Darn it Dargie. That was my thought on Friday in our first Mastermind meeting of the year.
For the last couple of years Michael (the darned Dargie above), Carrie and I have had a regular Mastermind session every 2 weeks where we talk about business. We’re all from very different backgrounds, but we trust each other and the insights from these sessions have been the main inspiration behind just about every major breakthrough I’ve had in my business over the same period.
This last Friday was no exception.
Michael had started a challenge for himself - 100 days of writing every day. And of course now I had to consider doing this as well, not to be able to say “me too”, but to overcome some writing challenges of my own.
Here’s some background.
In 2017 I had decided that content marketing would be the main vehicle for getting my message out into the world. I bought Sean D’Souza’s brilliant article writing course, and over the space of the next couple of years wrote 160+ articles totalling some 250,000 words.
And it worked - the articles, published on my blog and cross-posted to Medium, were remarkably effective at getting attention and subscribers signing up for my lead magnets and eventually becoming clients.
But the pressure of producing one (sometimes two) 1,500-plus word articles every week took its toll.
Somehow, in my mind, I had to produce stuff that was really useful, well written, with supporting pictures, and so forth. So in about September of 2020 I published one of my last articles, and did only one measly article in 2021.
I had run out of ideas (or so I thought). For the next year or so (up to now) I chastised myself: “you have to write every week, lad” but somehow life and business got in the way and I didn’t write.
In retrospect, my curse of perfectionism was the main culprit.
Every time I had an idea for an article, I would second-guess myself as to useful it would be, whether I had written on that topic before, what could I really say about it, and pretty quickly the inspiration went away.
So when Michael announced his self-imposed challenge on Friday, it made me think.
I know that content marketing works.
The long tail effect of the best-performing articles, especially on Medium, are brilliant. Write once, reap the benefits for a long time. And the comments I’ve had from readers were encouraging to say the least - if I could help someone even a little bit with my writing, I believe I had done something worth while.
But I need to overcome my self-imposed barriers
I know that I have to publish at least once a week. But to do that, I have to let go of the idea that everything has to be perfect - that just leads to procrastination.
The other problem I have to deal with is that I’m not a full-time writer. My writing is there to support my business, but my main work is helping entrepreneurs build a profitable business faster. I spend about 60% of my time on my own business, and the balance on consulting for clients.
So I have to fit the writing into the time I have, it has to support my business, but most importantly I need to get over my perfectionism and get stuff out there.
So here’s my self-imposed challenge
I’m challenging myself to publish every day for the next 100 days. To do that, I’m going to let go of all the constraints I had previously imposed on myself, except that the article has to be readable in about 3 minutes (less than 750 words). And less is fine.
My main goal for doing this is to get back into effortless writing. In the process, I will be sharing the “inside story” of how I build courses and the frustrations, successes and do-over’s I go through. And random other topics as they hit me.
If you would like to follow along, I would love to have you.