Why did I even decide to embark on this experiment to publish daily in the first place?
This is part of a series exploring my experiment with my recent commitment to publish my work daily.
Click here to read Part 1: Should I Quit My Daily Publishing Experiment?
As part of my evaluation of whether to continue to publish daily, I revisited the reasons why I started this experiment in the first place.
The Reasons to Publish “More”
My commitment to publish daily was born from my perceived need to publish “more.” Here are some of the reasons underlying that perceived need:
(1) Clear the Graveyard of Unfinished Work
I write a lot. I can’t NOT write. But I often don’t publish.
I often sit down to write one thing with a very discreet point, and, suddenly, I’m 2000+ words in and I’ve got five different concepts going. I find myself caught in the swirl of energy and ideas, unsure how to extract myself, and needing to move on with my day.
So I abandon the piece mid-way through and send it to the Graveyard of Unfinished Work.
The volumes of unfinished work weigh on me. Seeing how much I write, and yet how much I don’t publish, triggers feelings of defeat and despair. Pieces in the Graveyard aren’t helping anyone.
Sometimes, I think I write too much.
Part of my intention was to write less and commit to publishing what I had already written that was unpublished.
(2) Serve Others
All the things I write about — my experiences, the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained — can help others. But not if they are sitting in the Graveyard.
The only way I can help people through my work is if I share my work. And experts say that the most effective and lasting way to share your work is through writing and publishing.
(3) Create Connection
The desire to create real connection motivates everything I do. I come from a place of service, and I believe that to truly serve most effectively requires a real connection. I want to cultivate a community and foster connection, with others who resonate with what I share.
Experts tell me that the only way to do this is to share your experiences and “put yourself out there” by publishing. Not just once in a while, but consistently.
(4) Raise My Profile
I have a message (a few, actually) that I want to share with the world. I have book ideas. I want to find more public speaking opportunities. I have workshops and programs that I offer, and I want to generate interest in those services.
Experts say that the way to get noticed is by building your platform. And this requires publishing consistently.
(5) Get Out of My Head
I often get stuck in my head as I write, especially when the ideas start flowing. This prevents me from hitting the “publish” button. I start to believe that what I’m writing is not good enough, in any number of ways:
- it’s too long
- it’s too short
- it doesn’t make a point
- it’s too cliché
- it’s too amorphous
- it’s too deep
- it’s too shallow
- and on, and on
I needed a way to get out of my own way: to embrace imperfection and go with “good enough.”
(6) Improve My Writing
I’ll be honest: this is on the list more as something I set out to test, rather than something motivating me to publish daily. Writing and publishing are two different practices. I already do a lot of writing. Whether writing daily improves writing is something to consider in a discussion of reasons to write daily.
That said, there’s a part of me that wondered if perhaps publishing daily would improve my writing by helping me see what resonates with my audience. What topics, what styles, what tone, etc.
Noticing: A Lot of External “Shoulds” in These Reasons
How often do you take the time to physically write down the reasons you are doing something?
I admit that I don’t do this enough. And when I do it, I find it valuable. One of the themes that I see popping up in many of the above reasons is an underlying belief about what I “should” do to build my platform, find my audience, develop connections, become a better writer, serve others, etc. I’m clearly buying into the common belief about what is “the right way” to build my visibility and attract my tribe.
For now, I’m not challenging this belief. I am simply noticing it is there.
Why Publish Daily?
Assuming this belief is true, my reasons seem to support the fact I should be publishing more consistently.
This has been a struggle for me in the past. I might have months where I would publish a lot, and then go weeks without publishing.
In my model of the world, there’s only one way I know to do something consistently: build a ritual around it. For some things, that might be designating a certain day of the week. But that hasn’t worked for me with publishing.
I too often get in my own way. See reason 5.
I’ve tried setting a schedule for specific days. But too often, I would negotiate myself out of it with that old “I’ll just publish this one tomorrow when it’s ready.” Then “tomorrow” I’ve got different ideas. And before I know it, the Graveyard is filling up.
I realized that I had to treat publishing like fitness, meditation, journaling, and 10,000 steps a day: find a way to do it no matter what.
Some days, my workouts are intense, and other days they are light. I vary the workout based on how my body feels and what it needs. But I do some form of fitness first every day, no matter what. This removes the energy drain of negotiating with myself.
A Structure That Removes it From My Task List
Fitness isn’t on my “to-do” list because it’s something I know I’m going to do. The same with journaling, meditation, and hitting my steps. I don’t need to remind myself to do those things because I do them no matter what.
I wanted to remove publishing from my task list in the same way. For me, the only way to do that is to commit to publishing daily, no matter what.
I need this type of structure to force myself to do it.
Of course, one of the common elements of my other dailies is that I’ve found a sustainable way to incorporate those things into my practice.
So far, daily publishing doesn’t feel sustainable in its current form.
This is Day 45 of my daily publishing experiment. Thanks so much for being here to follow along. I’d love to hear your comments.