September 15th will mark the one year anniversary of my first post. Here are five things I would tell myself a year ago.
1) Consistency wins
I'm always experimenting with the format of my posts. Some are long form and well written (up to a week with multiple drafts). Some like this morning's post, I typed in five minutes, barely break one hundred words, and throw on the site with minimal editing.
For future posts I'm leaning towards the latter. The numbers don't lie. My long form posts are some of my favorite. But they are the least viewed, and most stressful to produce. I focused on the rhythm and sentence structure, had Sydney read multiple proofs before posting, and anguished if the language I used was high brow enough for my "audience". That's exhausting for someone who started this to share his thoughts on the things he likes.
It's hard for anyone to get into your work if you produce it at a sporadic rate. One of my goals for this year is to produce at least one piece of written content every day. Length be damned.
2) Your perception of people's judgement get in the way
Putting yourself out there is weird. The back of your mind is filled with the thoughts of what others think of you. But it doesn't do you any good. You will start to doubt your actions and lose motivation. Even go deep into some serious negative self talk.
I haven't found a foolproof way to get past this one hundred percent yet. I value the opinions of my friends and family a lot, definitely to a fault. It's hard to shrug off their opinions and comments. But you need to. If that means you put them on mute for a while, then fine. Don't let fear of someone else's opinion stop you.
3) Experiment, experiment, experiment
I spent four months building the initial website. Hired a designer and went back and forth forever. Going over the layout, font, design, everything had to be perfect for the people waiting to read my words of wisdom. But in the end I didn't like the website he built, and I fired him. I signed up for wix.com and built my initial site the next weekend. I continue to make changes as I go. Graphics, photos, layout, it's a grand experiment. Roll with it.
4) Write what you're passionate about
No one wants to read my thoughts on the trade war with China. Because I'm not passionate about it, and that will show in my writing. Trying to guess what people will like and not like is futile, and will only lead to procrastination and frustration. Go with your gut. The audience will come if it's good.
5) Start Now
If you want to start something do it. Take one action towards it today. There's plenty of room for you to find your own corner on the internet.