I have been a ‘professional writer’ — meaning, I get some money from the words I put into the world — since 2015. I have written 5 books and write a blog post whenever inspiration hits me, about once a week.
It was only two weeks ago that I realized I have become far too comfortable in my writing habits and needed a challenge. My brother, a professional photographer, first gained public notice when he did a 365 project: He created one photo a day for a year.
If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense to make more, not less. If I put out one post a week, that gives me 52 chances a year to connect with any given reader. You multiply that by 7 when you write every single day. Every piece will not be a hit. In fact, many will be duds. But there are two main things I’ve learned just two weeks in:
I have a lot more to say than I thought. I am an outgoing extrovert by nature, so I always have a lot I can talk about. I’m sure the same is true of introverts who keep all their thoughts bouncing around their heads all day. There is always something I can pull from to piece together a semi-coherent blog post, which leads to my next point,
Forcing creativity is better than waiting for inspiration. I know this is not an original thought at all, but I am finding it to be true. Some of the posts I’ve written already have taken off more than I expected, despite the fact that I thought they were just mediocre when I published them.
My most-read post of all time was like that. Three years ago I had a catchy title in my head, so I wrote a piece to go with it, thinking it was just a throw away post to fill space. I logged in a few hours later and it had half a million hits! Yet I’ve had dozens of posts I expected to explode which had about 3 clicks.
In some ways, those pieces which I really poured effort into were a bigger letdown when they only earned a few clicks than those I quickly typed up which received the same. Writing every day allows me to accept ‘failure’ better because, today’s post may not have connected, but maybe tomorrow’s will!
Rob Bell, in his amazing book Drops Like Stars tells the story of an art teacher who divided his class into two groups. One group would be graded on how many pieces of art they made, and the other would be graded on the quality of the work they produced. Inevitably, the quantity group ended up creating pieces of higher quality than the other group! They had the freedom to experiment and fail and try again. The quality group was too focused on nailing perfection.
In many ways, these first two weeks of daily writing have taught me the same thing. The pressure is removed from each blog post since there are just so many.
I’m sure I’ll make another post like this when I’m several months into the experiment. I’m probably too caught up in the honeymoon phase of this commitment to feel the sting yet.