What 100 Consecutive Days of Writing Taught me
100 days. 100 posts. 100 lessons?
I am a huge proponent of celebrating the milestones in one’s journey. Most healthy habits are reinforced by keeping a reward system in place:
- You get a promotion, you celebrate with a new watch you having been eyeing for a while.
- You have your 5 years anniversary with your girlfriend, you plan that trip to the exotic destination you have been discussing about.
- You lose 10 kgs of excess weight, you celebrate with a juicy triple burger and fries — that’s counter-intuitive, though.
In my case I have managed to reach 100 posts in 100 consecutive days.
Oh boy, I am dancing mambo inside my head, right now.
It feels so rewarding achieving those small goals.
First, 30 consecutive posts. Now 100. Next one should be 250 but I think that I am going to pee myself when — or if — I will manage to reach the big 1k.
I have said in the past, that daily writing is a formidable beast. It requires feeding everyday and it is usually in a visibly bad mood. And the only that matters is that you will manage to offer your daily post as a tribute to it, and it will leave you alone for the next 24 hours.
I do not consider myself a seasoned blogger. I do not consider myself even a blogger actually. But my experience from the fight with the daily writing beast has given me some scars and bruises, that I want to share with you.
1) Bad habits suck
I write every evening. Sometimes I can offer 20 or 30 minutes and other days I can invest a couple of hours. It is amazing how you manage to find time when you are doing something that you actually enjoy.
However, I reflect on myself on how I was using my time before I started blogging — or writing — daily.
Mindless web browsing and silly YouTube videos.
Yeah, you heard me. That was my evening ritual. However, the best way to eradicate a bad habit is by replacing it with a good one.
Of course I have not fully got rid of my bad habits, but at least the take a smaller portion of my daily routine than they used to.
2) Quality or Quantity: Why not both?
It will sounds weird but I tend to focus both of quantity and quality in my posts, but on different time horizons.
If you zoom in in my daily writing habit, you will notice that I do not have quantitative targets in terms of words written or hours spend per day. I want to write at least one sentence that speaks to me. And I make sure that it is a damn good sentence quality-wise.
If I manage to develop this 10 or 15 initial words into a 1500-word post, then so be it. If I have been beaten to the ground on that day at work and I can only invest 5 or 10 minutes, then I will do that instead. The concept of daily writing allows me to not be picky both with my writing outcome and my inspiration.
On the other hand, in a macro scale, I do not focus on the quality of my posts to the extent that other bloggers do.
I do not spend one week marinating and polishing a post. I write and I publish in one sitting and in less than 2 hours. That allows me to put my work out there 7 days a week and to expirement with a my thematics or new techniques in a faster pace. Also, it gives me a larger publishing footprint.
So, yes, short-term quality focus. Long-term quantity focus. That’s my mantra.
3) Exceptions break the chain
This will sound odd, but maintaining no exeptions in my rule book made it easier to stick with my daily writing habit than having some kind of exception.
Allow me to articulate that.
Imagine that you want to cut completely on sugar. It is actually easier if you never allow this crystallized product from heaven to touch your tongue than allowing yourself to eat a slice of cake every time a friend has a birthday or you are invited in a cup of coffee and cake during a work break. As soon as you start putting possible “outs” for you, it becomes easier to add another possible exception and in the end you fully relapse.
One cake slice here, one brownie there, before you know it you start sniffing raw sugar in super market isles.
Being consistent makes it a hell lot of easier.
Otherwise I would need to find excuses. And excuses are not part of my strong suit.
I prefer to just write everyday.
4) Aggressive trial and error
The undeniable benefit of everyday writing is the ability to experiment with a variety of thematics in a limited time period. I can try 7 different topics in one week. I try. I fail. I try again.
So far, I have attempted almost 100 times to discover what makes my ears tingle from enjoyment to write about.
I have tried a variety of subjects: theoretical and abstract, serious or funny, practical and empirical. I have written posts about books I have read. I have written posts about ideologies and concepts that I want to investigate more.
Eventually, I found out what makes me feel creative and inspired.
I want to make people crack a smile after reading my nerdy opinions on pop culture, economy theories and business models and implausible hypothetical scenarios.
I feel happy when I write about funny stuff. And I keep on trying and trying to hone my humorous writing.
Maybe when I reach post 250, I can make people roll on the floor laughing. Who knows?
5) Writing is the easy part
Back from my “gym rat” days, we used to say that working out is the easy part. Eating clean was the difficult one.
In an analogical fashion, writing is the easy part of the blogging concept, getting people to read your ideas is the difficult one. Distribution and footprint are key aspects to blogging.
Of course, not working out or not writing at all, will completely eradicate any possibility of success you might have had. But imagine, going to the gym and then eating two full pizzas — a little bit like the burger celebration from before.
Maintaining a blog can be daunting and time consuming. Spreading your posts to social media and reaching the right target audiences is even worse. Engaging into discussions with possible trolls and haters has been leg-crippling.
But at the end of the day, writing is what I enjoy doing, that’s my hobby. But building my personal brand and my audience is my passion.
That is all the celebration that I can afford for now.
The 250 posts celebration is not as far as it sounds. It requires just to keep the chain going.
Originally posted at Thanos Antoniou — The voice inside my head
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