Just last week I wrote about the challenge I gave myself about ten months ago. Specifically, starting a blog, this one in fact, where I would write something new everyday, for a year. At the time I had no purpose other than to see if I could do it. If I’d stick with it. If I’d be able to come up with an idea to write about each day.
Thinking about it now, I’m not sure why I thought daily writing was a challenge I needed. I’ve spent my entire career in the advertising industry. Where I wrote copy every day. Not that I do now that I freelance, though.
Even if I did, this (blog), of course, is somewhat different. It’s not copy I’m writing here. There are no clients involved. I’m not selling any products or services. But what’s really different is, with the blog I’m not writing in
a particular brand’s voice, like copywriters must do. I’m writing in my own voice. A very different kettle of fish.
What’s more, I’m not being ‘briefed’ the way agency creatives are. I just have to wake up every morning, turn my computer on, and write. About whatever pops into my head.
It’s not always easy. Sometimes the head is empty.
Don’t worry. I’m not about to rehash a story I’ve already told. I’m only bringing it up because of an interesting piece, “The Pace of Productivity and How to Master Your Creative Routine” in yesterday’s “Brain Pickings”. Written by Maria Popova, it’s about a new book I am definitely going to buy: “Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind”.
Her article begins with the following quote, from Gretchen Rubin: “When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.”
Speaking from my relatively new found experience authoring a daily blog, I have to agree.
Ideas come much more rapidly now. And much more easily. I feel my writing has improved. It’s less forced. Smoother. More natural. More conversational. I have settled into my voice. I’m comfortable with it. I’m satisfied with it. I like it. It feels, and sounds, like the ‘me’ I know.
None of which had occurred to me when I decided to start this blog. It never entered my head. Which, now I’ve read her article, seems very strange to me. You’d think I would have figured it out. It makes so much sense.
Anything you do regularly will improve the way you do it. Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, exercising, riding a bike, driving a car, cooking, sewing, you name it. Practice makes perfect.
Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence , then, is not an act, but a habit.”
So I should have known a daily blog would have a positive effect on my writing. But in all honesty while I’ve been somewhat aware of the changes in my writing and my writing style, it really only hit me yesterday, when I read Maria Popova’s article. The book she’s reviewing is edited by Behance’s 99U editor-in-chief Jocelyn Glei and “features contributions from twenty of today’s most celebrated thinkers and doers”.
One of the quotes that really resonated with me is from Seth Godin: “The notion that I do my work here, now, like this, even when I do not feel like it, and especially when I do not feel like it, is very important. Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become professional if you do it when when you don’t feel like it. And that emotional waiver is why this is your work and not your hobby.”
Whether I was in the mood or not, I showed up each day at whichever ad agency I happened to be working for at the time, ready to get briefed and write copy. Without knowing it, without fully understanding why I was doing it, it turns out to be exactly what I’m doing here, with three hundred sixty five. And what I’m discovering is, the benefits, for a writer, are many.