Time for celebration! Last week I published my 50th blog-post. Now I want to share what I learned from writing my first 50 blog-posts.
1. Everything takes time to get started and that’s ok
I published my first blog-post on June 26, 2016. I wrote 4 more posts in July and then I didn’t write anything in 4 months. Then I wrote two more posts and again had another break for 3 months. Only then it got more consistent. Now I am publishing two posts per week and I even have a little buffer.
2. Have a process, but be open to develop it
Creative work needs some structure and boundaries to be effective. So define a workflow. My process changed over time as I learned more about my creative process. This is what my process looks like now:
- Turn on focus music. A good choice is Focus at Will. This music helps me to get into a creative mindset.
- Open my writing app and decide on a topic. It doesn’t matter too much which app you use. But it matters for me to decide on a topic that grabs my interest. Then I will come up with something to write.
- Write blog-draft. After I chose the topic, I will start writing the first thoughts that come to mind. I just write them down and then some structure for my text will emerge later. I continue writing and when I feel like everything is said, I will make a few edits.
- Draw images. This part of the process is challenging for me. I know the power of visuals and I want to get better at making them. That is why I made the decision to include at least one hand-drawn image into every post. This forces me to think of something, even if I feel uncomfortable with it. I have a quick glance at my text and decide what thought I want to illustrate. Then I start with something simple like a circle and go from there. The idea most often only develops start drawing something, like a circle. Inspiration comes after starting the process. Not before.
- Upload to WordPress and schedule the post. Once I included the visuals in my post, I upload it to WordPress. I will choose a featured image and make a few edits. Then I schedule the post for either a Sunday or a Wednesday. Scheduling the post is much easier than publishing it right away. There is something about postponing and automating that task, that reduces anxiety. Also by now, I have built up a buffer of 2-3 weeks that makes it more relaxed to create.
3. Write everyday to keep your writing muscles fresh
There is scientific evidence, that writing everyday is much easier than to write every once in a while. When you write everyday you get used to writing and keep your writing muscles fresh. For more in-depth information I recommend reading “How to Write a Lot” by Paul J. Silvia. He also has a recorded talk available, that covers much of the topics.
4. Make it easy for yourself
There are a couple of things I use to make writing easier for myself.
- I write about topics that capture my attention. That keeps me away from worrying too much about what others might think. And it gets me writing faster and with more confidence.
- I automate parts of the process. I use a WordPress feature that automatically pushes the posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. That way I spread the message a little without even thinking about it. My writing app also allows me to directly publish to WordPress and saves a few steps in that process.
- I simplified processes. I posted more once I got a simpler process for drawing. In the beginning, I drew my drawings by hand, then scanned and edited them which was a tedious and time-consuming process. After I bought my Surface Pro 4 things got much easier. I can now draw on my screen.
5. It feels like you have nothing to say, but just get started anyway
This is probably the most important lesson. Every time I sit down to write draw, I think there is nothing to create. But I decide on a topic anyway, start writing my first thougths down and then something develops from it. It always does. When I push through that feeling and start with simply writing a few words or drawing a circle, something will always come. I am often surprised at how much I like that process in the end.
Do you create something? What are the lessons you learned, once you did it repeatedly?