There is a secret of achieving success. It’s all about taking action. Without action, there are no results.
I told a friend recently: some day I want to write a book. I don’t know yet what will be the topic of the book but for some reason, publishing a book is one of my life goals. But the problem is, there will never be ‘some day’.
But the problem is, there will never be ‘some day’. The only way to write a book is to start writing, write something every single day. It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t have to go into the book. Only a small percentage of what you actually write will be good enough to use later for a blog post or for a book. The rest is just an exercise in writing.
So this will be my new challenge. I should write something every day. Besides my daily journaling. I will start with this blog.
I’ve been a bit slow on posting lately. There are a bunch of articles in draft, but I noticed that once I pause working on a post, I never seem to get back into the same way of thinking than when I was writing the original draft. Lesson learned here is to just publish, even if it isn’t perfect. It’s just a snapshot of time anyway.
A benefit of writing is that it’s an exercise in focus. When you have a limited time slot assigned to writing, you need to stay on it. There is always the temptation to open another browser tab and check Facebook or some news site when you are stuck in the middle of your article. But this will eat away your time. And you might get only half an hour of writing done in the one hour that was planned.
Sometimes I worry too much about style. Should I write in first person or third person? Should I write ‘you’ or ‘one’? Should I have a clear structure with introduction, body and summary? What about the perfect title, headings, images, layout, ….?
All these things are important, but sometimes you need to break all the rules and just focus on one thing: the content. One thing I learned in my past career is that following all the rules can keep you from getting any results. Sometimes you just need to focus on the single most important result. In software development, this is a working piece of software. In writing blog post, it is to have an actual post that you can publish and that people can read.
Sometimes you want to focus on the quality and the structure and the designs, other times you should want to deliver something fast. There is always time to improve later.
One thing to keep in mind is your audience. Who are you actually writing for? It can be someone else with every post, every paragraph even. But you need to have someone in mind, otherwise, there is no difference with journaling.
This post is written for the aspiring writer, the procrastinator, the perfectionist. Those dreamers that always find a roadblock between the dream and the actual action taking.
The secret of writing is very simple. Just start, do a little bit every day. You will get better at it. At some point, the writing (or whatever task it is) will get easier, it will become a habit. This is the moment you can shift your focus to improving your skills. Now you can work on perfecting your art, not before. Action should always come before perfection. You need to have something to improve, some raw material, some habits. If you only want to deliver perfect results from the start, you’ll never produce anything.
For this reason, I’ll keep this post as basic as possible. No editing, spell checking, layouting. The raw material. Some people will still find value in it. Even if it is far from perfect.