26734804716_96351ab6e5_bThat’s a question that people ask me all the time.

Just kidding, that’s a question I ask myself all the time because I know deep down that nobody reads or cares about the fact that I blog.

But somehow, here we are, in the 92nd consecutive week of the Perspicacious Geek and prior to that I went 28 conscecutive weeks writing WTF World back in 2011. I usually aim at around 1000 words per article, which means I’ve written 92,000 words. I’m just 7000 words short of The Hunger Games you guys, except I have made negative money paying for part of our web hosting fees instead of millions of dollars in book sales.

Is it because I have a ton a free time on my hands? Not at all. In fact, just about every single week I am scrambling to figure out what to write about in order to not a miss a Tuesday. I would say that most weeks feature a moment where I’m sitting on the toilet thinking “this will be the week that I miss a blog”. Then I say “no sir” and write one anyways.

Anyhow, if you want to do a thing, here’s my advice. I assume this applies to all kinds of arts, but I only know how to write so that’s how we’re framing this.

1) Write For Yourself and Not Your Audience

Tracking hits and stats for a website can be a dangerous game. Some of my stuff gets thousands of hits, others hundreds and others only dozens. The thousands of hits thing happens once in a blue moon, with the right combination of key words and social media traction. It feels great, but it’s not going to be the norm.

I have a theory that no matter what measure of success you’re having, you still want the next level. I remember once back in my blogspot days I had 1000 hits in a month on my blog page. I was absolutely elated. That number nowadays would depress me.

I tend to take a look at the overall health of the website less and less often now. Why? Because it doesn’t matter and whatever number we hit will become my new high point and anything lower will bum me out. If we pulled 100,000 hits a month, I’d want 200,000. That’s just how it goes.

So, stop caring. Write about whatever you find interesting. Whatever inspires you. Whatever you can shit 1000 words out about.

I’ll admit it, sometimes I phone these in. Why? Because even just writing 1000 words is keeping your writing going, because if you don’t flex that part of your brain it will get harder to get back into it.

There’s this famous quote by Jerry Seinfeld I think where he says that he forces himself to write a joke every day. Most of them are terrible and never see the light of day, but he writes a joke every day. Because some of them are going to be good, and if he stops writing bad jokes he’ll stop writing good jokes.

If you’re not worried about your audience, it doesn’t matter if it’s great or not, you’re writing for yourself, not for them. And you know that sometimes, it is going to be great.

This actually goes to my second piece of advice.

2) Make a Schedule and Stick to It

Jerry Seinfeld writes a joke a day. I write a blog a week.

I was at a Penny Arcade Q&A at a PAX once and they said that the biggest contributing factor to their success with a web comic was that they were consistantly putting it out. Everybody knew that Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there would be a new comic.

So there’s the whole “success” thing in there, but I just told you to not worry about the audience, so why is it still important?

It’s super hard to find the time and motivation to write. But, if you make it a planned thing and force yourself to stick to it, eventually it becomes easier to jam that time into your week.

Sometimes that means you’ll be cramming together a thing at 11 o’clock at night to make your imaginary Tuesday deadline for a blog nobody reads but trust me, if you put it off until Wednesday, it’s never going to happen.

I don’t know why it will never happen, but it just won’t. If you don’t set some kind of a regularly occuring schedule for your output, you’ll keep putting it off and putting it off and it will never happen. It will always be easier to sit around and watch movies or play video games than producing something.

If you don’t make yourself make time for your thing, you will stop doing it almost immediately.

Which brings me to my last point:

3) Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

One of the biggest traps when it comes to trying to work yourself up to a steady output is being hard on yourself and the finished product. You can get trapped either endlessly re-working something or worse, putting the pen (or keyboard) down and abandoning your writing completely because you’re convinced your work is shit.

You’re never going to be 100% happy with something that you did. Why? Because truthfully, it could always be better.

You’re probably not a famouse artist, and even if you were, we know enough about famous artists to know that they’re super hard on themselves too. So you need to let go of trying to be perfect and just enjoy the process.

You need to figure out when something is done and let it go. It’s easier to scrap it than to share it and deal with the consequences, but I really do think it’s best to just put it out there. Maybe it resonates with someone and maybe it doesn’t, if you’re listening to point 1, it shouldn’t even matter that much.

And whatever creative lessons you learned during the process of making your thing are now advantages going into the next thing.

I don’t know man, this is just what works for me.

I’m just some idiot who’s writing a blog a week for 92 weeks and made no money doing it.

But hey, I did it for me, I did it every week and I didn’t take it too seriously.

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

Irritate Your Loved Ones by Sharing Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on Reddit
Pin on Pinterest