In the past year, I have done more consistent writing than ever in my whole life. And, I’ve gotten paid for it. It’s been a dream come true for someone constantly wondering how to write more often.
However, as I spend most of my time writing articles for hire, there’s less time to write for my own blogs. That’s troubling to me because I want to see my own blogs grow as well. After all, companies pay me good money to write blog articles for them – shouldn’t I be utilizing this skill for myself as well?
Over and over again I’ve made resolutions for my own blogs.
- I’m going to write for thirty minutes every day
- I’m going to post one blog article per week
- I’m going to post one blog article every other week
- Every month? Ugh… I don’t even know
People will tell you to make a schedule and stick to it. But, making these commitments with myself to blog more consistently never seem to work. And, now I know why.
Creating a Writer’s Mindset
Successful, prolific writers will feed you some of the same advice. If you want to write more, you have to make a commitment. Pick a schedule, set a timer, and write. Then repeat.
This is good advice. It works for people. Although, it didn’t work for me, I know why. I had the wrong mindset, and it brought my productivity to a grinding halt.
Every morning at 6:00 am my phone would remind me to write for thirty minutes. I probably listened to it for a week, then it was simply ignored. This tool clearly wasn’t working for me. But, why?
It wasn’t working for me because my mind was creating obstacles. I’d set out to write a blog post, and I’d become overwhelmed. My blog post ideas would sprout into larger topics, I’d aim for perfection, and my hands would freeze in paralysis not sure which direction to go…
The result? I eeked out a few blog posts here and there. But I started and abandoned far more. I wanted to write more, but I had built walls preventing me doing so.
I needed a creators mindset.
The creators mindset should be playful. It should be free to explore ideas, and ignore the prospect of perfection. My mindset was rigid with perfection, and big ideas.
To foster a creative, writer’s mindset, I had to do the following.
Treat Perfection as a Hazard
When I write articles for my clients, I aim for high quality. I polish them up and aim for perfection. But, for my own blog posts, I don’t have time for perfection because I’m not getting paid for it.
If I write a perfect blog post for a client, I’ll get a paycheck and likely future work. But for my own blog, perfection is a major hazard. If I set my sites on perfection I’ll spend hours of unpaid time, posting a blog post sporadically every few months.
My main goal for my websites is not to have a few perfect blog posts. I want to have dozens of good blog posts. Writing good consistent blog posts is doable. Writing perfect blog posts consistently is not. It’s a bottle neck to progress.
Remember, the ink never dries on a blog post. You can come back to it after you hit publish.
Perfection is for a later day.
Seek out Simplicity
As you start writing, your brain begins churning new ideas, and a first seemingly simple blog post can get out of hand, and become overwhelming.
It’s natural for your vision to evolve as you write. But, it’s also important to keep your project in scope. As new ideas pop up, ask yourself “does this belong in this blog post?” It’s okay to shelf good ideas for later blog posts.
Look at the context and time you have available. If my goal is to write a blog post per week, do I have time to add these extra layers of complexity?
I used to approach blog posts with the idea that they each need to be around 1000 words. I am now taking the approach that all blog posts should be slightly under that. That’s because if the topic takes more than 1000 words to discuss, I just don’t have time for that right now. It doesn’t align with my goal of producing more content.
When my blog posts start getting long, and my ideas sprout away from simplicity, I’m starting to follow perfection.
For the sake of progress, always simplify.
Just Hit Publish
There’s nothing like the feeling of finishing something. And, I say that while also believing that nothing is ever finished.
Great artists agree. You can noodle on ideas and improve on them forever. Scientists can theorize and test over and over. But eventually you have to publish. Otherwise, what’s the point?
The reality is that everything is a draft. Science is updated with new knowledge every single year. We build on the drafts before us. Life is a work in progress – so is your writing.
Just act, just do, just hit publish.
The ink won’t dry.