Build a daily writing habit — an experiment
I used to write regularly about topics I like and have expertise in. In my role as Marketing Director at KaiOS. As Cofounder at Saent. And even further back, when I was traveling through Kenya to create an online documentary, which I complemented with blog posts.
Now I’m still writing daily — more than ever before, in fact — but it’s mostly for customers at Animalz and sporadically for Saent. So I’m not creating my own content consistently, and it bothers me.
The benefits of writing regularly
Nathan Barry, the founder of ConvertKit and write-a-1000-words-a-day adherent, makes a compelling case for creating content consistently as it lets you:
- Earn good money from content “assets.”
- Build a valuable network.
- Attract attention.
- Do so from anywhere.
My own experience is similar, and I would add several other beneficial factors to Nathan’s list:
- Writing helps me process thoughts and information more deeply. This processing leads to insights for use in other areas of my life, sometimes profound ones.
- Writing can remain relevant and valuable for a long time — at least some of it.
- I’m still getting traffic and messages from articles I had long forgotten about. And I recently launched a course with Saent based on content I wrote years ago.
- The few times I wrote something in the past 6–12 months, the articles always received valuable attention, mentions, or references.
Why I’m not consistently writing
My time is already in short supply between working at Animalz, building Saent, and being a parent. Adding a daily writing habit is not impossible. But I believe you need to carefully weigh every extra commitment in life as each addition risks degrading the whole.
(This belief is a combination of Essentialist thinking, and the Lean and Kanban principle of maximizing flow in your work system by minimizing the number of items you have in progress simultaneously.)
My previous writing habit attempts
I once wrote 10 minutes per day but found it impossible to keep up and produce valuable content (no surprise there).
Last year I tried spending the first 25 minutes of every day writing. That worked, but too well. I’d find it difficult to stop after 25 minutes and would often spend too much time writing my stuff instead of fulfilling other professional obligations — like writing for others. 😂
I then tried “front-loading” my weeks, doing all other obligations first so that I’d have a morning or full day for my projects on Friday. My writing never happened.
How I’ll write more consistently, maybe
I believe in the benefits of writing as I’ve previously experienced them myself. Nathan’s post — Good things come to those who write — and his 1,000 words a day habit reminded me I should try again.
I also believe in experiments, so this writing exercise will be one.
My objective is to find an approach to daily writing that works for me. I’ll continue the habit if it leads to measurable value and insights for myself, Animalz, and Saent.
My starting principles are listed below, but I’ll monitor and tweak them based on my observations during the experiment:
- Write a minimum of 500-words per day.
- Measure how long those sessions and each article take.
- Keep an eye on how these different writing projects impact my WIP (Work In Progress) numbers.
- Determine if a word-based goal works best or a strict time-box.
- Start without a publication target and restrictions — I can write for Saent, for fun, or whatever else I feel like.
- The articles should be helpful, entertaining, or both for others (not just myself).
- Experiment with different times of the day, starting with evenings.
- Try the experiment for one month, starting January 22nd, 2022 and ending February 22nd, 2022.
- Publish posts that don’t fit the Saent blog here on Medium for now. If the writing habit sticks, I want to set up a personal blog, but I’ll avoid that rabbit hole for now.
- Note down any benefits derived from the writing and published articles (e.g., insights, contacts, sales).