What I have learned from writing and publishing one post per day for the last 100 days
The last 100 days for me have been a real whirlwind, of highs and lows, good and bad. The thing is the numbers don’t really matter, and this is only the beginning.
Milestones and goals are great, because one milestone, has got me where I am today, one step closer to becoming a better writer, and it can do the same for you.
“The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.”
I have failed many times in the past, and it all came down to setting short-term goals. I remember I used to go to the gym, with the goal of working out at least 3 days a week for 6 months. The problem was after those 6 months, my motivation dropped, and not long after I stopped going to the gym altogether.
Goals and Millstones are good to have, don’t get me wrong, but like what James Clear covers in his book ‘Atomic Habits’ and I am awfully paraphrasing here, but we need something behind those goals.
What changed for me, and can it help you?
The goals and milestones are still there, one thing has changed. More of a mindset and a long-term goal, which for me is to become a better writer. This is what keeps me going, and it can do the same for you.
The war of the drafts
Getting the first draft done, for the most part, although not every day, has not been what I struggled most with. It was the second and third drafts, the editing and refining.
Now I would still urge those starting out, to try and get in the habit of writing every day, and it is something I will continue to do, as much as I can.
What I have learned, that trying to write and publish each and every day, might not be the best approach at least for me, and could be the same for you, but why?
The times when I had drafted a post, and then returned the next day to edit, I not only found the editing process a little bit easier, but I was able to get my point across in a better way, not only that the stats from those post, again, for the most part, performed better. At least for me, this was down to them being edited and, at least for me, written better.
If you can take away one thing, from what is so far my biggest mistake and lesson over the last 100 days, it would be to edit the next day, tackle it with a fresh pair of eyes.
The numbers don’t matter
The marketer in me is furiously shaking his head in sheer disgust. I will not argue the data is important, and it can help you understand what your audience is more interested in and help refine your work, understanding what works and what doesn’t.
I’m referring more toward the goals and achievements. Take reading as an example, you might be like me and see videos and posts titled “out of the 200 books I have read this year here are my 20 favourites” there or along those lines. 200?! part of me feels ashamed of my poor attempts at reading, the other half jealous and the greatness of others.
The same thing can happen with your writing, getting overcome with the sea of numbers and success of others, seeing 1000s of views on others’ posts, those that make millions. I know I sound like a bitter old man, ranting while feeding the ducks on a part bench.
It doesn’t matter, let go, focus on who you want to become. I let the numbers get to me, and the jealousy and feelings of failure felt like they were crushing down on me.
When I started to focus more on the process, when I really took in what others were saying, enjoyed others writing, and most importantly of all focused on writing, and trying to make small improvements every day. I started to enjoy it so much more.
I felt that negative, moaning old man, telling the kids to get off our lawn slowly shrink, and I began to feel happier and more positive. There is plenty of room out there for other writers, but only you will be able to share your story, our own uniqueness is what makes each and every writer great.
Don’t get me wrong I still have times where I slip back into my older ways, get a little overwhelmed, and feel the negativity trying to squeeze its way back in. I look back and see how far I have come in my life, and see how much more I still need to learn, and that motivates me to keep going.
“You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
The truth is, one thing I am sure of now, is writing feels like a piece that has been missing inside of me. I feel happy when I write and I would urge anyone who is interested in starting the journey to become a writer, to start.
Build up a habit, write every day when you can and in the next 100 days, you too could take that first step in the journey to becoming a great writer. Despite what anyone may tell you, the abilities you think you have, you can do it.
It just takes work, works each and every day.
If after the first 30 days you really can’t stand writing, and hate every moment, at least you know it is not for you, and you can try something else.
“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
This is just the beginning of my journey, will you be taking that first step and starting yours? You will not know unless you try.