365 days have passed since I started writing one post every day.
It is impressive to see how it all compounds. Most of the visits to my website nowadays are from posts written this past year, even though most of them are relatively short.
I had to choose between consistency and writing long articles and I chose the former. Writing long form articles gives way better results with search engines and thanks to that you get more traffic, but that doesn’t mean that short content is bad. It will just give you less views coming from Google.
That said, I’ve always been a believer that if you’re writing to get views or rank on Google you are better doing something else with your time. If you write content for your day job as a way to get leads it is another story, but if you’re writing as an hobby, the main goal should be the craft itself and the focus should be on improving your skills. The rest should come naturally on its own, if it does, and it should not be the goal.
It Takes Time
Change takes time.
For a while you might see yourself not improving. It is not something you notice on a day to day basis. It is only when looking back after a longer period of time that you will notice a difference on how you approached things back then and how you approach them now. This is true not only for writing, but more in general. You should not mistake this for “it gets easier”, it does not. Writing is still hard and will always be hard. The difference is in how you approach it. After a while you establish a process from the idea to the published article.
There have been days when I was sick, days when I was abroad, days when I was driving 12 hours straight (do not recommend), days with no internet connectivity1, days when I wanted to write, days when I didn’t want to write, days when I was tired. There will always be an excuse to quit. You either quit or say not today and write. There is no secret for consistency it is just showing up every day to write. Whoever says it is easy has either never done it or is lying. It is not easy, as with every commitment there are moments when you would rather do something else. But it has its highlights as well (such as today).
How I come up with ideas has not changed during the past 12 months.
You can refer to this article for more details, but the gist of it is that you just get ideas naturally. If you do not that is a sign that you need to change your environment: go for a walk, drive around town, go camping, …
How I write down ideas has changed slightly. I used to do it on the notes app on the phone, now I exclusively do it in Teria so I can keep track of which days I had lots of ideas and which days I did not.
The tool is not really that important, the most important thing is that you take care of writing down your ideas whenever they strike or you will forget about it. The most important ideas will resurface over time, but the others are forever lost.
Writing About Writing2
I wanted to take a few moments to list what I think are the best articles about writing that I’ve written this year. They are not a lot since the bulk of my articles are about tech and programming, but they are not so few either:
- Writing Ideas
- Two Weeks of Writing
- Writing Time
- Writing Every Day
- Consistency In Writing
- Writing Inspiration
- Writing Long Form
- Scripting and Writing3
- VSCode Is Great For Writing
- And now this very article as well
It is interesting to see that they’re spaced pretty evenly every few months. Writing about the craft is very introspective, even though many ideas have been touched before by other people you can give your twist on it and everybody can learn something new (yourself first and foremost). I find writing to be a great catalyst for learning, that’s why I write so many tutorials and short guides. You can know something superficially, but to put it down on paper you need to really understand the subject matter.
Now onto a few statistics for the year.
200WordsADay says that I have written 175000 words, that’s more than an epic fantasy novel right there. It clearly shows the compounding benefits of being consistent. Let’s assume that you write only 200 words per day: that means 1.4k words a week or 6k words a month or 71k words a year. Not enough to qualify as an epic fantasy novel, but more than enough to be a novel in any other genre.
I have written 338 articles since I started. That is a bit shy of the 356 articles for it to be an article a day, but I have also written longer articles that took multiple days to write. I’m not including columns, pages, and email newsletters that don’t really count as articles.
Averaged that’s 491 words a day which is more than double the 200 words a day threshold. I honestly thought that the number would be lower.
While writing I came up with an idea for a mobile app. I’ve always wanted somewhere to jot down ideas on the go, but I didn’t like any single application that was available on Android for the task so I’ve written my own. The idea has changed slightly over time but the foundation was set. That’s how Teria was born.
A few months ago I’ve released it for free on both iOS and Android. The userbase is not big, but it is fairly steady.
I have no intention on stopping. The day may come, but for now it is far in the horizon.