In May of 2023 I started an experiment in accountability. I committed to publish one post per week for the remainder of the year.
And, to ensure that I fulfilled my commitment, I auto-scheduled all the posts for the remainder of the year with an embarrassing message that I had failed to deliver, and how to contact me (via email or phone) to encourage me to do better.
Interim results: I’ve published one post per week. That’s 24 posts since I began the experiment. And 24 posts is approximately the same number of published posts I had on the site when I started the experiment.
Put another way, I produced the same number of posts in 5 months than I did in the previous 9 years.
On the goal of writing and publishing more frequently, the experiment is an undeniable success.
Along the way I’ve observed a few things.
I’m annoyed I need to write a post before Monday morning, but less than I used to be
At the beginning, it felt like a burden to have to write every week. I was annoyed and frustrated with myself for setting up this experiment.
As the months went on, the writing became habitual. The weekly deadline became simply the metronome timing the cadence of my writing.
Some weeks it is convenient to write, other weeks it isn’t. At the beginning of the experiment, I would write one post just before the deadline. A few months in, I would create a draft a few days ahead and do final edits the day before. And a few times I’ve sat down and created 3-4 draft posts in one sitting, and then left the final editing for the days before the post goes live.
The weekly deadline can still feel like a burden sometimes, but I no longer have weeks where I consider not writing. I’ve accepted this as a habit that is important to me, and one I will keep.
I’m getting more ideas
Knowing that I need to write every week has me looking for ideas. Many times inspiration strikes while I’m working. I’ll have a reaction to something I’ve heard, or Ill reflect on a situation that I could have handled differently, and that becomes the inspiration for a post.
When I get an idea (and I just had to pause to write one down) I’ll write it on a sticky note and post it on the printer beside my desk. Right now I count 37 ideas waiting to be explored.
My thinking is clearer
One of the benefits I receive from writing is clarity of thought. If I’m not sure what I’m thinking, or I’m not sure how to express what I’m thinking clearly, I write.
The process of picking the words to create sentences to create paragraphs to create topics and themes creates organization. You can’t write a clear sentence if your thoughts are unorganized. So I view writing as a focusing mechanism, just like the lenses in telescopes, microscopes and eyeglasses focus light. Writing is the focusing mechanism for ideas. It allows you to separate your idea from all the other noise in the world and articulate it clearly.
Because I’ve been writing more, my thinking is clearer. And because my thinking is clearer, I’m more effective in my role as a coach. I’m more articulate on certain concepts because I’ve spent the time to develop my ideas and decide how best to communicate them with others.
The experiment is a success so far. I’ve created a writing habit that I will keep.
One thing I will change going forward is this.
The vast majority of what I’ve written, I’ve posted here and not publicized. Going forward I will publicize or cross-post the articles other places.
As the writer, I get benefit from the process of writing. But writing is a prerequisite to publishing. And publishing is how you share your ideas with others. It is time to be more deliberate on the publishing and sharing part of the process.
Thanks for being on this journey with me. And if you find something that resonates with you, please let me know what it is. Maybe I can revisit the topic and explore it more deeply.