While I’ve owned this domain name since the late 90’s, I’ve only started blogging daily since July. I hesitate to even call it “blogging” anymore as even that definition has been challenged in my thinking over the last few months.
With over 120 posts under my proverbial belt, I thought it was time to assess my progress and share what I’ve learned thus far, as it may be of interest to at least one of you.
1.) Discipline: Writing everyday takes discipline. But rather than summoning what amount I already had in order to stick with this task, I found that new discipline was discovered – that which I’d never had before.
Often times existing discipline fuels (or creates) desire; but in this instance, I found new discipline because of desire. It’s been extremely healthy and fruitful, leaking over into other areas of my life, from sleeping less to reading more.
2.) Contextual Perspective: The original idea of a blog – or a web-log – was for it to serve as a public diary of sorts. The only rub with that is I’m not very interested in the minutia of someone’s personal life, as wading through my own is work enough.
But by the end of the last decade, blogs were becoming topical, informative, and attractive by what they offered, not necessarily who it was from. You didn’t have to be famous to have an audience, you just needed to be a step ahead in your particular field.
At first I thought I had to “share what I knew,” which immediately led to, “I don’t know enough to write something everyday.” And other thoughts of, “I’ll reach the bottom of my own well in less than 30 days. Then what?”
But what my audience taught me – the one that’s grown slowly to over 4,000 visitors a week – is that my perspective on what I observe is more valuable than the sum of what I know.
3.) Relational Journey: Similarly, my goal changed from, “Quick! Find a concept to write about so I can keep my daily consecutive record going,” to, “What will my audience find interesting, noteworthy, or valuable when added to their lives?”
This has not only helped me become a more thoughtful person, observing with intent the daily occurrences around me, but it’s helped build some cool relationships. I make a daily point to respond at least once to every single commenter; if they took they time to say, “Hey, I’m here reading, that was great,” then I should take the time to reply.
And my life is better for it. It’s amazing how small measures of communication can have a tremendous impact.
I also have connected with people face-to-face at literally every stop in my travels. “Hey, I read your blog every day; thanks for writing it.” Which quickly taught me that 98% of my readers don’t comment, but they are receiving – which subsequently changed the goal of my ego-writing-attitude from “getting comments” to “giving worth.”
4.) Make One Point: After hearing Pastor Andy Stanley mention this last year, I’ve been trying to discipline myself, in all forms of communication – be it music, speaking, writing, or graphic – to make just one point at a time.
Such a practice not only takes off tremendous pressure to be a guru on all topics, but more importantly, helps your audience retain information. Value over quantity.
And if you do have more than one point to make on a subject, spread it out over a few days. (Unlike what I’m doing now).
5.) Improved Writing: King writes 10 pages a day, even on holidays. Hemingway wrote 500 words a day, even on napkins. And if you’re truly a master at something after 10,000 hours of skillfully conducting it, then who am I to say I want to be a great writer without putting in the time?
Bottom line, getting serious about writing means getting serious and writing.
Last week I sat down to start work on the final installment of a co-written trilogy with Wayne Thomas Batson. Even though I only punched out a measly 276 words in that session (spending the majority of my time freshening up on the previous two books), those 276 were poignant, efficient, and thought-provoking words.
It was the difference between driving a pre-July Volkswagen Beetle, and a post-July Audi TT Roadster. The later handles high speed turns much better.
And it’s far more fun to drive. ch: