I had published my last blog on July 3rd. In that blog, I mentioned how I have lost my mojo for writing blogs consistently. The pretext was that I want to improve my writing to the next level and pick subjects and topics I have never encountered. So what were those subjects? I was not sure about that as well. I went back to reading my dog-eared, scribbled copy of Stephen King’s book “On writing.”
Scott Adams and Seth Godin have been my inspiration to get to 200 blogs. Yet I was not able to put that kind of consistency into my writing routine post that achievement. I was struggling with my blogchain. This is a new kind of struggle. I was reminded of a quote, “You need to look your struggles right into the face. You need to understand, and constantly remain aware, of how difficult things are going to be. And you will have to accept the fact, that you will struggle.“
This is about how to move from one level to the next level. What are the skills tactics and techniques I need to get to my next level? My belief is ” I want to write for a cause and not applause”. It was time to discover my new “Why of Blogging”.
I was focused on becoming a better blogger. With this in mind, I was listening and observing three influencers.
Let me start with Seth Godin who addresses “Writer’s block” which I picked from thoughteconomics.com. He was asked, ” How do we get over creative block and writer’s block?
“Writer’s block was only invented 100 years ago; the term didn’t exist before that. Writer’s block is simply a fear of bad writing, not an inability to write. Nobody gets talkers’ block! Everyone can talk! Instead of calling it writer’s block, we should say, ‘I haven’t done enough writing yet, so I feel blocked.’ If you show me all your bad writing, we can have a discussion about whether you have writer’s block or not… most people who say they have writer’s block can’t show me their bad writing.
Saying you have writer’s block is like saying that unless you have a guarantee something will work, or that something will be good, you won’t even try. By speaking up, putting things forward, blogging every day, and engaging in your practice every day, that’s how you see the lie of writer’s block.”
Since Seth Godin dialled it to Habits. I turned to James Clear for Habits. Recently my elder daughter picked up “Atomic Habits” from my bookshelf as it was referred by some of her friends. I came across a video of James Clear and in that video, he makes this point that ” Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behaviour“. So when I heard this it was a demarcation moment for me. I was looking at how this had an effect on my writing routine. In the last 2 months, I had moved around a few things in my room, changed quite a bit of Post its and also have a new morning routine with meditation in place. Apart from that, I was stacking the deck with other items like reading from Kindle and consumption of content from a list of internet influencers. I was getting around to this realization that I have been consuming a lot of content and not creating content. Serendipity is my ally and in this case, it manifested as a recommendation on Youtube.
A James Clear video on this subject popped up as a recommendation. It was interesting that in that video James Clear mentions Seth Godin who says, “The best way to change long-term behaviour is with short-term feedback.” The more immediate the feedback that you get, the quicker you can make adjustments to your behaviour. (This is why it’s important to measure backwards.) So one of the actions I took was to look at how many drafts I have created over the last 3 weeks. I had around 4 drafts. I remembered that to reach 200 blogs I had around 100 drafts. So If I have 4 drafts I can easily ship two blogs going by that conversion rate. So what was I missing? That was addressed in the latter part of the video by James Clear where he talks about Jerry Seinfeld. I am a big fan of Seinfeld. He is regarded as one of the “Top 100 Comedians of All–Time” by Comedy Central. He was also the co-creator and co-writer of Seinfeld, the long-running sitcom which has received numerous awards and was claimed to have the “Top TV Episode of All–Time” as rated by TV Guide.
In an interview on Lifehacker, Isaac, the anchor, shared what happened when he caught Seinfeld backstage and asked if he had “any tips for a young comic. ”Here’s how Isaac described the interaction with Seinfeld…
“He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
You’ll notice that Seinfeld didn’t say a single thing about results. It didn’t matter if he was motivated or not. It didn’t matter if he was writing great jokes or not. It didn’t matter if what he was working on would ever make it into a show. All that mattered was “not breaking the chain.” And that’s one of the simple secrets behind Seinfeld’s remarkable productivity and consistency. For years, the comedian simply focused on “not breaking the chain.”
What I decided was to implement what I learned from Seth, James and Seinfeld. Don’t get caught up in “writer’s block”. James showed me how to create that “environment ” and finally, Seinfeld gave me the “X factor”. I understood one thing. You have to keep your practice and not keep thinking every time of becoming a better blogger. Do your practice of blogging every week. Focus on being a blogger every Saturday morning from 6 AM to 8 AM and don’t be a chain breaker.
This blog has been a steal for me from Seth, James and Seinfeld to get myself out of my “bloggage”. But I take consolation in what T.S.Eliot said…