J is for Just Do It
I don’t know write a blog every day. How do you do it?
It’s something people have said to me for quite a while. Though I have help now, I’m still personally responsible for a lot of the content you see on this blog.
And here’s the honest, truthful, and completely useless answer: I just do it.
Writers write. That’s really what it boils down to. You have to write regularly, and when that happens, other things happen, too.
- Your quality increases. I would humbly submit to you that the quality of this blog has increased since it started in March 2009. It’s not because I am a superior human being or that God has pumped more talent into me. It’s because I’m exercising the talent I have.
- The fear of a blank page vanishes and ideas occur. When I sit down in front of a blank blog post, usually I can figure out something to write within half an hour or so. Sometimes I have to poke around the Internet first. Sometimes I write something, discard it, and wind up writing something else. But eventually a useful idea forms and I can run with it.
- Discipline and confidence. I can sit down and write a blog post when it’s necessary because I’ve done it before. I know what it takes and it’s not something that makes me nervous. I can sit down and press through. When necessary, I can pump out three or four in a day. It’s not a matter of gritting my teeth any more. It’s just a matter of doing what I’ve done before a large number of times.
- The effect spills over into other writing. Writing typically isn’t compartmentalized. It’s a case of a rising tide raising all boats. If your writing gets better in one area, it improves in another. If you struggle with writing at work, writing at home helps. There are differences in style (people at work typically don’t like contractions, for instance), but overall the improvement flows everywhere my writing flows.
At first, I had to work hard to come up with ideas. A few times, I even had to write about writer’s block because I couldn’t think of anything to write about. But with time and repetition, everything got easier and better.
So when someone says they just do it, that is the secret. It’s not always pretty and the process isn’t always elegant. But you don’t get style points for the process, just the result.