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I see everyone on Medium talking about their process for writing an article per day, two per day, five per week, and so on.
I applaud everyone’s effort and understand that it takes something to put together long-form posts that will be read, appreciated, shared, and so on.
But I can tell you right now that one or two articles per day probably isn’t your limit (unless each one is 4,000+ words), and with enough practice, and enough of a reason to write, you will write immeasurably more than you think you can.
I, for example, write at least 3,000+ words most days, and 5,000+ words on some.
How is this possible? It’s simpler than you think.
Commit to Deadlines & Follow Through
I’ve had weekly publishing commitments since 2011. Yes, for 10 years, I’ve had duties ranging from publishing three blog posts per week, to fulfilling on three or four client pieces ranging from 600 to 1,200 words per day (in addition to any publishing I was doing on my own blogs at the time).
Deadlines may not light you up, but when “like to” or “should” turns into “must,” I can almost guarantee you’ll find something to write about, even when you don’t feel like it.
Before Leo Babauta started blogging exclusively for his zen habits, he had a swack of writing deadlines to meet. These commitments were quite extensive as I understand it, but because he had to, he learned to complete his work with velocity.
Turn your casual commitments into non-negotiable deadlines. Then you will naturally write more.Turn your casual commitments into non-negotiable deadlines. Then you will naturally write more. Click To Tweet
Take on More Profitable Work
This goes hand in hand with my previous point. When you take on more, you’ll find a way to fulfill on it.
I’m not telling you to work at a burnout pace. I’m suggesting being a little unreasonable. Stop trying to survive your workload and look for ways to thrive in a little chaos. Transform your relationship to work.
Great leaders know how to deal with chaos. They know how to communicate, problem solve, and work with others to generate the desired result. They remain open to possibilities they may not be present to and allow others to contribute.
Maybe you don’t see yourself as a leader now, but if you want to create at the level we’re talking about here, at minimum, you will need to learn to lead yourself well.
And if you’re going to take on more, you may as well seek out profitable work and benefit from the extra load you’re taking on.
When you have less perceived time to do your work in, you discover new ways of solving seemingly impossible problems.
Be Impeccable – be a Professional
If you don’t know what it means to be a professional, read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art (affiliate link).
The best way I know to articulate it is that professionals treat their work like a business.
They open their doors daily at the same time. They’re consistent in their commitment to produce great work and please their customers. They show up even when they don’t feel like it.
Some people fear this level of commitment, but as I’ve been discovering, there is great freedom in it.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (affiliate link) author Mark Manson says:
Commitment gives you freedom because you’re no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous. Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most effective at making you healthy and happy. Commitment makes decision-making easier and removes any fear of missing out; knowing that what you already have is good enough, why would you ever stress about chasing more, more, more again? Commitment allows you to focus intently on a few highly important goals and achieve a greater degree of success than you otherwise would.
I could not have said it better myself.
Build Out Your Tool Stack
Marketing guru Dan S. Kennedy said:
Walt Disney didn’t start Disneyland with a blank page; he started with already proven, profitable amusement parks and began subtracting things he disliked, adding things he thought could be done better, further plus-ing new ideas on top of the rearranged old ones.
The point? Don’t start from scratch!
You should never succumb to blank screen syndrome when it is so completely avoidable.
Keep notes, create swipe files, save references, develop idea sheets, and so on.
Here are a few tools I use to ensure I have a starting point for all my writing:
- A LifeSheet
- A commonplace book
- A desktop calendar pad
- A “Learning” folder
- Various swipe files (tweets, email subject lines, sales copy, etc.)
- And more
What infrastructure do you have in place to support your writing?
Could you start collecting industry stats? Relevant quotes? Resources the reader would find helpful? Maybe you could create blog post templates for different post types…
If you’ve got the right infrastructure in place, you will never need to start from scratch, and you will be far more efficient.
It’s not about writing more. It’s about having a reason to write more. When you’re committed to the cause and there are no alternatives, you will find a way to make it work.It’s not about writing more. It’s about having a reason to write more. Click To Tweet
Process is secondary to your reason for doing what you do. If you’re clear on your purpose, the details tend to fall into place.
There are no limits, and there are no requirements. There are only the commitments you make to yourself. And the better you become at following through on those commitments, the more you’ll trust yourself, and the more confident you will become in your own abilities to create and deliver.
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