I have a good friend that wants to start up a blog. And he has so many interesting things to say, I would read his blog. Well, this brilliant guy started his blog about a year ago. In his head. He knows what kind of articles he’ll write, how long they will be, how great they will be.
The issue? The articles are still there, in his head.
I’ve heard about Lean Startup (and its predecessor, 4 Steps to the Epiphany) about 3-4 years ago.
The basic explanation of the concept is that you create a Minimum Viable Product, you go to market, you learn from the feedback and reiterate. Basically “Build, Test, Learn, Reiterate”. And do this cycle as often as possible.
The shorter the cycle it is, the better you chance of succeeding in your startup (because it creates more chances of getting the things right). A lean startup sees its runaway (the time until it runs out of money) not in months or years, but in the number of cycles it has. MavenHut was a lean startup.
Now, blogging is by no means a startup, most of the time. It can be see as one, though. If we keep comparing, my friend is actually in the startup stage where you want to create the next big thing, the thing that you know will change humanity. You want to create the iPhone. You have everything in place, you just don’t have the time to create… well, perfection.
All he needs to do to reach perfection is to start the Minimum Viable Product for his blog: the first, simple, small, 200 words article. Then the second. Then the third. He will get feedback for all of them (from me, from his other friends, from people on Facebook or Twitter). And the 10th article will be a 2000 words article about something great. But the form will not be the best. Still, he will understand how to space paragraphs, ideas, use headlines and so on. And his 30th article will be a lot better. And so on and so forth.
By the time his blog is 9 months old he will write his first great article. The one that hits Hacker News and Reddit and that gets 1000 likes on Facebook and 150 RTs on Twitter. And then he will start again. Until, 2 years from the start, he will be a household name in his chosen field.
This is a good story, right? On the other hand, you might not be the household name you wanted, but writing helps a lot in other ways, ways you didn’t really think about:
I recommend daily writing for anyone, not just writers. Here’s what I’ve found from my daily habit:
- Writing helps you reflect on your life and changes you’re making. This is incredibly valuable, as often we do things without realizing why, or what effects these things are having on us.
- Writing clarifies your thinking. Thoughts and feelings are nebulous happenings in our mind holes, but writing forces us to crystalize those thoughts and put them in a logical order.
- Writing regularly makes you better at writing. And writing is a powerful skill to be good at in our digital age.
- Writing for an audience (even if the audience is just one person) helps you to think from the perspective of the audience. That’s when the magic starts, because once you get into the reader’s mindset, you begin to understand readers and customers and colleagues and friends better. You have empathy and a wider understanding of the world.
- Writing persuasively — to convince others of your point of view — helps you to get better at persuading people to change their minds. Many people don’t want to change their minds when they feel someone is attacking their position, so they get defensive and dig into their position.
- Writing daily forces you to come up with new ideas regularly, and so that forces you to solve the very important problem of where to get ideas. What’s the answer to that problem? Ideas are everywhere! In the people you talk to, in your life experiments, in things you read online, in new ventures and magazines and films and music and novels. But when you write regularly, your eyes are open to these ideas.
- Writing regularly online helps you to build an audience who is interested in what you have to share, and how you can help them. This is good for any business, anyone who is building a career, anyone who loves to socialize with others who are interested in similar things as them.
The quote above is from Zen Habits, an article called Why You Should Write Daily.
I’ve initially wrote this blog post for another blog of mine, but I think it’s better suited for The CEO Library.
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