Anyone that’s ever heard me talk about blogging knows I hate short blog posts. Most of what I do with clients is force them to write longer and more difficult blog posts.
There’s a problem with this though, until you’ve reached a certain level of consistency, this perfectionism only leads to failure.
Just like someone new to the gym, we want you to just show up every week. It doesn’t matter what you do, we need you to lift something 3-4 times per week. You have to build the habit of just showing up before you worry about optimizing what you do when you’re there.
This is blogging.
Perfectionism is the biggest barrier to success in blogging when you first start out.
Until one masters writing every day, and publishing a good portion of that writing, they can’t get off the ground.
When we first start out, we’re unlikely to get much feedback. We write and a handful of our friends read our posts.
If we invest an enormous amount of effort into a single post and get no response, it’s disappointing, which kills confidence.
Chances are you’re not very confident in your writing.
Most people aren’t. I can barely spell my name.
That’s OK. The only way to get good is to write a lot. So just accept where you are and keep doing it.
So we have two completely separate skills to develop.
The habit of writing.
When you’re psyched about your new blog, it’s easier to write. Maybe you have some ideas about what to write. Most people start off strong and then lose that motivation, often from lack of response, and the rest of life’s distractions.
If you don’t have a consistent schedule for writing, it won’t last. So we have to treat the process of writing very seriously, even if the writing itself is not.
This means we write at consistent times EVERY DAY. It doesn’t have to be a large amount of time.
We develop a ritual and processes around our writing. This means, outlines, note-cards, lists, etc.
We need to have a consistent way to record ideas. I use email on my phone. Others I know use notepads.
Set aside a time to write and write something, even if it’s just gibberish and random thoughts. Use the 5 minute take off and start writing. If you put in your time and get nothing, that’s OK, but don’t assume you’ll get nothing until you actually spend a few minutes writing.
Make a deal with yourself. Write 1-2 bad pages. That’s all you have to do. If you get more, great, if not, we’ll get more tomorrow.
The habit of publishing.
You have to accept that your early work isn’t likely to be your best writing. Ask anyone who has achieved success in writing and they will tell you that they’re embarrassed by their early work. Many are embarrassed by yesterday’s work.
Some people feel like they have to publish everything they write. That’s a mistake. Especially when I’m telling you to write every day. Sometimes the idea is great, but the execution just doesn’t work. Rewrite it later. Sometimes it’s all just terrible. Move on to something else.
On the other end of the spectrum are people like me. No exaggeration, I have thousands of pages of blog posts, books, notes, and so on that are in various stages of completion, yet only a handful of published blog posts. Those posts aren’t doing anyone any good.
While many people will argue different publishing frequencies, I think you need to come up with something every week for at least 6 months. There’s no way around it, those that succeed almost always publish at least weekly. You need the volume not because it’s best for your readers or best for your blog. You need to publish every week to develop the habit of getting something out the door.
Once you get comfortable with writing consistently and publishing that work, then I can teach you how to take that work and make it explode while publishing way less often.
For now, forget SEO, forget perfection, just write what you feel passionate about, and ship it.
- When am I going to write?
- Where am I going to write?
- Where will I keep ideas for writing? This needs to be with me all the time.
- How will I ensure this time is protected?
- What triggers will I use to remember to write and to put me in the mood for writing?
- How can I eliminate distraction during my writing time?