Write every day. Write every day. Write every day.
We seem to hear a lot of that advice when we start off in writing. Yet, are we likely to be misunderstanding what the real meaning of “write every day” means?
Most of us believe that we need to write at least an article a day, or at least some chunky bit of content. And yet that level of having to write on a daily basis is precisely what would cause us to fail. Yes, as you'd expect, there is a way out.
Surely you've heard the advice to “write every day”. It's also likely you've misunderstood the advice.
In 2008 or so, the wires got crossed while conducting the article writing course.
My instructions for the clients on the course were to write every day. One of the clients, Paul Wolfe, took it to mean that he should write an article every day. Which is precisely what he did. The others saw what Paul had done, and followed suit.
I was aghast that my instructions were incorrectly interpreted, but that shock soon gave way to a “let's see where this goes”. In the weeks that were to follow, everyone wrote an article a day. Back then, we'd have the course running for six days a week, which meant six articles a week.
And it was a formula that we were to follow for at least another seven years
Then in 2016 or so, we did a sharp U-Turn. Instead of the daily article per day, the instructions were to write an article a week. Hence, the clients would get through about 10-15 articles by the end of the course.
The question remained: Which articles were better? Were the earlier batch who wrote about 40-50 articles come out on top? Or would the 10-15 article writers be superior? The answer is that they were more or less the same. There was no level of superiority in either case, when it came to the article itself.
If you were to start swimming classes now, you wouldn't expect to be a top level swimmer in three months, would you? But if you were to push yourself through going through a gruelling swim schedule, you'd soon start to dread it.
The dread is precisely why so many people start writing, and then give up.
They think they need to write an article a day, when in fact that's the best way to go off the rails. Professional authors—yeah, the ones who write bestselling books—they wouldn't write more than a section a day.
Top artists are forced by wet paint to do a portion and then wait for the paint to dry. Chefs who cook well over a hundred dishes a day, break up their actions into prepping, then cooking and later, plating. Most professionals do things in stages.
They want to start and finish an article on a single day. That's not what “write every day” means. Write every day means you break up your article into five portions. Then you take on every part of that article every day. There are obvious benefits to this level of mindfulness while writing.
You're not focused on the entire article, but just a tiny section of it. Moreover, as you go through your day, you magically find examples and case studies that are EXACTLY suited to the article you're writing.
If you write in a private space and have someone giving you feedback or making comments, you can improve your article as you move from day to day.
Writing an article a week is relatively easy.
Writing an article a day is just madness, unless your article is about 200 words long. An article that bounds over the 800-1000 word mark needs a lot more thought, reflection and yes, time. And admittedly, it's not your fault. When we hear the phrase, “write every day”, the fear rises and the dread-o-meters goes bananas.
You need to write every day, that's without a question, but now you know what “write every day” means. Hence, take the time to slice and dice your articles into a five-day schedule and then you'll be like the pros.
It's too tiring to be an amateur. 🙂
P.S. We've published a newsletter on Psychotactics since 2000. Long time, eh? We've never missed the weekly newsletter. Now you know why.