I get this line all the time in emails: “how the heck do you produce so much new content each week?”
I publish ten new blog posts a week and two to three social media posts every single day.
People think I make it look easy. And it is effortless, but it didn’t start out that way. Here’s a look at what it takes to produce so much new content and have it feel effortless.
Writing Is a Drug
It’s pretty easy to be consistent when you’re addicted.
(“My name is Tim and I’m addicted to the drug of writing.”) The addictive part is that it helps me express all those complicated ideas floating around in my head and use the solutions to my problems as suggestions for other people who may be enduring the same issue.
Being helpful is hard to run away from.
When you write for views, fans, attention, or any of that BS, all you end up doing is wanting more. And more is never enough.
When you write for someone other than yourself, it changes the meaning. A meaning for your life is addictive once you discover yours.
Writing Supports Me During the Tough Times
Last year I lost my job.
Without writing there would have been no money coming in to pay rent and buy food. I can’t rely on the economy to feed me, but I can rely on writing because it’s a skill I’ve consciously practiced for six years straight.
If you spend enough time developing a set of skills, then you can use those skills in different ways when times get tough.
Writing contains many skills, such as:
- Good image selection.
- The ability to curate ideas, people, other writers, and stories.
- Creating headlines.
- Formatting text.
- Being able to be humble when talking to readers.
- Communicating in a nice and concise way when you deal with editors and publications.
- Keeping your energy levels going.
- Managing your time so you can find space to write.
- Reading lots of books to fill up your ideas machine.
- Networking abilities that allow you to meet and collaborate with other content creators.
- A basic understanding of money — so you can buy back time to write and invest what you make in financial assets and complete strangers.
Writing stupid amounts of content is only part of the skill. Writers who just write can often fall short without learning the other associated skills.
Let Your Imperfection Be Good Enough
My writing is imperfect. I am not good at grammar and miss mistakes all the time in my work.
Writing consistently is about accepting imperfection. Published work is better than a folder full of drafts that are crying out for you to be perfect.
You will never be a perfect writer or write perfectly — and from experience, that’s what readers fall in love with.
The Process Is Flexible
Having a process you follow as a writer is definitely helpful. What is rarely spoken about is having a process that is flexible.
If you don’t change up your writing process, it becomes stale.
These last few weeks I have changed up my writing process. Here are a few things I’ve changed:
- Start with a shower/Don’t shower until after writing.
- Drink coffee/Don’t drink coffee.
- Change soundtrack.
- Write on a different day.
- Write off the top of my head / Let people suggest writing ideas to me.
- Write for an audience / Write something just for me.
- Write because it’s a habit / Write for fun.
- Use a stock image / Use an illustration.
Each tweak in my writing process has produced different results and that keeps me engaged and finding new ways to write.
Willpower Is Not Relied On
This might shock you: I never feel like writing.
Because I write so much and for many hours at a time, the start is always hard. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and that plays tricks on the mind. If I relied on willpower and having time, then my writing dream would have died at the end of the Harry Potter movie series along with Voldemort.
That’s why writing is scheduled on my calendar. The time to write is blocked out in advance and it’s not up for negotiation. If you try and cancel my writing time then I’ll probably be unhappy.
I have trained the people around me to know that Thursdays and Saturdays are off-limits. I won’t answer phone calls or respond to emails on these days. At the start, I had to repeat it a lot, but now people understand and I get to the end of a writing day with zero calls, zero SMSes, and zero emails.
My Life Has Been Dumbed Down
I write and go to work. That’s it. The goal is so simple that it’s hard to stuff up or forget. It might sound basic and that’s because it is. Achievement in any field is simple. If you really want something, you have to put in the work.
Thick Skin Is a Must
Writers attract plenty of criticism. If you share your thoughts or have an opinion, then people are going to throw comments at you and hit you right between the eyes sometimes.
The key has been not to take myself too seriously. I’m doing the best I can and don’t have all the answers. I wasn’t born with thick skin, so a lot of time, that means taking a few breaks from reading comments. If you let the comments affect you negatively then you’ll stop writing a stupid amount of content. You’ll start doubting yourself or thinking you’re not good enough.
You’ll teleport into the minds of your friends, family, parents, or worse, your boss at work. Some of what you write will be good. Some of what you write will be terrible.
1/10 Usefulness Ratio
A lot of what I write goes nowhere or falls flat. This is true for most writers unless you’re Hemingway, which I’m certainly not.
About 1/10 of my articles seem to find an audience. The other nine go nowhere — there’s hardly anyone clapping them or leaving comments.
The more you write the more you have a chance to write something that people find useful. And if you write for long enough, you may even have a viral hit that becomes timeless and helps people for years to come (that could even be turned into a book) — expecting that to happen, though, is a bad idea.
Quality is subjective and there is no one formula on how to write and help your audience.
What Does All of This Mean for You?
This is what has worked for me. Everyone’s writing journey is different. When I first started writing, I honestly thought it would lead nowhere.
I thought my ideas were stupid or held no value other than cliché advice and quotes from people you’re sick to death of hearing from.
The truth is your writing does have value because it’s your experience and it’s how you see the world. It takes time to show up for long enough and figure out what you want to write. Start with writing stories or advice for a close friend who doesn’t know you’re speaking to them. This helps give your writing an audience if you don’t have one yet.
No one can predict how far you will go as a writer, but what I can tell you is that producing a lot of content every week certainly helps you hone your craft.
Go out there and write if that’s what you want to do. You are good enough and you don’t need permission to write and hit publish. The good news is that the biggest barrier to writing a stupid amount of content is you. So get out of your own way and write, and see where it takes you.