Steemit Experiment Report: 21 days, 21 minutes, 21 posts later, PLUS an 8-Step Guide on How to Write a Steemit Post every day under 30 minutes

in howto •  7 months ago

It was 7am, Sunday, 14th January 2018, when I decided to give an experiment a try - Morning Pages.

I first heard about it from Tim Ferriss' Podcast, and then I read about it in other blogs that I followed too.

The premise is simple:

Wake up in the morning and write for 3 pages.

There are many benefits to Morning Pages:

  1. Achieve clarity of thought
  2. Reduce anxiety
  3. Discover your creativity
  4. Suppress, or even silence, your self-criticism
  5. Become natural at idea generation

Or so the experts say. And frankly, there are no wrong way to do Morning Pages. It's just writing (handwritten) three pages in the morning. You can write about anything. Once three pages are done, you do again tomorrow, and the day after, and try to form a streak (string of unbroken hits).

Being maverick, I decided to shift things a bit. Since getting onto Steemit, many have asked me how I managed to write every day. I won't lie, I do have a gift of writing - storytelling and articulation. But I wanted to develop a process that anybody - gifted or not - can replicate.

So I took the concept of Morning Pages, combined it with the motivation one can get from Steemit (fame and fortune), and hence, the Mini Motivation series was born.

It has been a streak for me too. For 21 days, I haven't stopped waking up 30 minutes earlier every morning (yes, weekends included). Why 21 days? My coach taught me long ago, to adopt a habit, try it for 21 days. If it sticks, then keep it. If it doesn't, decide if you want to go for another 21 days. #simplewisdom

And since 21 has a right to it, I decided that I must complete the post within 21 minutes of starting.

And I wanted to be able to breakdown the process of this exercise, so that I can publish a tutorial at the end of 21 days.

Hence this post.

So if you want to learn how to can write a short post of 300 words under 15 minutes, and have it up in your Steemit account under a total of 21 minutes, read on. It's 8 steps, and trust me, it's easier than it looks.

Ready? Let's go!

Step 1: Generating sources of inspiration

Let's start off with a cheat. :)

If you've even been to Ben's, they have a box of "table topics" on each table. The objective is simply so you and your guests have something to talk about (and not be on your phone all the time!)

We're gonna start by creating that box of table topics. These "box" of topics will help you trigger a thought in those wee hours of the morning, so you can jump straight into writing. I wouldn't want you having to look for topic ideas in the morning, because knowing you, 97 minutes later, you'll probably be watching the trailer to Star Wars Episode 12.

How you come up with the box of topics is up to you. You can head over to this site - ConversationStarters.com - and hit on the Generate Another Random Topic, until you found one that can stimulate a thought.


Image Source

Me? I usually just head over to the Quotes section of Goodreads.com. There have over 100,000 quotes, so I think that's pretty much covers you for, er, life?


Image source

Step 1A: Me being Fancy

Because I like nice designs, I decided to spend a few hours on Saturday to generate a tons of pictures with quotes on it. Some examples are:

Personally, I use Adobe Illustrator to create them, but you can always use Canva too. Canva has some amazing templates which you can already start using with minimal design skills.


Image source

For image sources, you can get pick some from the list below. Do remember to cite the image sources, even though the list are all free stock photos.

  • www.pexels.com
  • www.designerpics.com
  • www.visualhunt.com
  • www.jaymantri.com
  • www.deathtostockphoto.com
  • www.unsplash.com
  • www.allthefreestock.com
  • www.magdeleine.co
  • www.flickr.com (Creative Commons)
  • www.Photopin.com (Easier Flickr searches)
  • www.pixabay.com
  • www.picjumbo.com
  • www.freeimages.com
  • www.littlevisuals.co
  • www.picography.co

Step 2: The habit of waking up 30 minutes earlier

Unless you're already a early riser, this task is gonna be slightly harder.

If you want a simple advice, here it is:

Sleep half and hour earlier. #boom

Oh yeah, you may want to sleep is multiples of 90 minutes, i.e. 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5 hours. This is to make sure you wake up on the right sleep cycle. Remember those times when you wake up feeling groggy? Well, that's because you woke up in the middle of the sleep cycle.

But don't just take my word. Read more about the Harvard University research on this very topic!

Step 3: Scrolling through the topics/pre-made inspirations and pick the first one that trigger a thought

Head over to your laptop, and scroll through the list of topics you have written down, or just hit the Generate Another Random Topic at ConversationStarters.com until you have one.

For me, I just go through the folder of inspirations quotes I've pre-designed, go through them slowing one at a time, and when one trigger a thought or inspiration, that's it.

Bonus tip: Your eyes are gonna strain against the light of your screen. Turn in Night Mode (Night Shift for Mac users) if you can.

Step 4: One minute of grounding

Ok, so you've got your topic. Fire up your writing app, and take a minute to allow that topic and thought to percolate in your mind.


Image source

Extra Tip: If you haven't tried out TheMostDangerousWritingApp.com, you should. It's one easy way to make sure you can just type away. I did a full review here, but in a nutshell, what the app does is this:

  1. You pick a time limit or minimum word count. I found the time limit easier, and to hit about 400 words, I would pick 10 minutes on the timer. (Average person types at 38 - 40 Words Per Minute)
  2. Here are the rules. The moment you click "Start Writing", you cannot stop typing until the timer is up. If you slow down, the words you've typed will slowly fade away. Stop too long, and the contents will be gone for good. Yes, gone for good as in you cannot copy-and-paste.
  3. Once you're done, you are able to save your work.
  4. Pressure really makes you do free-flow writing.

Step 5: Just write

The ket to writing is to write, not to think.
~ William Forrester

Here are a few things to help you write better, other than using TheMostDangerousWritingApp.com:

  • Forget about grammar
  • Forget about spelling
  • Forget about punctuations
  • Forget about the Delete and Backspace keys
  • Forget about capitalisations
  • Just write

Step 6: Edit + Format

After you've typed continuously for 10 minutes (about 400 words), and your writing has come to a good end (don't leave your writing abruptly), here's when you can do the editing.

If you have Grammarly, I would suggest you use it to correct your grammar and spelling error.

For formatting, I suggest using Typora.io, a free markdown editor. Here are a few tips to tidying up your content:

  • Break long paragraphs into shorter paras. Multiple paragraphs are way better than a long one. Anything that's too wordy in a "block" will turn readers off. Heck, it will even turn you off.
  • Use bullet points if stringing together sentences is hard.
  • Make use of headings to break your content into sections. This will make it easy for your readers to read and browse.
  • Play around with Bold, Italics or both!

You can opt to insert a photo if you want, but don't take too long to search for it. Remember, you're supposed to have the post up by 21 minutes! Tick tock tick tock!

Step 7: Pick some solid tags

This one is easy. Just head over to my blog feed and check out the latest Daily Smart Tags Report. I generate a report on the most profitable tags on Steemit, based on the number of posts and total payout. I also include tags with most engagement.

Some quick tag tips:

  • Pick tags that are relevant to your topic.
  • Avoid picking profitable tags that makes no sense to your content.
  • Think out of the box. What would your readers search when looking for your kind of contents
  • Popular tags are not necessary good, because the moment you post, within a few minutes, your posts will be pushed down by new posts.

Step 8: Publish Post!

This one is easy!

You may want to share your post URL at the right channels (Facebook, your community groups, Discord channels etc) to get more viewership.

Oh yeah, don't know about you, but like me, you may want to make it a challenge and do this for 21 days. You may not stick to the habit after that period, but trust me, with Steemit, at least you get paid even for habits that don't stick!

Parting Words

  • I decided to continue this habit (did Mini Motivation #22 this morning) for a while longer, since it is beneficial for me to wake up early.
  • Because I woke up earlier in the morning, and with a purpose, I found that my focus throughout the day has improved.
  • I also realised completing a task early in the morning solidifies the feeling of starting the day strong. It's a big boost to self-confidence because you've done something tough early morning.
  • My body has adjusted to the early up time, because since the last few days, I woke up even before the alarm clock!
  • I like starting my days earlier too, because after the post, I can start with some work without the distraction of the world. Thankfully, not many people wake up so early. I'll just set my emails to send out a few hours later so It looks "normal".
  • I actually pre-wrote a post during the first week, fearing that I may wake up one morning and can't get the juice running. You know what? That posts remained un-posted. Wanna see how long I can keep it in cold storage.
  • Suggestion for you: find an accountability partner/buddy for this. A fellow Steemian you can tag once you've done your morning post. If you want, I can do that for you too. :)

Hope this case study and experiment report is useful for you, and your Steemit success! Leave a comment below if you decide to start the habit, or if you want to be my accountability partner.


Wait, why's Mav posting on Steemit nowadays?

Well, unlike other blogging and social media platform, Steemit is the only platform that allows me to earn cryptocurrency when I engage with it. Yup, one Steem is about USD7, and you, too, can earn Steem Dollars every time you:

  • Create content (articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos, photos)
  • Upvote (like) other people contents
  • Comment on other people's posts
  • Have discussions, share opinions etc!

Yup, basically it's the very same thing you're doing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc all along!

The only difference? For once you can earn a nice income on the side!

Sign up for a free Steemit account, and you can thank me by coming back and upvoting this article. And guess what, you will earn Steem too for doing that! #awesome

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Sort Order:  

me, you may want to make it a challenge

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Thanks for sharing! Good stuff for those who are just starting :)

this is such a great insight! Love the idea of doing Morning Pages! Okay, gonna start doing this for 21 days now. Will write even if my writing sucks lol (James Altucher started that way also mah)

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Hey, I didn't know that about James! Thanks for the info. Appreciate it.

Tag me in your daily challenge and I'll watch out for it. :)

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Wanna join the challenge? Hehe.

Love the guide. Wake up 30mins earlier is the hardest step of all!

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Hey, at least you're honest about it. :)

wow! I learned something here. especially night shift. now my monitor is orange-ish!

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Not everyone likes it though. For me the warmer tone is gentle on the eyes.

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hahaha! it does need some getting used to. but I believe it’s good for the eyes. got to last the nights :)

Glad you continue to write on mini motivation series, I love your mini motivation series please keep going! 21 minutes per post seems interesting currently my timing is about 1 hour for 1 post.
I have off topic question to ask here, how I know other @mention my name in other post that I'm the author?
Thank for sharing this awesome post!

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Ah. That one I usually get the notification from the mobile app esteem. Not sure if there's a desktop notification for Steemit yet.

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Ah I see, gonna try it out on my mobile! Thanks Marverick!

Nice post and nice resources of free photo stocks. I didn't know some of those sites. I do quite a lot of writing as well but I have a slightly different approach. I pick the topic, then I make the mind map around the subject, and next, I go to dictation.io and I dictate whatever I need, and as the last step, I copy everything to Grammarly. But everyone is different and everyone has its own workflow. Thanks very much for sharing your approach @ maverickfoo ! Keep up your awesome work!

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Hi @ronimm, that's a great approach too. I like that you literally shift through the different senses in the whole process. Auditory Digital (when selecting your topic, you probably have some self-talk to decide), Visual + Kinaesthetic (Mind Mapping and Grammarly) and Audio (Dictation)!

Personally I type faster than I write (I think), but I may give Dictation a try. I think I am faster at writing because I have a mental structure when I do that, and dictation may result in me going off track. I guess that's where you mind map comes in.

Keep up the good work too, brother.

It still took me at least 2 hrs just to do the layout in Steemit even if I can write a post under 30 mins... haha

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Ah, so it's the editing, formatting and packaging
part that takes time, eh? Is it the photos and videos?

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Yes, the editing in Steemit, you know the longer you post, the more you will want the post to look better that the previous one, instead of just dump everything in without composition.

Sometimes the editing of photos and video when some text need to be included, those do take times :D

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What softwares do you use to edit the photos?

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Same as you Adobe Illustrator, sometimes Photoshop for editing after found the right photos.

Another great post! I always look forward to reading your posts. For me, actually coming up with ideas on WHAT to write about is always the hardest. I’ll have to try out the conversation starters website. Thanks!

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Ok Thanks. I will.

Thank you @maverickfoo for the awesome tips, gonna start applying slowly with my writing.

Need to speed it up my post compose 😅 sometimes it's just taking too long.

#resteemed

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Thanks for the resteem and support, bro. Yeah, if I takes too long, you'll eventually lose momentum. The sprint is the best. Just write first without editing, then edit later. The mind works better when focused on one task at a time.

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No problem 👍🏻, thanks for the advice.. I shall write dulu and edit nanti 😬.

I got one word for you “Discipline” ...you are damm good one.. hehe 😆😆😬😬

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Haha, Steemit's rewards makes it easy to stick to the habit :)

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Disziplin ist immer wichtig

This makes so much sense. Sounds exciting to start making some money on the side.

As Altucher says, come up with 10 different ideas every single day and write it down. This exercise of writing down ideas can be implemented in the morning journal.

I'm a big fan of Tim Ferriss too.

I think you missed the link to your review.

As a side note, I always think - what happens to the platform when big names enter the space? They'll be making more money where as newbie and unknown people like us have to suffer.

What do you think?

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They will make big money because of their following, which they totally deserve it. They had put in lots of hard work and time to build that.

Personally, I'm excited for the big names to come in because they will also bring in their followers, and that means the Steemit community is gonna be big. The big names may not blog as often because they have other platforms to tend to, so their followers will tend to look around the platform, and they may find you!

That's why you are "The Maverick"!

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Paid experiment for positive reinforcement. Why not?

Some solid nuggets shared and the resources are quite helpful

As usual good stuff @maverickfoo. I need to give this Morning Pages a Go. It's tough right now but I need to make the time. I think waking up and doing something like this will only be beneficial.

Thanks for the post

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Waking up early to write on Steemit, is like getting paid before everybody else. :)

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Thank you for this! I have three kids and work a full time job, and would love to post more on Steemit, but have had a rough go at trying to organize my thoughts in a timely way. This post was very motivating!!

This is extremely informative and useful to a newbie like me. I attended your steemit meetup on kl then joined steemit last year December. Still struggling to write a post but do take your advice to upvote and comments on people's posts. Gonna give it a try....Thank you for sharing.

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Yup, sometimes just a small try is good. You'll never know where it leads to, right? #believe

I'm making this my habit, not in the morning but to finish a post in 21 minutes and spend the rest of my time in reading and engage with other Steemians :)

I realized I've been using too much time in writing a post (up to 2 hours) because I brainstorm, reflect, collect my thoughts, search for images, and other small small stuff at once. Breaking them down seems to be more effective.

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Yeah, breaking down helps a lot. Single focus, single task. Multitasking hurts the head over time!

I try to write everyday, however I think my post is not good enough, nevertheless will not stop me. Thanks Maverick.

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Right Practice will only make you better. :)

That most dangerous writing app sounds like it really lives up to its name, the pressure most be intense using it :D

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Yeah man. Try the hardcore mode. Definately not for the soft hearted...

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wieso gefährlich

Great experiment and thanks for sharing it here. I've got a bunch of 'mini motivation' quotes I've made for a while now. Used to share them on IG often. I guess it's time to transfer it over to steemit. Only thing is i would need to set a time like what u suggested for it, the morning pages. And love it when you break it down into little steps to get it done.

The Mostdangerouswriting apps looks like a challenge! gonna give it a go and who knows i get to force more creative juice out cos i always find i tend to go back and 'edit' my stuff before i even finished writing. |

Thanks for this Mav !!!

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Hohoho! Join the 21-Day challenge? Should make it into a tag. :)

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yeah why not u can do that. I am creating a series of 21 or 30 days challenge actually :) just havent got the time to sort it out cos i been piled up with assignments ..

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Hello @maverickfoo
Thank you for sharing this great. I can't wait to start trying out all the tips you shared. It may be tough initially but if you can do it, I can do it also.

Great advice for writers! I also love Canva for image designs. It's almost good enough to make book covers from! Keep it up 😎 Following you now...

@Maverickfoo you're really a blessing to this community. And you've just hit the nail on the head and have made me realized one thing too. Getting up from bed before to ready helps me assimilate everything read most especially during my exams. Waiting to read more articles and learn lots from your posts. Ride on dear.

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okay thanks for sharing information Success always

This is just amazing..
We've been trying to find some inspiration, something to write about..
Something that atract people to our profile, but it's really hard..
We'll be trying out this method..
Thank you for sharing this tips, and also, the tools..

How you come up with the box of topics is up to you. You can head over to this site - ConversationStarters.com - and hit on the Generate Another Random Topic, until you found one that can stimulate a thought.

This is amazing.. we didn't know that page.. Thanks a lot..
You are awsome..!


Have a great day and keep on smiling!
-LuAs-.

well written@maverickfoo. Lots of good writing tips.

experiments good. thank you for your guidance

experiments good. thank you for your guidance

 I think this is the most exciting experiment I have ever heard of, it sounds so fun and fulfilling if you do achieve your goal. You really do have an inclination for writing. I can't believe I'm thinking about trying this :)) Anyway, thank you for the suggestions, loved this post.

Nyan bereh...yes i like

Nyan bereh...yes i like

Wow this is a great post. This will be a helpful reference for many new users!

sehr gut

Thanks for sharing ,as always your advices are very good!!!

This is a very very useful post. i have been cracking my head trying to figure out how and where to draw inspiration to help me consistently post things on steemit that will help people lives.

I am so happy i found this post please keep up the good work bro.

good job sticker.jpg

wow this was now a great post! Thank you so much! I just yesterday wrote a 5 minute freewrite for the first time and after good comments decided to try it every day. Thank you for all the good tips! Following you!

Epic post. Thank you!

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