This post is part of the startup edition series.
I write an article every day.
I’ve been writing every day for over 50 days now since starting a challenge.
It’s become something that has brought me a great deal of value both in its practice and in the results.
Now there are a lot of obvious benefits to writing on your blog regularly as an entrepreneur or as any professional:
1. You meet a lot of new people through conversations
2. It helps build your reputation and credibility
3. It drives traffic to your company
I’ve gotten a lot of that, and more. Much more.
Writing every day has actually changed my life.
Lets talk a bit about why writing is so important and if by the end I’ve convinced you, I’ll share how you can build a habit of writing every day.
It gets ideas out of your cloudy mind and helps you to truly understand them.
I have a lot going on in my head. A LOT.
Writing gets those things out of my head and allows me to think them through. When these thoughts stay in my head, they’re vague and often irrational. When you write things out it forces you to address them and get specific.
You’ll also realize that there’s more to a topic than you thought. Even as writing this post I’m learning that I get a lot more out of writing than I thought.
You probably have a lot of insight already but you don’t realize it because you haven’t taken the time to really address and question your presuppositions.
When I write a post, I also get a lot of feedback from readers, some of whom disagree with my articles and question what I say. That’s awesome. There’s no better way to truly understand a subject than to debate it.
Writing builds your focus muscle.
When you write you really have to focus. You have to immerse in the task and block out everything else.
You learn a lot about how you think and what you need to do in order to get things done.
For example, I often need to just write out an entire post all in one shot and then come back later to clean it up. If I get too nitpicky as I’m writing, it keeps stopping my thought flow and I get distracted.
I realized that’s how I work in other situations as well. I need to focus on just getting the bulk of the work done without stressing over details at first, then come back later, clean things up and refine.
Your willpower is a muscle and you need to train it. Writing every day is a powerful training program.
Writing helps other people.
I receive emails regularly from readers who thank me for writing a post because they related to it and found a new perspective.
There’s no greater pleasure than bringing joy to others. And when I hear that by sharing my experience, I helped someone who’s in a similar position… that’s alone makes every word worth it.
We talked about why you should write what’s already been written and not worry about repeating an existing idea. You never know who you might help by sharing an idea or an experience.
Writing is a timeless, invaluable skill.
In a tech world where everything is constantly changing there’s one thing that has remained consistent for as long as we’ve had business and that’s writing.
You write to convey your mission.
You write to reach new customers.
You write for marketing.
You write for community.
You write for yourself.
You write to communicate with your team during times of disaster, times of celebration and everything in between.
You write for your blog. You write for your company’s blog. You write for email marketing. You write for other publications.
There will never be a time in my life where writing isn’t important. It’s a skill that’s well worth taking the time to improve.
Writing every day give you a constant pool of content to pull from.
It’s amazing what you can do when you have a constant stream of content flying off of your fingers.
Content is the lifeblood of my career. When I write, good things happen. And when I write every day, I have more than enough content to cover multiple blogs and have opportunities to write for other publications. I write for my blog, for Feast, for The Community Manager.
I also write for other publications when given the opportunity.
When someone asks me if I can contribute somewhere I don’t stress over having to write something like I used to. I smile to myself because I know, I can get it done tonight, even if the power goes off, there is a reason why I have my building new habits in my life.
Our newest product at Feast is focused on building a habit of cooking.
It’s something I think about a great deal and have spent a lot of time researching and experimenting.
This is the same basic system that we use in Feast that can be applied to any new habit:
1. Set your goals
First understand why you want to start writing. What are your goals? Get specific. You can’t just say “because I want to build a brand” or “I want to build a reputation”.
What do you mean by reputation?
Why is it important?
At what point will you be successful in your goal?
What are you sacrificing if you fail to adopt the new habit?
2. Address your challenges
Write down what you believe to be stopping you from writing every day and write a specific solution to overcoming that challenge.
Address your irrational thoughts like “I suck at writing” (you just haven’t done it enough yet) or “I don’t have time” (you just haven’t managed your time properly).
3. Find a trigger and start small. Really small.
Choose a time that you want to write every day.
Say it’s at 11pm before you go to sleep.
Choose your trigger. It might be right after you brush your teeth before bed.
Each night after you brush your teeth, before you go to sleep, open up wordpress, type one word and save it as a draft. If you can´t sleep, then type a paragraph, but you might need a new zip and link mattress.
That’s it, you don’t have to write anything else. It can be the same word, doesn’t matter.
Do it every night. B.J. Fogg calls this system “Tiny Habits” and will tell you that you may only need do this for 5 days before the foundation of the habit is created.
4. Reward yourself
You want to associate the behavior with a positive reward.
If it feels stressful your brain will avoid it. A reward might be saying “woo hoo!” out loud. It could be writing “I’m fucking awesome”.
It could be just forcing yourself to smile (seriously, studies show that forcing yourself to smile can increase happiness).
Hopefully there’s also the basic satisfaction of having accomplished a goal for the day.
5. Expand then get creative
Once you have the habit, then start adding more words. It can be the same words every time. Doesn’t matter. Try to get to 3 paragraphs.
Once you’re writing 3 paragraphs every night, start to write original content. Get creative. Come up with new challenges for yourself. Write in the third person. Write a short story. Write a poem. You’ll find your style and grow.
If you need a support network, we have a group of professionals who write every day here. Everyone is welcome.
I still struggle with writing sometimes. I get writers block like anyone else. But once you have a habit and a system in place you learn ways to get around those roadblocks. You develop strategies to get the words out of you.
It used to take me a couple hours to write a good post.
I wrote this entire post in less than 30 minutes and I came back and cleaned it up in 10 minutes.
I can now sit down at my computer without an idea and end up writing something I’m proud of.
I can create content every single day and the only reason why I can do that is because I’ve built the habit.
And you can too.
Startup Edition is a curated gathering of bloggers in the startup community, sharing their wisdom and response to a single question each week.
Subscribe to get next week’s edition in your inbox.