’t feel pressure for each post to succeed

Since I know that there will be another one tomorrow, I know that I can just write whatever I want today. Whether or not the post goes viral is irrelevant to me, and makes each post significantly less stressful.

We’re hosting a free webinar on how to build your personal brand as designer on Thursday, October 13. If you’re interested in learning more about getting yourself out there and how to start writing, sign up!