How I wrote 52 articles (almost) in 52 weeks straight.
Yes I said almost, because I took a 2 weeks break. In reality the number is 50. There were those 2 weeks during August 2020 where I did not feel like I wanted to write. I took a break.
Maybe you see this statement and say: Yes, so what? I have written an article everyday for the last 10 years or even 10 articles a day in the last year. What’s the big deal?
Let’s go back in October 2019. Covid-19 was something I saw far in China, not even some danger I was seeing arriving at Europe’s doorstep.
I have a regular job, a young son of 10 months, and live in the suburbs of Toulouse, France. In the year that passed, Covid-19 is still banging at the door of my neighbourhood. I travelled to Dakar, Senegal to introduce my son to my family. I spent 5 months in total lockdown with my wife and my son in a flat with no possibility to go out in a crowded block in the north of Toulouse. Working in the aerospace industry, I am facing the possibility of collapse of our sector. And all the jobs that have been created in the sector from the last 10 years have been wiped out in the last 6 months. I have been very active in fighting Covid-19 in Senegal and West Africa. And we are expecting our second son in January 2021.
This is just a glimpse of my last year so far. And while the world has been changing, I gave myself a challenge to start a new project: tell my story and share it with the world.
Here are the reasons that helped me stick to it despite all the challenges of 2020 so far.
BUILD A STRONG WHY — I already talked about just above. With the arrival of my son, Noah, I felt the need to start documenting my life so that he can see my life through my own words. Often we live our lives and never take the time to share our vision, the reasons behind our life’s choices. Then, in a glimpse of an eye, we are gone.
People are left with their impressions of what they think you are. They will tell your story from their perspective and even from the kindest perspective, nobody really knows your motives better than you.
This is my “why”, to be the one that writes my story. Each week I say to myself: what have you not yet shared with your son that have been a driving force in your life?
Along this year, there were some weeks where a voice was telling me to take a break, just a small break. Eventually I did it within the 2 weeks where I did not write. Yet it was a deliberate choice. It was not out of laziness and lack of motivation.
Imagining Noah and his to come brother sitting down and reading my life through my own words is what has really helped me keep going on.
MAKE SOME SPACE — In order to have new things come to our life, we have to make room for them. Nature hates void and will always try to fill it with some stuff. So do we as human beings. However be it our home, our office, our car, our closet, our relations or our mind, we have limited space. And if we do not take time to clean out our closet, we will not be able to welcome new things.
For me, journaling has helped me unload my mind twice a day, when I wake up and before I go to sleep. I sit down, right click on my mind icon and empty it. I do my best to never have ghosts in my mind haunting the precious space up there.
I also exercise each morning and each evening. This helps me get the stress and tensions out of my body. I make space for a strong body with healthy habits.
With journaling and exercising, my mind is never full and I can welcome new ideas.
FEED YOUR LIGHT — There is no word in this article that has not been written already before. Everything I write is an inspiration I took from somebody else. I read books that inspire me on subjects that I am interested in. I watch videos on Youtube, TED talks about people that inspire me. I learn from their life, the way they share their stories and let it feed the stream of my river of inspiration. I read articles on Medium, Harvard Business Review, Forbes to learn about the experts, their tips and tricks on how to be a better writer.
As humans, we need to feed our light. Otherwise, it will lose its strength and disappear like a candle in the wind. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time. We need to surround ourselves with people that will feed our light, not just dim it for their own good.
For me, this has helped me come up with new original content every week. I will read an article and take the main idea from that article. Then I make it mine and add my own perspective and share it with the world. By feeding my light, I will never run out of ideas to share because of all the inspiration out there.
CAPTURE YOUR IDEAS — Books, videos, articles, discussions with friends and colleagues, night, day, at the gym, we never know when an idea for an article will come up. We need a system to catch those moments of light before they fade away.
Personally I use my smartphone and the application Google Keep to add ideas of articles. It is easy for me because my phone is always with me (not in bed or in my sleeping room). Even if the idea is just 3 words, I put it in Google Keep and pin the idea at the top.
For me the idea is really to be able to put my idea in writing as fast as possible. Some people go as further as planning which content they intend to publish for the next 5 or more entries.
I do not do that. I love to have ideas and then go in my bucket list in Google Keep and pick the idea that resonates the most with me that week. This adds some connection with what is happening in my world and challenges me to do something different each week.
SUMMON YOUR MUSE — In writing or producing art in general, there are 2 schools. There is a school which says that I only produce content when I am inspired and the other that just creates and summons inspiration.
The debate behind is about quality and quantity. Yes you can only write when you feel like you are inspired. The main limitation for that approach for me is that I don’t live an exciting life where I do amazing things every week, or travel to some magic places or attend some inspiring events. Hence I feel limited in the quantity of content I can create if I have to wait for my muse to feel like she is ready.
I prefer quantity over quality. And the reason behind for me is quite simple. I learn from the great athletes like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan or Serena Williams. They will always work everyday and not just before the competition and I believe that this is a big contribution to their craft.
After 50 articles, my writing has improved. In the content I have created this past year, some has resonated with people, some was not read by anybody. However because I exercise every week, automatically the quality of my content has improved. Because I write with the intent to take feedback from other people and improve my craft each week.
If I was asked, one year ago, to produce 50 articles in 50 straight weeks, I would have said that it is an impossible tak. Here we are, one year after, the world has changed and my world is changing every day. Yet I always have my “why” on sight: tell my story with my own words. I see Noah and his brother reading these words and even if they don’t agree with them, at least they know that their Dad took the time to write them hundreds of letters every week of his life.
What are your tips to create more content?
Are you focused on quality or quality when it comes to content creation?
How do you challenge yourself to be consistent?
Leave a comment below.
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You can read my previous article on Which COG is the best for a stable life equilibrium?