What Writing Every Day In 2020 Has Taught Me
January 1, 2021
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year 2021.
Last year in December, as the new year was approaching, I had resolved that I would start a blog on Personal Development and Growth. I decided I would write every day. Not because it was difficult but because it felt like the safer option. If I chose writing every week, it meant that there would be time and space between every article I publish, and I was not confident I had the will and discipline to keep up to the resolution.
Writing every day, on the other hand, made sense because there was no choice involved. I HAD to write every day.
Ignorance is bliss. I had never written an article before, but it was clear in my head that my writing would not be formal. It would be in my voice. As if I am speaking my ideas and thoughts with friends and family who want me to share some advice.
When I started writing, my younger son was the only sane one who warned me, “You will very likely run out of ideas to write about in 3 months.”
Three hundred sixty-five days later, there is a thrill in writing this 1st January 2021 edition. I wanted to share some of the key lessons I have learned from writing every day.
While the lessons learned are in the context of my writing journey, they are also generic enough to apply to all walks of my life.
It’s All About Showing Up
Bloggers blog. Writers write.
There would be days where ideas would float through my head through the day, and I was clear about what I would be writing for the day. There were other days where my mind was blank, and there was no inspiration to write. On the good days, there was no problem. The writing was easy. The challenge was on those difficult days where I was scrambling to write something.
There was only one thing I could do. I just showed up to write knowing that it would be mediocre. I hated it but I still did it. Because there was no other way. It was all about showing up and putting myself through the grind of writing even when my mind wanted to give up.
Whatever be the pursuit, how you deal with those moments where you don’t feel like doing something is what makes all the difference.
Focus On The System, Not The Goal
Goals are those endpoints which, when you reach, you have nothing more to achieve. On the other hand, a system is something you do regularly to improve continually. I did not start out saying I will write for 365 days. I set out with a resolve to write every day, be curious, borrow ideas, and keep improving. Writing every day and improving my skills became a system that fuelled writing a blog every day.
This idea works very well in the other facets of our life too. Losing 10k would be a goal, while eating healthy would be the system. Similarly, running a Marathon would be a goal while working out every day would be the system. Achieving a certain financial status would-be the goal, while financial prudence would be the system.
You Can’t Please Everyone.
“Your blogs are too long. Can you shorten them?”
” It would have been great if you had expanded on this point more.”
“I don’t agree with your viewpoint.”
It’s good to take inputs. But, beyond a point, it is my decision about how I want to share your ideas with my intended readers. It’s ok if I can’t please everyone. Some articles will resonate with some, while others will not. Instead of worrying about whether someone will like it or not, I have learned to focus on my idea and the best way to share it with the people for whom the idea is of value.
The same principle applies to all aspects of our life. You can’t please everyone. Focus on the people who care about the work you do and are willing to listen to what you have to say or do. Don’t let the others bother you.
Everything Will Not Be Perfect
It’s impossible to deliver anything of value and significance without failing. Mathematically, if I were to plot all the 360 odd blogs on a Normal distribution, there would be about 75 good quality posts I would have written. Equally, there would be about 75 posts that would rank as being mediocre, with the rest falling in the middle.
I have learned to ignore the validation of others to establish how good a particular post is. If some post of mine elicited 30 likes while some other post elicited only five likes, it does not mean that the one with the lesser likes is inferior to the one with the more likes.
It is through bad writing that I am learning how to produce good writing.
Inspiration Is Everywhere
When I started the year, somewhere at the back of my head, I was worried that I would burn through all good ideas in a few months and run out of material to write about.
The opposite is what has happened. As I showed up to write every day, I started to see inspiration everywhere. A conversation with a friend about keeping a positive mental state during the pandemic became an article about the abundance mindset. A few coaching conversations became articles about how to deal with failure and how to communicate effectively.
There is no shortage of ideas in anything we do. We have to show up and be in the game. Inspiration will always be next to you.
Don’t Let The Ego Take Control.
“Thank you for your sharing. It helped resolve a dilemma I am going through”
“It’s incredible how you can write every day. It must be so hard.”
” I love the way you write.”
These are some of the messages I have received from kind readers. Appreciation of any sort is always very soothing and lovely. It makes one feel useful and valued. But I have also realized, appreciation can be a sweet poison stoking my Ego. Appreciation can make me delude myself that I am someone special with some super skills.
If I am writing to serve, there cannot be any Ego in play. Every day I remind myself that writing and sharing my ideas is a privilege.
Any work that we do, if we approach it with a sense of service, it is bound to resonate with the people around.
Ignore The Voices In The Head
Whenever you start something new, there are voices in the head, telling you “you are not good enough, ” You are no writer,” “No one is reading this crap,” ” You are wasting your time.” etc.
Feeling like an Imposter, unworthy of the task at hand is a rite of passage to doing anything worthy.
The more this voice spoke up in my head, the more committed I became. I just decided to trust my decision to write and ignore the noise in the head. The voices don’t bother me anymore. I simply write.
What is valid for writing is true for everything else I do. I have become more self-assured and confident, knowing that the naysayer voices in my head are to be ignored.
Vulnerability Is Courage
Many of the posts I have written speak about the failures and setbacks I have encountered in my life and career. Initially, writing about them felt extremely uncomfortable. I decided to embrace the feeling of discomfort and share. The more I did that, the better I started feeling about myself.
I have realized that vulnerability is not a weakness. It’s a strength. If I am comfortable being vulnerable in my writings, I am comfortable being vulnerable in everything else I do. And, I see myself as a bigger and better person than before.