I made a goal to write something at least once a week for six months and today I’ve reached that goal.
When I wrote my first post on my new site back in early March about the willingness to be the fool, I was going on an adventure. However, unlike Bilbo Baggins, my destination was less clear.
My main goal, although, was to prove to myself that I could write something of high quality once a week and stick to it week in, week out. Not only did I achieve this, but I started up a second weekly piece, “Take 5 Tuesdays”, which is in its third month already.
So, this is going to be both a celebratory piece and a reflective piece. I will talk a bit about what I’ve learned during this time period, what I feel I still need to do and where do I think this is all heading as I gauge into the future.
What I’ve Learned
1. Well, you could say, the first thing I learned is that I managed to do it. I was both creative and disciplined.
2. The transition from academia to freelance writing has been full of surprising challenges. It’s been difficult to change ingrained habits and writing styles.
3. The importance of writing, journaling and creative outlets more generally for regulating the vibes of life. Some people need an avenue for expression more than others, and it’s up to us to find it.
4. Writing regularly really does help to clarify not only your writing thoughts, but what you want from writing and where your writing interests lie.
5. You work out where your writing style, strengths and weaknesses are.
6. After the initial flurry of interest when you start and your first post/website launch, interest drops off exponentially and this is ok. Don’t allow yourself to be too disheartened by this. Be stoic.
7. Most people won’t read or interact with your posts, for a number of reasons, and this is ok, as you only need some people to take an interest and not everyone. You need to maintain the discipline to write as if no one will read it.
8. Building an organic following takes time, effort and consistency. It doesn’t happen overnight.
What I still need to do
1. Work out specifically where I want my writing to go and what I want to achieve with it.
2. Utilise a more conversational style of writing.
3. Use more “I” language.
4. Inject more anecdotal stories or weave in stories to the concepts discussed. (points 2-4 are some of the challenges coming from academia)
5. Stop stressing so much whether something is written perfectly or not (paralysis by analysis, perfectionist tendencies). Whilst I’m striving for high quality posts every week, this can balloon out time taken to write these.
6. Find a way to market myself better to garner more views and a higher volume steady readership – push to generate community/email list/sign ups and networking.
7. Work on audience interaction to facilitate greater participation. Once again, coming from academia this was never a goal and your work had to stand on its own, you distilled knowledge and presented it as such and thus was determined whether it was good or not.
8. Expand upon technical knowledge for website such as coding and SEO to improve online results.
Where am I heading/future plans
1. Continue with the two weekly posts on Tuesdays and Fridays.
2. Ideas for series of posts to explore topics in greater depth rather than changing topics every week.
3. Toying with the idea of adding a video component to my writing to compliment and/or promote it, increase viewership and explore ideas in a bit more depth or quickly. Also, people like consuming visual content and it is easier to do so than reading it.
4. Ties with the above, I’m contemplating whether or not to include an audio/visual version of my posts where I read them out and perhaps expand a little on certain points. This may open up new audiences for me as so many people listen or watch a lot of material nowadays.
So, a big thank to the people who continue to support me in my endeavours, whether it is by reading/sharing my work, providing feedback or general encouragement, it is all appreciated. Any ideas you may have or things you’d like me to write about, please hit me up with them! And, in the immortal words of Captain Holt...
Here’s to the next six months!