I’m often asked: after so many posts on the same set of topics don’t you run out of ideas? Oddly, it is just the opposite.
When I sit down at my desk now, ready to write a blog post. One pops out. If I have time, maybe three pop out. More often than that the best blog posts pop into my head in the shower, right before I fall asleep at night or during a walk. I drive myself crazy holding the idea in my mind until I can get it “down on paper”. I can’t rest until I’ve transmitted the post through my fingers into the computer. Then I can relax. It’s like my brain is trained to know it’s on the hook for blog ideas so it is working behind the scenes sorting through and identifying themes.
It hasn’t always been this way. In the beginning I knew blogging was the right thing to do. I knew that if I wanted to own the kind of business I wanted to own, be the kind of entrepreneur I wanted to be, blogging was an integral part of that equation. So I would sit at my computer and stare. I’d fidget. I’d wait for inspiration to strike but it rarely did. Even sitting down at my computer preparing to write something that ANYONE in the world could read made me nervous. Blogging definitely was not fun, then.
So, I decided to carve out a scheduled time to write in my calendar and no matter what I’d just write. Something, anything. Most posts were too awful to even publish. Some posts were sort of awful but I published them anyway. I had about a three to one ratio. For every three drafts I tossed out, I’d publish one. In the early days I’d look at my Google Analytics and everyone who visited this site I knew personally (thanks mom!)
Somehow I’ve made the leap from dreading the act of sitting down at my computer to write and getting up depleted, to now feeling compelled to sit down at the computer to write and getting up energized.
Except it wasn’t a leap. It was a plod. At some point I noticed the posts weren’t so awful, and others noticed it too. At some point I noticed the transition from having no good ideas to having more ideas than I had time to write about. Now blogging is fun. It is something I always look forward to.
I have also come to the hard realization that the blog, my writing is all a work in progress. I can see that these posts can be better, messages more impactful and important ideas made clearer. I have room to grow. In the world of business blogs mine is a small one but I’m happy it is growing, organically.
A large part of my initial frustration with blogging was the idea that it shouldn’t have been so hard and my writing should have been so much better. After all, I was nearly 20 years into my career when I started it and had done a ton of business writing. Perhaps the hardest part of the whole endeavor was starting and sticking with something with which I was clearly not proficient in. And dealing with the knowledge that while I was an expert in some things I wasn’t an expert in this. It just felt like my writing should have been better and blogging should not have been such a struggle.
We give a lot of excuses: I’m not that creative, I’m not a good writer, I’m not a joiner. Or we don’t have the right people or we don’t have the money or we don’t have enough people. I don’t believe in a power that allows some of us to “have it” while most of us don’t. I don’t believe that the power to do something only rests with the board or the CEO. Or that only big, well resourced associations can do great things. I believe that it is practice that makes us great. Not only practice but we have to make that big decision to start followed by lots of little decisions every day to keep going.
This blogging experience as been nearly the same as my public speaking experience. The same as my entrepreneurial experience.
In fact I don’t think this experience is that unique at all. We all want to start new things. We know that our organizations need to start new things. We know if we say yes we are in for a long plod. The hurdle is deciding to start (start something we are probably not competent in) and then the next hurdle is deciding, every day, to continue (even though for a long time we may not be good enough — yet).