During the month of March, I set a goal to write everyday — at least 500 words.
The reason behind this is that increasingly:
“Content is the currency of online business.” <– tweet this!
And content takes time and work to produce. I’m not an amazingly fast writer. In fact I’m actually pretty slow. I obsess over the choice of words and the structure of sentences more than I should; more than matters.
This exercise was about writing good content –yes — but it was also about developing the habit of getting something down on the page, day in and day out.
In the end, I only missed one day. I got my 500 words in 30 days out of 31, and many days much more than my desired minimum.
In total, I wrote nearly 24,000 words (774 words a day) for 8 different outlets including this site, the Treadmill Desk book, and several others. My low was 507 words and I maxed out at over 1700. Most of the writing has yet to be published.
As someone who aspires to be a better writer and a better author, there are no shortcuts. It takes practice and it took the specific goal of making progress each day to make it happen.
Some of the writing is not that awesome. It may never see the light of day. But other work is already live to the world, and every word served to hone my writing skills and generate content for my business.
In Great by Choice, Jim Collins describes an idea he calls the 20 Mile March. The idea is that great companies (and great individuals) take steps toward their goals each and every day. Rain, sleet, or snow, they make a habit of relentlessly pushing forward.
Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard. Some days they could easily cover 40 miles and rest the next day. Similarly, they might find the terrain impassable and barely be able to cover any ground at all.
But that starting and stopping kills the habit. Regardless of the obstacles in the way, if it’s important to you, you have to find a way to make it happen. It’s about discipline.
The habit reinforces itself
I found myself saying, “Oh I gotta get my 500 words in.”
I made it a priority. A couple days I was without Internet access so I couldn’t do any research. It ended up being a blessing in disguise because it also meant there weren’t any online distractions.
What goal or output in your business can you make meaningful progress on today? Even just a little bit counts. What is your equivalent to my 500 words?
Had I set out to write 24,000 words at the beginning of the month, it would have been a daunting task. But like most daunting tasks, it was easily broken down into manageable chunks.
You can begin your 20 Mile March today. Whatever your goal is, if you work toward it a little each day you’ll get there before you know it.
Do you like the idea of the 20 Mile March? Do you have a similar story to share?
And how about that, another 500 words :)