Have you started yet?

Just start

So, you made your resolution to write your blog regularly in 2016. You may have sorted yourself out an editorial calendar, however simple. You’ve probably done a brainstorming session to get ideas for subjects.

So far so good.

But have you actually started writing the blog? Or are all these ideas mocking you from wherever you put them three weeks ago, without a single tick to break the cleanness of the page?

If you’ve started writing, I salute you. You’re one of a very small percentage. If you’re still finding reasons why you haven’t yet started writing, here’s my best advice (with apologies to Nike):

Just do it.

Open a new Word document (or whatever programme you prefer), choose one of your subject titles at random – preferably one on which you’ve plenty to say – and just start typing. It doesn’t matter if what you write is irrelevant, ungrammatical, or even plain rubbish. Get something on the page. You can edit later. Ignore the squiggly lines for the moment: they’ll only distract you from the task in hand. Forget it being “just right”.

Just write.

Perfection comes later – preferably a day or so later – when you’ve got something to perfect. You can’t edit a blank page.

All writers go back over their work and edit it. Many people will tell you that they can usually remove at least their first two paragraphs without damaging the rest. They lead themselves gently into the task – do a warm-up, if you like – and then let rip with what they really want to say, and go back later to remove the warm-up bits. There’s no shame in it.

There’s no shame in learning on the job, either. Writers, like athletes, artists, performers and parents, get better with practice. Maybe you won’t feel that your first couple of efforts are worth publishing; that’s OK. Have you any idea how many first novels by writers who later became famous are sitting in a drawer somewhere because the author doesn’t feel they’re worth publishing?

Doesn’t stop them writing, though.

So make that your resolution for today: I will write my blog. And I’ll write it next week, and the week after, and the week after that… That makes it sound like a life sentence, but the funny thing is that once you actually get started you’ll probably find it becomes a pleasure, and soon you’ll look forward to getting it written and reading the feedback. It’s great to be able to express your thoughts and know that other people read them, agree or disagree with them, and tell you so. It’s even better to see them starting to understand what you do and, eventually, buying.

Choose a nice easy subject for your first go, a subject that gives you plenty to describe or that you hold a strong opinion on. Don’t set yourself a word limit. If you run out of things to say after 150 words, stop. If you’re still writing after 1500, great.

Write ‘til you’re done, then leave it for a day or two before you go back and edit it. You may have thought of more you could say, or you may want to chop bleeding chunks out of it: a couple of days will give you the perspective to do that. Read it from an outsider’s perspective (or, better still, get someone else to read it for you) so you know it all makes sense.

Then – don’t be shy – publish it. And tell the world you’ve done it: promote your post on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and whatever other channels you use for your business. Do that again every day until you write the next one, and then repeat while still promoting the original one from time to time (Buffer, Hootsuite etc, are very useful for this). And so on. You’ll be amazed how quickly they pile up; you’ll soon have enough to create a freebie to give people in exchange for their email address, so you can grow your mailing list.

But only if you get started…

P.S. Do add me to your mailing list so I can read the results!