Jun 1, 2022
I’m a lousy writer.
I try not to be too hard on myself because I know that writing is very, very challenging. But I’m not a fan of my poor writing skills. They keep me from writing more, which is what keeps me from becoming a better writer.
This chicken-and-egg situation makes it hard to know where to begin. Combine it with impossibly high standards, a dash of impostor syndrome, and just the right amount of fear of failure, and we have a perfect recipe for never getting any writing done.
So let’s back up a little bit. If I’m really going to stop being a lousy writer, I first need to learn how.
How to write goodly
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Writing is hard because there is no end to it. When we write, we have to commit to it for the long run.
If you’ve ever tried to create any type of content online (a blog, a YouTube channel, a podcast), you probably know how paralyzing getting started can be. And if you had the guts to actually publish your first few pieces, you know very well how hard it can be to keep the momentum going.
Pushing ourselves to get started works, but only temporarily. If we rely solely on willpower to get started over and over again, writing soon starts to feel like a chore. Which leads to procrastination. Which leads to giving up.
If the overarching goal is to develop a lifelong habit of writing, we need to find a way not only to get started—but also to never stop.
I’m not an expert in habit building (or anything else, for that matter), but I do know of a simple yet often overlooked way to build some momentum—a good old 30-day challenge.
30-day challenges tend to get a bad rep because they are short-sighted. After all, there’s nothing stopping us from stopping once we cross the finish line. But challenges are particularly effective motivators. They give us something concrete and finite that we can actually get done. And by the end of it, we can use the momentum we built to keep us going.
Challenges are also good for fighting perfectionism. Having a deadline (artificial or otherwise) is a great way not to sweat the little details too much. Which, knowing myself, is something I desperately need.
I’m taking on a simple challenge: for the next 30 days, I’m committing to write for at least one hour each day and publish at least ten articles on this blog. Update July 2022: This challenge was a massive failure—I only published 3 artilces in the first 30 days. But hey, the blog is still going, so in a way it was a big success? 🤔 It might not sound like much of a challenge for an experienced writer, but to me, it sounds nearly impossible.
I plan to write about various things that pick my interest at the moment, such as software design, technical leadership, and, well, writing. This blog will serve as a platform for this little experiment, although I hope it can outlive the challenge to become its own thing.
If any of those topics sound interesting to you – or if you’re a fellow writer struggling to get started – I invite you to join me on this journey through the depths of my note-taking app and see what comes out the other end. Hopefully, we’ll both get something out of this. But no promises.
Thank you for reading~