Exactly a week ago today, I decided to go on a writing bender and produced 9 published articles on Medium. I wrote something every day (except Sunday) and pushed it for the people to consume.
Here are 10 lessons I learnt from the experience.
1. Writing is the only way to get rid of writer’s block
Many beginners in writing struggle with a thing called writer’s block. When words refuse to flow from brain to keyboard and you’re just staring at an empty screen, it can be frustrating.
The only what to get rid of this predicament is to write. It doesn’t matter if nothing makes sense. You just have to keep writing until you get used to the process of generating words for the screen.
We often get writer’s block because our inner perfectionist is critizing every possible sentence that you have yet to produce. Pre-editing is your worst enemy when it comes to writer’s block.
Editing comes later but you need something to edit first — so type away until you’ve got words to look over.
2. After you’ve hit publish, go do something else
Yes, that’s right. Walk away. Go have lunch. Do the dishes. Talk to your friends. Because obsessing over your stats can be stressful, especially when those stats are slightly delayed.
When an article is doing well, refreshing your dashboard every other second can be thrilling, especially as the graphs and numbers climb higher and higher each time. However, it can be extra discouraging when your next article doesn’t do as well as the last one.
Relax a little. It will help you in the long run and save you a lot of time.
3. Writing consistently is a process and a habit
To produce content consistently, you have to commit to creating consistently.
A habit is something your do often. It is a task that you repeat over and over again to a point where it becomes automatic.
When you turn writing in a daily habit, the act of writing itself becomes easier as your brain gets accustomed to the routine of producing coherent sentences for others to consume.
4. The easiest way to write is to write about what you know
For years I’ve tried writing but always failed. I would start but then fall wayward in the content, the structure or just plain struggle to make something of value.
After resolving to write consistently, I tried a different approach. I started to write about my life experiences and portrayed opinions I had about topics I felt strongly about.
By writing about what you know, you also learn to find your writing voice. As you become more confident in your style, the words will come quicker and easier.
5. Someone, somewhere will read and like your writing
I’ve always been self critical about my work. In a way, it’s helped it get better over time but self criticism is not always a good friend. It can give you self doubt, fear and worry.
However, after consistently publishing my content on Medium, I’ve learn that someone, somewhere will read and like your writing. Good or bad, your reader is the final judge of that — especially when you get a monetary reward for your work.
6. Your worst may actually be your best
I’ve written 9 articles on Medium so far but only one can be deemed as the only successful one.
The best part of this writing experiment, the one I thought was my worst is actually judged as my best work by my readers. The one I poured the most effort and hours into has barely any views, reads or claps.
7. It’s easier if you write at the same time every day
After resolving to write, I found that writing in the morning every day helped me produce content faster and of higher quality. This is because after the third day, I’ve established a habit of writing at least one article by 10am.
The brain is a muscle and the more we train it to think a certain way and do something consistently at a certain time, the easier the task becomes.
It doesn’t have to be a rigid schedule but approximate times and series of events before you sit down to write does help.
The more you write, the better you get.
8. When you’ve resolved to write, don’t think. Just do it.
This goes for everything in life. Once you’ve resolved to do something — you just need to do it.
The hardest part in achieving anything is starting. Weather it be those dirty dishes in the sink, that project you’ve always wanted to do or in this case, write every day — your resolution won’t just happen by itself.
Thinking about what you’re going to do can lead to planning paralysis and procrastination. There will never be a perfect time, place, program, pen, paper, pencil, idea or whatever else you can think of that would prevent your from writing.
To be a writer, you need to write.
9. When you’ve written a lot, you start to hear your writing voice
The more you write, the more you develop your ability to translate your inner voice into written words.
The more you write, the more you hone your style of writing.
The more you write, the more your sentences will flow quicker and it won’t be long until it comes second nature. Your words will a voice of its own — a certain character and personality that is unique to you as you construct your arguments, opinions and paragraphs with ease.
10. You will always miss something when proof reading
It happens. Especially when you’ve spent the past hour typing away. You will certainly miss something simply because you’ve read that sentence more than a dozen times and you know exactly what it’s supposed to say.
As a result, your eyes will glaze over the words and your mind will play tricks on you.
This is when walking away helps.
Proof reading requires you to rest. Like a Sunday roast, you need to let your work sit for a little bit before looking over it again. Only then will you spot the errors that you wouldn’t have seen.
* * *
There is no such thing as the perfect piece. As long as you keep writing, every piece you create will be better than the last — even if you don’t think it is.
Starting is always the hardest part in writing but the more you write, easier it becomes. The more you write, the more you learn about the process, it’s quirks, requirements and methods to avoid procrastination.
And if you need motivation and inspiration to write, just remember Shia LaBeouf’s famous word and Nike’s tagline — “Just do it”.