How does Seth Godin write a blog post every day?
That's a question I've been trying to answer for quite some time now.
I'm well aware that publishing daily is a good habit for newbie writers. William Zinsser had something to say about this in his book On Writing Well:
You learn to write by writing. It’s a truism, but what makes it a truism is that it’s true. The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.
In fact, thanks to the Internet, publishing daily gives us something that authors back then didn't have: instant feedback. The Internet instantly informs you about what resonates with others, and what you should double down on.
Jerry Seinfeld would use to go to smaller bars and experiment with his writing in front of a smaller audience. This audience gives him data on his jokes. "This is good, this is okay, this is terrible". Then, he goes back and re-write his jokes. This feedback is what made him the most successful comedian ever.
While I don't have it all figured out, I'd like to share a few tips on how I'm planning to build this habit:
1. Ask someone to keep you accountable
I've done a 30 day publishing challenge before, and one of the reasons why I managed to do that is that I had someone to keep me accountable. Knowing that someone is out there, going through the same challenges that I am going through motivates me and forces me to sit down and actually write. This time round other than asking someone to write with me, I'm also setting an email list for people who would read my daily essays. If you'd like to receive my essays in your inbox daily, sign up here!
2. Take the first step now
It's easy to fall into the trap of putting things off, but you can easily cure this by taking the first step now. Whatever goals you are pursuing, you can always do the first action now. This creates momentum and motivates you to keep going and not procrastinate off it. What matters is doing it now. The first step I'm taking in building this habit is reviving my old Revue account to be used as an email list. There's a lot of housekeeping to be done such as deleting previous issues, but I'm okay with simply collecting email for now. I'll figure out the rest later.
3. Write like you talk
Stop saying "I don't have time to write". Seth Godin has something to say about this:
“Come to me after you stop watching TV or the Internet," he says. “If you’re not doing those things, I’m willing to listen to the fact that you don’t have time. Everybody has time to speak. Everybody has time to talk about how their day went -- so if you write like you talk, all you have to do is write down that thing you said. It literally can take 90 seconds if you want it to.”
4. Make the decision once
When Seth Godin was asked about how he's able to publish daily, he emphasised the importance of making the decision to do so once and committing to it.
"If you can make a decision once, then the question isn’t should I do it? It’s what will I do? If you make the decision once to be a vegan, then you don't need to have a discussion with yourself every single night about whether or not to have a hamburger. If you make the decision to blog every single day, then the only discussion I have to have with myself is what’s the best blog post I can write -- not should I write a post
5. Don't sweat it
While Seth Godin is famous for his daily blog, he didn't started out with consistency from the get go. In 2002, he published 9 posts in the first month, followed by 1 in the second and 3 in the third month.
He didn't have it all figured out at once. It took him 3 years to publish daily. Don't sweat it if you don't get it right the first time. Even the pros find it hard.
Hopefully with these tips, I'll make the habit of publishing daily stick. Let's see where it goes :)
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