In 2013, the year I launched this blog. I published 2 blog posts.
In 2014 I published 12 blog posts.
I increased again with 37 in 2015 and 48 in 2016.
In 2017 I published 114 articles, thanks in part to my decision, on October 30, 2017, to publish daily.
I published 365 blog posts in 2018 and again in 2019.
Everything We Do Consistently Has a System
For anything we do with consistency, we have a system for doing it. This is true for things we do that serve us and things we do that don’t serve us.
Many people have asked me about my systems for writing and publishing.
How did I go from publishing 2 blog posts a year to now publishing 365 blog posts a year?
As I’ve mentioned, writing and publishing are two distinct stages in this process. I’ll address publishing in this post, and writing in a future post.
Aside from cultivating courage, my system for publishing can be boiled down to one step:
To be clear, this is the system, not the workflow (there’s a difference, and that, too, is for another time).
3 Things I Let Go to Publish a Daily Blog
Specifically, my system involves letting go of three things:
Complete refers to my own thoughts and ideas.
Previous to my resolve to publish daily, I would hesitate to publish something before it felt complete. The problem was that I rarely reached reached a place where I felt complete. I would sit down to write one idea and before long I’d be spinning in tangents and related ideas. Like Lewis Carol’s heroine, Alice (of Wonderland fame), there has never been a rabbit hole I didn’t want to explore.
Curiosity is a wonderful virtue, but in excess is can create complications. I quickly got caught in the web of too many ideas, and lost what I originally wanted to say. The result was that I would shelve the piece until some time in the future when I could return and review it.
To get over this, I have to allow a piece to feel incomplete. One of the gifts of publishing every day is that I can add more tomorrow. I can even write a completely new take on the same idea.There are no rules
Comprehensive is distinct from complete. This refers to providing full context and being thorough in presenting my research and analysis.
Here’s where my training as a lawyer got in my way: I set out with the intention to share work that was comprehensive, that didn’t leave out important context or details. I would treat a blog post like a legal brief, believing I had to give full background and context for my readers to follow along. Also, I believed that providing thorough context and research would establish my authority and expertise.
One of the many lessons I’ve learned is that neither of these beliefs are true.
In fact, comprehensive can quickly become complicated and confusing.
Most people think the antidote to “complicated” is to simplify. But you can’t simplify if you’re still holding on to ideas about what something needs to be. As long as I held an expectation that I needed to be comprehensive I couldn’t simplify.
Perfection is about the structure, grammar, typos, headings, headlines, keywords, images, all the SEO stuff — everything that goes into the “polishing and publishing” of the workflow.
To share my work with more consistency I adopted the motto of “published over perfect.” I do my best to read through and catch anything glaring, but I don’t obsess about it. I’ve learned that I can always go back and fix things after a piece is published.
As for headlines, headings, and all the SEO tagging, letting go of that is part of the tradeoff I make to publish every day. Choosing focus keywords, optimizing headlines, searching for the perfect image — these are all points of friction. One key factor to doing anything with consistency is to remove as much friction as possible from the process, and that’s my objective here.
The System for Letting Go
I don’t want to imply that any of this is easy. Letting go is a constant practice, and often a struggle. Completeness, comprehensiveness, and perfectionism are habits that appear in many places in my life.
For me, this is why publishing a daily blog is necessary.
Every system has a system.
As much as letting go is the system to publishing a daily blog, publishing a daily blog is also the system, or, more accurately, the structure, that forces me to let go. They work symbiotically.
This creates a virtuous cycle:
The more I can let go of the need to be complete, comprehensive, and perfect, the easier it is to publish my work, and the more impact I can have on others. The more I publish my work, the easier it is to let go of these habits that hold me back.