I started my daily blog after reading Attempts by Dan John and listening to a podcast with Seth Godin about this new book, The Process. I have always loved the idea of being an essayist, developing ideas about things, being informed, coming to my conclusions on something I feel is important, and sharing them with anyone that might find value in it. I had also just finished Percy Cerutty’s biography, written primarily using Cerutty’s writings, found in his study after he died. There seems to be a connection between great thinkers and a habit of writing. Dan John and Seth Godin’s books kicked me into committing to this practise of daily writing.
If you know you have to write a blog post tomorrow, something in writing, something that will be around six months from now, about something in the world, you will start looking for something in the world to write about. You will seek to notice something interesting and to say something creative about it. Well, isn’t that all we’re looking for? The best practice of generously sharing what you notice about the world is exactly the antidote for your fear.Seth Godin
Like many people, I consume a lot of content:
- I read The Economist weekly paper
- I get at least one audiobook a month with a subscription to Audible
- I read books on Kindle
- I view the Kindle and Audible daily deals and pick up more books than I can read
- I watch a little too much YouTube
- I always have an online course on the go
I wasted a lot of this content, doing little or nothing with the ideas I found. I relied on my memory to trigger some relevant reading when I wanted to discuss things or solve a problem at work. Regular writing solves this issue; the stuff I write pulls together the things I am reading and my thoughts. Each post is filed away to be searched when needed and used, and the active recall in writing aids in assimilating the ideas into what I already know.
My daily blogging goals are to develop beautiful writing, build a habit for delivering that writing every day, and improve my thinking, mainly related to my work, by putting it out into the world.
What I did not realise is that people would read it. Today I have one hundred and seven people on my email subscription list and get around twenty unique views per day. WordPress.com’s reader is the main place I get new traffic from via the keywords I add before publishing. I also use the WordPress Twitter integration to tweet links to each post and add two relevant hashtags to help people find the tweet.
I use Grammarly as my word processor to improve my writing. My spelling at school was terrible, and that psychologically stopped me from learning to write well. Using Grammarly premium for the last few years, initially to check my papers at work, and then later for everything I write on my laptop has fixed this. I am still really self-conscious about my writing ability, but the app gives me the confidence I need to communicate my ideas, and the continued use has significantly improved my work.
- Read a lot to find trigger material
- Use the dictionary, Wikipedia and other sources to learn more
- Collect my research in Readwise through Instapaper and Adobe Acrobat Online
- Draft an outline in Grammarly
- Go back to the source material to filling gaps and details
- Copy into WordPress.com and format
- Publish with keywords and share via Twitter using two hashtags
Seth Godin suggests committing to 200 days of writing every day to develop the practice as a habit. I have learned a lot, and I am only halfway through. Each post takes me between an hour and two hours in the evening to generate around 500-700 words. For the next 50 days or so, I will start adding some audio recordings of some of my posts and then move to video for my most-read posts in the final 50 days.
If you like my blog, get in touch with me on Twitter.