Today is a special day for me. On December 28, 2009, I started posting here daily. I had dabbled with writing a blog for a few years but lacked a grand strategy or goal at the start. So today marks ten years of writing here daily.
At the time, I decided to write every day, there were a few people who kept that practice, one being Seth Godin, who is now a friend, and a mentor with unmatched creative energy. The other was my friend, Chris Brogan, who still uses his blog to create a community. I was also reading Tom Peters’ work religiously, and even though he didn’t post daily, his blog was exceptional–and long-form (and when you read Tom, you want more).
On December 27, 2009, I explained to my wife that I was going to wake up early the next morning to start writing a daily blog post. I had posted some dozens of posts on this domain, thesalesblog.com, a name I selected in 2007 because someone owned salesblog.com, the domain I wanted. That person, who I later discovered was Jeffery Gitomer, hadn’t done anything with that domain at the time. I chose this particular domain because I was certain no one could spell my last name and because I believed Google would reward me with traffic if the domain name was also the search term, something I had once read somewhere on the internet.
My goal at the time was to model what I believed was working, namely sharing ideas that would be valuable to other people, without any expectation in return, eventually writing books and speaking at conferences. I told Cher that I believed I would be speaking within a year, a date I missed by ten or so days, even though I booked the gig in October 2010.
You know that aphorism that suggests that it’s not the goal that matters, but becoming the kind of person that could reach that goal?
When you meet a person, one of the first questions you are asked is, “What do you do?” In large part, people believe you are what you do, something that isn’t universally true. To write every day, I had to become a writer.
Writing demanded I rise early enough to write before I started my workday, so my 6:30 AM wake up became 5:00 AM, which is now some time between 4:00 AM and 4:30 AM on most days. The discipline of waking early is transformative; it provides you time for yourself when no one on earth wants or needs you. It also means writing with a clear, undistracted mind and the energy to write.
Writing daily also meant I would need to have something to write, something to say that is worth saying, which hasn’t been universally true across the 3,796 posts before this one. To have something to say, you have to be observant of ideas that are true and important. What ends up being true is that the idea you fall in love with doesn’t move the needle for other people, and the idea you believe is hardly worth writing about is something that provides tremendous value. Over time, you learn that you cannot be both the creator and the critic at the same time, so you choose to create, leaving the decision of value to others (and algorithms).
I would love to tell you that I have written every day for ten years, but I haven’t. In 2010, I visited Lhasa, Tibet, and I didn’t carry a laptop with me on that trip. For 13 days in Tibet, including a trip to basecamp on Mt. Everest, I did no writing at all. But since returning from that trip, I haven’t missed a day, even if it meant writing in hotel rooms, airplanes, airports, restaurants, or the back seat of an Uber.
As much as I love my In the Arena podcast and my YouTube channel, a format I am going back to in 2020, at heart, I am a writer. When I am not writing, I wish I was somewhere with a keyboard and a blank screen with a blinking cursor.
Thanks for being here with me over the years; the second decade here starts tomorrow.
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Filed under: Writing