I just read Dan Shipper’s blog post on “How to build a blog readership” and it got me thinking about how I was able to ignite my own passion for writing this past summer.
Rewind 6 months. If you asked me for the 10 things that I hated doing the most, writing would surely make the list. It’s not that I’m a bad writer, but I was out of practice and my only memories of writing were from when I was forced to do it. I imagined myself sitting infront of a blank screen, cursor flashing, trying to bullshit my way through 1000 words (double-spaced) due in the morning. Writing? No thanks! I never wanted to write again. And can you blame me? Our schools make writing a chore, something to avoid, and turn so many away for life.
Instead of ignoring the problem, I took on the challenge headfirst. Failure has never stopped me and even after failing to actively blog a dozen times before, I started this new one and kicked it off bygiving up social media for 30 days. My first post, only 362 words, took almost a week to write. I mulled over it, wanted it to be perfect, and truthfully, I was scared of criticism. Scared to publish my words, scared that they wouldn’t be worth reading.
Finally, almost out of frustration, I clicked publish on the damn thing and walked away. And guess what, my world didn’t explode! I posted it on social media and disconnected for the next 30 days – unable to feel the sting of any criticism that would’ve been left.
The biggest thing I learned, and Dan mentions it in his post, is to just publish the damn thing. Stop being perfect. Proofread it a couple of times and get on with your life. A typo or mistake won’t ruin your post and, truthfully, most people are skimming anyways.
After my first quasi-successful post, I was hooked. In love. With more free time on my hands during the social media hiatus, I kept writing. My goal has been to write 1000 words, everyday, and I’ve mostly stuck with it since my first post on May 15th.
I mostly write for my blog or my book, but sometimes my daily allotment of words is spent on hashing out and evaluating my life in the journal that I’ve kept for over 1000 days. Not of all of your writing needs to be shared, and I think it’s important that you selfishly keep some words entirely for yourself.
The biggest dividends paid from my writing has been the feeling of creating, becoming a producer of information, instead of continuing down the path as a chronic consumer. When I publish my thoughts, I create tangible value that can be shared with others.
And I never run out of things to write about. By keeping my idea muscle strong and writing down 10 brand new ideas everyday, I’ve amassed two entire notebooks filled with topics to write about.
Creating value through writing has been a huge eyeopener. The people I look up to the most, the Elon Musks and Steve Jobs of the world, they are chronic producers. They make things, execute outlandish ideas, and produce something valuable for the world. For me, writing was just the first step to becoming a producer – maybe it will be yours too?