I’ve been writing (and publishing) every week day on my website for almost two months now and it feels incredible. And it was a lot easier than I expected. Here are the guidelines I run with:
- Post one thing almost every weekday.
- Write it when you get up in the morning, before you start work (I work from home, so that helps).
- Publish it when people are awake.
- It doesn’t matter how long or well researched it is, really (but try not to write junk).
- If I’m sick or on vacation or just really can’t post, don’t sweat it.
- Do this until I don’t want to do it anymore.
That’s basically it. I’ve been unusually consistent (for me) at this in part because I treat those as guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Normally when I set a goal for myself it’s way too ambitious, I feel overwhelmed, and I bail on it. The usual me would have said at the start “I’m going to publicly commit to publishing one post per day, every day, for the next year.” and then I would have failed after 2 weeks.
But with this project, I’m trying to be as lax as possible. I wanted to write every day because I had a backlog of ideas to write about and because it was a good motivator to get out of bed a little earlier every day. I have no real goal in mind of write for a year or anything like that, I just want to do it until I don’t want to do it anymore. That feels so much easier and less of a burden than if I’d set some big lofty goal for myself.
None of my writing I’d consider truly amazing but that isn’t really the point. The point is for me to think out loud, get the thoughts out of my head, and have fun in the process. I was worried I’d quickly run out of post ideas, but my idea list is twice as long today as it was when I started (and that’s not counting everything I’ve written about in the meantime), so there’s no real end in sight (until at least, I get to a point where I don’t want to write any of the ideas in my list).
Writing every day has made it a lot easier for me to “just write” and I think it’s made me a better writer, but I absolutely still struggle from time to time, too. Sometimes I can just crack my knuckles (ew) and crank something out and it’s awesome. But other times I’ve struggled, deleted attempt after attempt, and eventually switched topics for the day.
It’d be easy for me to say “So, I’d failed at my projects goal and instead decided to do this writing-every-day goal instead, aren’t I smart?” but in reality it only looks like that in hindsight. The two were mostly unrelated. It just so happens that writing every day has helped me get into a better habit of practice and improvement, but it wasn’t done as an alternative to my failed goal.
(Huge credit also to my friend Soroush Khanlou, who wrote a post per week in 2015, he is a major inspiration. Mine are mostly furiously written and then published, but his are thoughtful, well researched, and edited.)