Post #100 in 100 Days: Why and How I Do It
100 days ago I set out to publish every day to share my thoughts with you, while developing a disciplined writing habit. I’m taking a break today from writing about selling with confidence to share what I’ve learned over the course of publishing daily for 100 days.
Now, this isn’t the milestone that Seth Godin recently accomplished (7,000 posts), but only time will allow me to catch him. Watch out, Seth.
After the first 30 days of writing daily, I outlined the benefits – both obvious and unexpected – that I get from publishing daily. I’d summarize it in a single word: clarity.
Instead of focusing inward on this post, I’d like to answer two primary questions people ask repeatedly:
Why do you do it?
How do you do it?
Why I Publish Every Day
My primary goal was to publish daily. Check. 100 days down and the rest of my life to go.
I didn’t commit to writing daily, though I expected that would happen. It hasn’t quite happened, but close. I often sit down to a write few posts at a time (like the “Why People Buy” series of posts), then schedule them out over several days.
But something funny happened along the way that I didn’t fully expect: people actually read my writing. I regularly get messages expressing appreciation for what I share. I’ve reconnected with people I haven’t spoken to for years.
Generating ideas, or having a unique point of view has become much more natural and fluid. By my nature, I’m often lost in my thoughts, thinking about how to help people or improve my business. As a writer, this is immensely helpful because I always have material. That makes it easier to write. Because I publish every day, I’m always on the hunt for more material. Generating ideas and publishing daily: they work in tandem to create an important cycle.
Publishing daily requires discipline. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I don’t have much to say. Sometimes I don’t feel up to the task. Just this week I sat down to write a post at 8pm after giving 2 presentations, hosting 2 clients calls, and having 5 calls with potential clients. I’m not writing classic American novels here, but Ernest Hemingway’s quote comes to mind:
”There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
The daily publishing format gives me freedom. I don’t need to organize long-form thoughts (not counting this post), the editing load is quite light, and I’ve added many constraints to keep the goal achievable and realistic. I just keep doing it.
There’s another side of discipline that’s not about repetition, but rather focus. It’s easy to get caught up in the 50 things that need to be done, checking social networks and email, and getting back to clients. It’s overwhelming. Writing well only happens with focus and dedication. Yes, please: I’ll take more of that.
And finally, I publish daily because it’s the birthplace of my ideas. One small, 200-word post here could turn into a cornerstone of my business. As Oddisee said in his song Contradiction’s Maze:
“I ain’t got whens but I got hows.”
How I Publish Every Day
When I’m asked “how do you do it,” it often means 1) what is the step-by-step process, or 2) how do you develop a habit to write daily. I’ll tackle #1 first.
I find it’s important to do a few things to keep the ideas flowing and words coming out:
I never sit down to write unless I already know what I’m going to say.
I’m constantly looking for new ideas and have a method to capture them (through Todoist, my todo list manager).
I often sit down with a pen and paper and generate only ideas. No writing, just ideas. (i.e. “selling the worldview – clients don’t just buy you” turned into this post.)
Don’t overthink it. This is the hardest one for me, because I’m a perfectionist, but I’ve learned to err on the side of moving fast rather than being perfect. Sure, I still have high quality standards, but I don’t overthink my work now.
Don’t miss a day. ‘Nuff said there.
Developing the habit is first and foremost about removing likely failure points. I don’t have a target number of words to publish. I don’t have a traffic goal. I don’t force myself to write every day, only to publish every day. And I priorotize publishing over making each piece exceptional, although it’s certainly what I strive for. In short, I took stock of the most likely reasons that Liston of the Future would use to break the habit, and I removed them.
The biggest change for me is mental. I committed to publishing every day because writing is core to my business and what I want to do in the long run. It’s obvious enough, but worth saying: writers write. And it’s best if writers write every single day.
That’s what I do now.
Back to the Program
I always get something out of what I write, but I hope you did too. Now back to the program: helping you sell with confidence.
And in 265 days I’ll recap what I’ve learned after publishing every day for a year.