How do you deal with decisions that make you feel uneasy? You know, those that imply a commitment, but that you would really like to give it a “test drive” for a while? Something like -for example- getting a puppy. Nope. No free returns.
I have been wanting to write more, and I’ve been working on it (and mulling about it) for a while. I have finally come up with a decision on how to go about it, but making the decision wasn’t simple at all, let me tell you how it went.
I like writing. I want to do it more, and I want to get better at it. I have tried already many different approaches, and invariably “life” sets in, and there is always something more urgent than typing away. To be more consistent, and to be able to repel those pesky urgencies, I needed something to first, provide some structure around writing, and second, create a commitment. I will get into the structure aspect later but, to create a commitment, I figured I would let you know, and in a very public way, I’d also write online, not in the obscurity of my Hard Drive. The commitment part turned out fairly simple, my commitment is to you.
So having that down, I had to figure out what would I commit to. Who should I write for? About what? How often? What should it look like?
Ironically, in this time when there is so much content available, people don’t read that much. (Not you, I know you’re a reader if you got this far!) They either don’t have the time, or there are just a lot of different options to choose from, so many times people just stop at the headline, and never really dive into long-form articles. Because of this, I figured that short would be good.
Not Twitter short, but two or three paragraphs. After all, I wanted to be able to develop an idea.
Great. Things were starting to take more shape. I’ll write something short, and I’ll publish it.
But how frequently could I do this? For something this short, once a month didn’t seem appropriate, and in a crowded media landscape, it would probably go under the radar. Weekly still sounded too spaced out, but any other frequency, twice a week, or three times a week just seemed odd.
Is it Blog day today?
There is also the option of going daily! It is simple. There is no asking whether if it is blog day or not. Every day is blog day! But wait a minute, wouldn’t that be batsh*t crazy to commit to that? Every day? With everything that’s going on? People may even think that the only thing I do is to sit and write! It would be great for social media, Right? Don’t they say you have to tweet every two hours at least to be “somebody”? But it sounds crazy!
Sort of. I asked myself that question over and over, and it creates a lot of tension. And that’s what I find appealing about it. It fits the “buzz creation” profile, but more than anything else, it requires a fundamental shift in how I approach writing.
Writing daily will require discipline and being “professional” about it. To write regardless of whether I feel like writing or not. Like professionals do. Finally, it sounds challenging enough to make it worthwhile, and a significant effort to have an impact on my writing.
It IS scary, but…
Why do we do things that people tell us not to?
I asked some of my closest friends whether if I should do it. Some even tried to talk me out of it. “You’re not going to be able to do it”, I even heard a “You should learn to write first”.
Can I fail?
Absolutely, it can happen. I need something to prevent me from just stopping if I don’t feel like writing anymore, or if by some magical means we are back into pursuing becoming a five-million miler.
What the heck?, Here I go: My commitment is to write and publish something short every day, and to have this effort run at least for three months.
In other words, no matter how dreadful it may turn out, no matter how hard I bomb, I have made the decision that I will not allow myself to quit for at least the next three months.
Once I had these things laid out, I still needed to figure out what to write about, where, and how.
My mind is very active, and I find myself fascinated by ideas. These may come as part of conversations, or just at random times. It may sound like a cliché, but the shower is one place that for some reason is fertile ground. Most of my thoughts are about the inner workings of businesses and about innovation. I have also spent more than two decades in the technology industry, dealing with large corporations, with established processes, but also startups, with their flamboyant, lovely, but sometimes unsustainable ways. So settled, that’s the what.
To come up with topics is not that straightforward though. Because of this, I came up with a structure where each day can be related to a subtopic. The objective of this is to focus on the mind and the tone. (I hope this works!)
I have been working on this for several months now. and the last couple of weeks, I spent them setting up my tools and platforms in a way that they work seamlessly. I invested -some- money and effort to automate the mechanics of writing and publishing. Before I would commit to something like this, I wanted to make sure that I had a system that would allow me to concentrate on the writing itself, not maintaining the tools. I also had a number of requirements, including to have full ownership of the content, and hopefully the followers, once I am blessed with their attention. I have a robust network on LinkedIn, but I also want to leave it open for growing that network, and I want to make sure that people can consume content in any way they want. Maintaining my own blog is one leg of this, but participating in a platform like Medium.com, can also create followership. Sharing on various social media, and offering a subscription option, would touch on a large percentage of followers. Boring, I know, but necessary.
I just hope the duct tape doesn’t set loose in the first six months.
I am excited to finally get this started, and I hope I haven’t bored you with the process. I published it here in case it would be of any help for anybody going through the decision process. As a final thought, what kept me on this track, and what ultimately is making me (Finally!) press the “Publish” button, is knowing that if I don’t do it, if never act on this, it will never go away, and it won’t allow myself to grow.
If you are curious at least a bit, be on the lookout for my first post on Monday, the very first “Daily PPILL”. As for the spelling of that, you are going to have to wait until next week!