It’s Time You Rethink Your Writing System
This past week was eye-opening.
I’m starting to figure out my writing system.
My last story was the story that helped me understand what that looks like.
With the help of another writer, I did something a little different with this one.
And let’s just say that there was no rushing involved.
The Old, Terrible Writing System
I’ve submitted work that I was absolutely not impressed with, thinking that the faster, more frequently I post, the better the chance of them being enjoyed by readers.
As I type this, the more I realize how much that makes no sense.
I hated the titles. The content could’ve been much, much better. I probably should’ve chosen a more relevant image. I could go on and on, but I’ll save you the trouble.
For whatever reason, I sent those stories off anyway.
I’d planned on finishing everything by noon that same day. So, whatever I had scribbled onto that sheet of paper by that time was going to be submitted — no matter what.
I can’t express how terrible an idea this is, other than to say that it is TERRIBLE, especially for me. Sounded good, though, at the time.
But it wasn’t long before it became perfectly clear that this system of creating and submitting stories may work for some people, just not for me.
Those stories ended up doing as I’d expected.
I mean, the stats were awful. They fell below 100 views, which is kind of not good. I don’t even want to discuss the amount of fans they managed to attract.
And if you’ve been on Medium a while, you already know that fans are one important stat category.
I knew something had to change at some point.
Speed Should Never Be the Ultimate Goal
It isn’t how fast I get stories out there. It’s what they say, the messages they send to the readers. More importantly, it’s how consistent I make them public.
If the readers really enjoy what I write, why worry about when my work gets published?
My job is to be consistent with the work that I produce. If that’s twice a week, that’s what I’ll be doing until I’m honestly able to produce better work, faster.
We don’t come into this world running. We start out walking.
As we learn how to walk, we develop the coordination needed to run.
Running seems cool because it is, specifically to those who are (in that moment) unable to do it — just like publishing one or more stories a day sounded amazing to me.
And to those who manage to pull it off, all while not missing a beat when it comes to quality, kudos to you.
But I have to be honest with myself.
I don’t put out the best content by rushing to submit once a day. I tend to push out rubbish when I do.
I can produce 1,000 words. Many people can do this. That doesn’t mean that those finished product will mean anything.
It takes seasoned skill to create one great article per day, not to mention more. I’m working to get there, but I haven’t made it there, yet.
Don’t Rush the Process, Because There Is a Process
The ability to submit work I’m satisfied with (on a daily basis) will come with time.
The more I write because of the pure love for writing itself, the better the chance of me publishing stories with a purpose greater than just “getting one out there.”
For me, this had to stop.
I’ve decided to start over by allowing this process a chance to do its thing.
I’m already loving the results.
Since the beginning of this week, I’m writing more than ever. Yesterday, I wrote 1,000 words in a third of the time it would ordinarily take me.
I’m reading more than ever. Stopping by to actually read stories from people in and out of my network, books I haven’t opened, is now possible. My mind is at ease.
My laptop can rest as I write things down that freely come to mind, not being held back by the stress of producing something I don’t have at the moment.
If it’s one thing I shouldn’t be rushing, it’s creativity.
Learning From Others Is Still a Thing
As a new writer on Medium, I heard lots of people talking about how important it was to post more of your content daily.
Consequently, I spent most of my time stressing about creating on day-to-day basis, not having much spare time to absorb other valuable stories from other creatives that would help me be a better writer.
I forgot that I still need time to learn ways to improve my craft, too. Clearly, I’m not perfect. There are plenty of things I can improve on.
And what better way to learn than to do?
Doing is a great teacher. But learning from others should never be pushed aside.
What Made Me Rethink My Writing System?
At first, I disagreed. I thought that it was better to keep doing what I typically do —try as hard as I can to post every day. After all, I saw some positive results.
Then, I realized her perspective makes sense. I knew I could do better; I just didn’t know where to start.
This is the story that forced me to rethink my writing system. That’s where I needed to start. I had to throw away the idea of trying to submit every day.
It made me ask myself, “Is posting every day that much more important than pushing the best of my creativity out for the world to see?”
The answer was no.
Maybe You Should Slow Down
I’m no longer concerned about publishing every day. I’m now more focused on posting pure, honest words from the best of my creativity I can offer.
That is all. Nothing more. Nothing less.
These stories are our works of art. They should be treated that way.
Our work should never be forced. Let me make that a bit clearer. Our work should not be forced into being shared at a pace that negatively affects our creativity.
It’s okay to slow down. You’re not missing out on anything by speeding up.
This job — because it is a job — is simple. It’s we who make it more complicated.
Keith Horton is a full-time student, writer, and musician. He is a contributor for The Ascent, The Startup, The Writing Cooperative, Publishous, and more.
Thanks for reading!
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