I don’t think I’ve ever written about a product that inspired me.
Well, I’ve tweeted about the Squatty Potty. It’s changing my life. Hands down, the best $25 I’ve spent. Actually, I didn’t spend the money. I asked my girlfriend for it for Christmas. How’s that for a trusting relationship? We had only been dating around four months at the time. Anyway, I recommend you check it out. Trust me.
I’ve written several times about how most evenings I have no idea about what’s I’m going to discuss on the blog. Ideas don’t often pop into my head earlier in the day. Most of the time I’m filled with a low-level fear that I won’t be able think of anything good. I let that fear overtake me for a full year in 2013.
Back in 2012 I participated in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. This is where you motivate yourself to write every day for a month. I pushed through the difficulties and ended up writing four hundred days without a miss. Then I hit a wall and needed a break. I got out of the habit and only published around seventy-five entries over the past year. I’ve re-committed to posting every day this January. We’ll see what happens after that.
The book that really kicked my ass into gear creatively, is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
In the book Pressfield states there are only two types of creatives – amateurs and pros. He is militant in his beliefs that writers need to write as often as possible. That they’re not supposed to strive for perfection – that will just paralyze and halt the ability to create. He posits that you have to be willing to “turn pro” which means you are no longer a sidelines observer, that you take time every day to do your work.
This book was just the reminder I needed that when I sit down and “do my work” I find the greatest reward. I feel satisfied creatively. People have asked me over the years how to find a blog audience. I tell them to write with truth and vulnerability. Everyone wants to connect through shared experience.
But I also tell them one other thing – write for yourself. Here’s why. It’s not because it’s the noble thing to do – there’s nothing wrong with wanting to find readers. The reason to write for yourself is because YOU get to feel good.
Here’s my process. I sit down at the computer. I’m terrified and doubtful that I have anything to say. Most of the time nothing comes for fifteen or twenty minutes. I write anyway. Something begins to take shape. I’m still doubting the entire way until the last sentence. I re-read the piece three times more and remove extraneous words. I still feel unsure. I finish editing, hit publish, and call it a night.
The next morning, on the way to work (I take the subway) I re-read what I had completed the night before. The strangest thing happens – I start to feel good. Not because every sentence is perfect – I’m probably critical of 80% of the content. But I find a few gems in each post and I feel more pride than just about anywhere else in my life. At that point I don’t care if anyone reads it, comments it, or shares it on Facebook. I’m satisfied with what I wrote and nothing can alter that feeling.
From there anyone who reads the post or comments or shares is gravy. The fact that people want to read this stuff is a very gratifying experience. As such I try to connect back to them through comment replies and reading their content should they be a writer.
I encourage you to read Pressfield’s book. It’s not for the faint of heart. He’ll kick you up and down the creative hall. He takes no prisoners. But at the end – he’s right. You get to feel satisfied when you beat your resistance (we all have it) and sit down to do your work. It’s just about the best feeling in the world.