What would I suggest to my young self after writing 100 articles?
This moment is not as I imagined it to be. After writing 100 articles, I thought my life would shape around writing so much that I won’t need to care about productivity and motivation anymore, but I was wrong.
Even after writing so many articles, I still need to push myself to stop procrastinating. I still need to find the motivation to keep going even if the results are poor. And I can’t skip not even one day if I want to reach the master goal of living thanks to writing.
I reached my first three-figure article. I am glad to say I made it. But the moment couldn’t be more bittersweet.
Even after this milestone, I am still lost and confused. I am glad of what I have achieved, but I often doubt my writing skills. So I decided to wrap up a gift for both myself and you.
For my 100th article, I want to list the 5 most valuable tips that helped me improve in one year of writing so that I can go back to them every time the impostor syndrome prevails.
1 — Value consistency over quantity.
There are moments in my life when I am highly productive, and I can write a surplus of articles pushed by my motivation. But if I exploit this period, I risk using up all my inspiration and abandoning writing for a while. So my following articles become dull, or I can’t write at all.
Also, after a while, even if my motivation refilled, I find it complicated to start writing again. Both because I forgot some of the micro-skills that I learned, and it takes time to build consistency.
To escape this irregular pattern, I learned to value consistency over quantity. So even if I am motivated to write four articles in a day, I control myself and try to translate my motivation to the next day. So I can use it to finish other annoying tasks.
You can find many ways to value consistency over quantity. For example, I use time units and word counters.
If you like micromanaging your time, write for short periods instead of having long writing sessions. Start with half an hour, even if you don’t feel motivated. And then, continue for half the time, but only if you enjoy it.
If you like writing in word units, also start small. Put a threshold of 500 words per day, for example. And then, if you still feel motivated, continue with steps of 250 words.
No matter which technique you are using, focus on two things.
First, remain consistent and finish that first threshold even if you don’t feel motivated. And this is how you beat procrastination. And second, quantity doesn’t matter as much as consistency. Therefore, this is how you defeat motivational needs.
2 — Stop reading money-making or success articles.
Reading a few articles on money-making and success motivates me. It helps me understand the steps another successful person took to reach their position. But if I keep iterating this behavior, I will waste more time thinking about others’ success instead of focusing on mine.
A few stories can inspire and push you to do better when you work well and feel like you could do more. But exaggeration drives you to envy. It increases your doubts and demotivates you.
Also, if you feel lost and don’t know how to advance, don’t read success stories. Seeing other people performing well when you are struggling is no help. So search for practical suggestions to get back on track instead. Stay humble and away from big numbers.
3 — Find your peak hours.
Good writers know when they should sit down and write. But that doesn’t mean they can’t forget it. And one of the 5 most valuable tips that helped me improve my writing was finding my peak hours.
A working day is not a straight line that goes from one day to another. On the contrary, it is full of bumps for both motivation and energy. There are inspiring and monotonous moments, and you need to recognize them to work at your best.
After 100 articles, I learned to recognize my peak hours for writing. I know I can write a lot from 6 to 9 a.m, and evenings are not my most productive hours. So I prefer to finish the most important tasks of the day first thing in the morning.
To discover your peak hours, start with the four chronotypes. Then, write in different hours, and measure your productivity. It is a simple task, but it helps.
4 — Don’t focus on too many things, at first.
I am a multitasking lover. I want to do everything and want to do it now. But running too many projects exhausted me many times in those years. And I couldn’t excel in any.
Building up many projects at a time made me reach a point where I had to abandon some. And even when I restarted them, hoping to do better, I failed again. So I learned to take things one step at a time and master every skill before deciding to start another one.
How to focus on one thing at a time?
If you want to become a good writer, there are three things you should focus on: writing, editing, and promoting. And it doesn’t matter how you plan to do it, but don’t exaggerate. Pick a platform and software, and stick to them.
Stop jumping between Google Docs, Word, Ulysses, or whatever other software you are using. They are only supporting you, and they won’t affect the beauty of your articles.
Also, don’t publish on too many platforms because you can’t build an audience on all of them if you haven’t mastered one first.
Then, when you become more confident, you can start another project. Perhaps open up to a new promotional platform. Or learn how to build customized graphics for your articles.
You can do many things with writing, but overdoing should not be one of them.
5 — Take breaks (now).
With writing, I have always been a workaholic. So if something triggers my attention, I can’t stop writing until I finish it.
But this behavior made me take many stormy breaks. And I keep thinking about writing even if I am on holiday with my friends or girlfriend.
Last year, I went to Naples, in Italy, for a week. And although I forced myself into enjoying my holiday, I couldn’t stay away from writing. Some evenings I was inspired, and I had to write a little.
At the time, I felt good because I kept my routine going. But when I turned back, I wasn’t relaxed at all, and I risked burning out because of that.
So make sure to relax when you take a break. Both when it is for a short time or when it is longer. A system cannot work 24 hours a day without any stops for maintenance, and neither can you.
Sometimes, break rules apart.
After writing 100 articles, these were the 5 most valuable tips that helped me improve myself. But there’s one more tip I learned: sometimes, you have to evade rules.
Even if you are the most diligent writer, and you follow the rules step by step, it will come a moment in which you will feel lost. You cannot avoid it.
Writing is not an easy task, and sometimes it can catch you off guard. So in those moments, you need to reinvent yourself and break all the rules you have been following.
Write standing up, for example. I love doing it from time to time. It helps me catch new perspectives of both my home and work. Or value quantity over consistency. Sometimes, you have to write until exhaustion and still keep writing.
There are experiments you need to make if you want to be successful. The path towards good writing is full of failures, trials, and errors. And you have to go through all of them to emerge with an original style and a strong voice.
These are the 5 most valuable tips that helped me improve after one year of writing.
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