How I Went From 1 Blog Post Per Year To Publishing 23 In A Month.

in #writing5 years ago

Six years ago I had a dream.

I wanted to be a writer. I bought a domain. Set up a WordPress. And proceeded to publish 2 articles in all of 2011. None the following year.

This is a bit of an exaggeration. I had published a few more. But I was so unhappy with the results that I actually took them down. I had what I thought was a great idea: I’d begin to implement changes to improve my life. Blog about it. Hope that my journey might help someone else who was searching for the same types of changes. It sounded great in my head.

But what came out in my writing was just not quite right. Sometimes I sounded like I was ranting. Sometimes I’d get into political debates. Sometimes I’d want to share advice and then stop because who the hell am I to be giving advice to anyone?

I felt like I had the potential to be a good writer. But most of what I’d write would feel amateur to me. I'd spend hours writing something that sounded like wandering gibberish. I was all over the map. Not only was each article a mess of thoughts, but I couldn’t really explain what the site itself was even about. No focus. No direction.

The frustrating part is that I felt like I knew what I wanted to be doing with it. I just couldn’t seem to articulate it. I couldn’t find the words. That’s bad news for a wanna-be writer.

I’d been itching for change.

I felt like I was spinning my wheels. I had started 6-years ago. I had nothing to show for it. Two or three friends and as many family members were all who read my blogs. I sold my failing business. My health had declined a bit in recent years. I was restless. But not doing much about it.

Then, I went to Anarchapulco again last February. I spent time with friends who are always challenging ideas. We feed off each other and always come away from our conversations energized and with a renewed sense of clarity, or wonder.

I came home determined to finally make changes I’d been “trying” to make for years.

I had already begun working on a system for developing new habits. One of which was to read more. To read in a real book every day. Funny enough, after getting back from my trip to Mexico, one of the first books I picked up was Scott Adams’ How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big. In this book, he confirmed that I was on the right track. My focus on “habits not goals” was right in line with his approach. It’s nice to get validation like this sometimes.

Then I was chatting with my smart friends again when someone sent an interesting YouTube video- which led me to James Altucher. I thought he was weird and interesting so I bought his book, Choose Yourself. As I read that book, everything started to gel. I was inspired. I started taking dozens of notes every day. Suddenly, I had direction. Focus. Now I just needed to apply my system of habits to start writing every day.

Not good enough.

I was writing every day, but nothing was getting published. It just wasn’t good enough. This one needed an illustration, but I don’t have time to draw it. This one seems too long but I don’t know what to cut. This one is rambling, but I don’t know how to tighten it up. And again, my smart friends were there for me. I got the advice from more than one of them...

...Just publish the damn things.



So I made the smallest of changes. Instead of my daily habit being “to write”, I changed it to be “to publish”.

If writing is like working out. Publishing is like stepping into the ring. You can hit that heavy bag every day for years, but until you go toe to toe with someone else, you’ll never know if you can fight or not. (you probably can’t)

My writing still needs to improve. I still hit publish and then find things I should’ve done better. I still take the long way around. Say too much. Miss the mark. Lack the right words.

But I’m getting feedback. I’m getting readers. And I’m getting better.

Ironically, my need for excellence was keeping me from improving. I didn’t want to ship my work because it wasn’t good enough. But it wasn’t improving because I wasn’t shipping it. I lacked direction because every attempt seemed inadequate. It wasn’t the subject matter that was the problem. It wasn’t even the quality of my writing. It was the lack of completion.

I’m not sure why I have to learn the same lessons over and over again, but I’ve noticed when I’m able to boil down the things I've learned, I’m reminded of the times years ago when I thought I had learned the same lesson.

Like the time I began to believe I had potential as an artist.

It was the 5th grade. My teacher was Mr. Payne.

Mr. Art Payne - funny.

We were supposed to be drawing our own shoe. The classroom was quiet. You could hear the graphite sliding across the papers. The occasional erasure squeak followed by a quick puff of air and a little 5th graders’ hand- thud, thud, thud, wiping away the dirty little bits of an eraser.

Then there was me. Draw. Erase. Draw. Erase. Draw. sigh Crumple the paper. Start over.

Draw. Erase. Draw. Erase. Draw. sigh Crumple the paper. Start over.

Draw. Erase. Crumple.

I must have been making a bit of commotion in my frustration because Mr. Payne came over and knelt by my desk. Smiling. “How’s it going?”

“Not good. I can’t get it right.”

“I think you’re doing fine!”

“No. I can see that it’s not right. I just can’t make it work!”

“Do me a favor?” Everybody liked Mr.Payne. Even me. I hated school but Mr.Payne was a pretty good guy. Of course, I would do him a favor.

“Just finish it.

Even if it looks wrong. Just leave the mistake. Don’t erase anymore. Just keep drawing the rest of it and see how it comes out. If you finish the whole thing and you don’t like it you can always try again. But just keep drawing and see how it turns out.”

I don’t mean to brag. But let me tell you, for a 5th grader, I drew a damn fine shoe.

In fact, it was far better than I thought I was capable of doing. Other kids complimented me on it. I was beaming. I learned the value right then of avoiding perfectionism and just getting the job done.

Yet. Here I am. 42 years old. My friends telling me, “just publish the damn things!”

So that’s how I went from 1 blog post per year to my new record of 23 last month. I can’t wait for them to be good enough because they likely never will be. But the more I publish, the more feedback I get. Some of it’s good. Some of it’s not. Most of it’s good. So I take the feedback, apply what I can, stick to my habits, and publish.

If you have something inside you that you haven’t been able to get out; maybe it’s art, a dance, a song, a story, my advice is to listen to Mr.Payne. Just finish it. It’s ok if it doesn’t come out the way you want. Complete the whole thing before you decide to crumple up the paper. Share it. Have the guts to make it public.

Just publish the damn thing.

You might just surprise yourself!


The more you do the better you become. Keep on posting . :)

I know what you mean. I love writing since I came to steemit! Not only because of the rewards but becazse of the feedback!

Thats just what I needed to read !
What a fantastic, well thought out and intelligent article. You have a new fan.
Best wishes and thanks, will continue to consume your output as I seek my own path :-)

There is something about presenting your thoughts and expression to the World that is in itself intimidating. It stems from a desire for acceptance - to not be rejected - to be sent a sign that somebody out there gives a damn.

The World is not kind. You may gain the level and nature of feedback that you crave while others will simply look through all the intricacies of that which you write to home in upon 'that one thing' that they don't agree with - and skewer it with their ill-considered words.

It is the risk that any person with a standpoint risks. It is the only way to invite people to consider that which they otherwise would not.

Thank you for sharing your difficult experiences. Expression can take many forms - and some are more enabled than others. Regardless of one's level of ability it is always worth the while to push one's boundaries further - no matter what they might be.

I like steemit because I feel posting here is like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it's done. I do my best, but every effort is ultimately just practice for the next time. Like someone once told me a doctor has a practice. Even doctors are simply practicing when they do heart surgery.

I was sort of giggling as I read this because I had a blog almost exactly like yours, except it was 2008. The theme was similar. I'd begun steps to do my part in changing the world, and I was hoping others would be inspired by them and join me. I posted a total of seven times.

I'm really inspired that you were able to post 23 times in a month. It feels like if I tried to do that, the rest of my life would fall into ruin, since writing is a slow process for me. But after reading this, it seems I could at least do better than the six posts a year I'm averaging now. Maybe I'll get better and faster if I push myself a little more. Maybe the periods of depression-fueled writer's block will also lessen.

Thank you for making the effort to post and not crumple. The view of your writing from outside your head is that its clear, interesting and helpful. I occasionally browse through Steemit looking for people who pique my interest, and there are not a lot of people on here writing at this level.

I found that I could write a poem a day for over 3 month. All it took was trying. So I really recomment trying :)

This is an outstanding article. Thank you for publishing it!

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