Yesterday I published my 4,000th post here at www.thesalesblog.com. Not all of them are written posts. Around 200 of them are YouTube videos we pulled in when I was experimenting with daily video, and another 130 or so are In the Arena podcast episodes. The oldest post goes back to January 2008, long before I understood the medium, and long before I found my voice as a writer.
Here is what I have learned:
- You don’t really know what you know until you decide to start teaching others. The fact that you are sharing something requires you to deepen your learning.
- Over the course of a decade, you will change your mind. I have often had people point out when I confess that I was wrong about something I have written or published. If you are not changing your mind, you are not growing.
- If you focus on some topic long enough, you start to find better ways to convey the idea in a way that makes it more helpful to others. Your clarity improves.
- My carpal tunnel starts at the tip of the middle finger of my right hand and ends at the back of my shoulder. I now wish my teacher hadn’t kicked me out of typing class in 9th grade (I was continually looking at the keys, something I still do). I should have tried a lot harder. I type with two fingers and one thumb for the space bar.
- I do my best work early in the morning. I spoke to dozens of writers, almost all of whom shared with me that they rise very early to write. That data point convinced me to set my alarm for 5:00 AM instead of 6:30 AM, providing me with a full 90 minutes to write. When I began, a 500-word post took more than an hour. Now it takes less than fifteen minutes.
- The idea you believe to be less valuable than others is the exact thing someone needs now. The idea you slave over doesn’t get the attention you believe it deserves. The perception of value is in the mind of the person who consumes the idea.
- If you do anything long enough and with an iron discipline, you will improve. I was a terrible writer when I started and something worse than terrible as an editor. I am marginally better, and with continued effort, I should be good in another ten years.
- You are an antenna. Ideas come through you if you open yourself up to recognizing them. Cataloging the ideas and banking them for the future is a valuable exercise, even if you don’t publish them.
- You cannot occupy the space of creator and a critic at the same time. It’s better to separate these two roles, creating without judgment first, and judgment without fear later.
- We underestimate the incremental. You can stack up results a little at a time, only to look back and realize how much you have accomplished.
- I have acquired many friends, and some of my closest, friends through the blog, Including Seth Godin, who provided the model and inspired me to write daily, and someone I call my mentor.
- Most of all, I learned that I am a writer. It isn’t something I do; it’s something I am. When I am not writing, I wish I was writing. If you do consistently long enough, it can become your identity.
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