Violinist Hilary Hahn started a 100 Days of Practice project. She posted a video of her practicing violin on Instagram for 100 days with #100daysofpractice and invited others to join her. That started a movement.
Austin Kleon (the writer of How To Steal Like an Artist) came up with a grid to log his progress for 100 days. He calls it PRACTICE to SUCK LESS grid.
To get good, you first have to be willing to be bad. Don’t practice to get good, practice to suck less. — Austin Kleon.
I thought it was a brilliant idea. You can use it to improve your handwriting, sketching, writing, stamina, singing, or playing an instrument. I used it to get better at social media.
I sucked at social media. My friends complained that I never posted anything or left comments on their posts. I used to think social media was for boring people who had nothing better to do with their time until I discovered its power to build your profile.
At the start of 2021, I set myself a goal to publish on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. for 100 days consecutively. It was an extremely successful experiment. Not only, I built my profile and learned heaps about the platforms, but my follower number swelled as well.
Today is the Day 96 of the experiment. Here is the scorecard.
I missed only two days. Those were busy days, but if I had planned, I would have been able to publish on those days as well.
So pleased I am with the growth that consistency brought that I decided to use it with writing articles.
I have wanted to write every day on Medium for some time now but wasn’t successful. The closest I have come to publishing 4 articles in a row.
My rational is, if I can do it on social media, I can do it on Medium too.
Each article doesn’t have to be 1000–1500 words long; it could be 300 words. All stories don’t have to be non-fiction, it could be fiction too.
“Lower your standards for what counts as progress and you will be less paralyzed by perfectionism.” — Adam Grant
What is the aim?
To get better.
To bring the article writing time down from 5–6 hours to 1–2 hours.
To build a system to publish every day.
Writing an article a week is harder than writing an article a day.
Initially, I will not worry about whether my headlines are good enough or not, whether I need more research more or my article is plain right boring. Initially, I am going to aim at publishing every day.
It frustrates me because so much time is spent agonizing over tiny grammar mistakes, whether a headline is clickbait, and the attributes of viral writing. All of it misses the point: who cares?
Write what you want to write. You do you.
Being yourself is the most profitable business idea I can think of when it comes to any form of online content creation.
I think the reason we don’t get out and achieve because we try to do what other people are doing. We forget to be us. To do what we do.
So I am going to write what I want to write, and in the process going to learn what works for me.
My strategy to succeed.
Build a system and hone it over next three months.
Desire is what gets you started; system is what makes you deliver.
Most of my articles come to me when I am reading other people’s articles. A single line might trigger a thought which becomes a full-blown article. I might agree with them or disagree with them.
I stop reading at that point and start jotting down my thoughts. If I am on the computer, I create a new draft on Medium; if not, I do it on the phone, notebook, or back of an envelope.
I write nonstop until I have penned down everything that comes to me without worrying about structuring them or even rationalizing them. Before leaving it, I make a note if I need to do any research for anything.
Each morning, after breakfast, I pick one of the drafts and start the research. While researching the angle and structure of the article start taking shape.
I work in several 15 minutes spurts, taking breaks to do housework in between. By lunchtime, my article is done. I leave it for two hours and cook lunch.
When I come back to it, I read it slowly, make final edits and publish it between four and five pm.
I write at least ten articles ideas a day in my Idea Journal; hence I am never short of ideas. My goal is to get to the point when I can write an article on any topic with little or no research.
I intent to publish at least one fictional story and one travel article each week giving enough variety to my readers.
I also intend to have a few articles as a backup for days when I can get to the computer (a lesson learned from publishing on social media).
And lastly I will do many things in bulk such as inserting the images, footer and sketches etc.
Where to publish?
My biggest challenge is how to get published the same day. Many publications take one to three weeks to publish stories.
The Ascent takes more than a week. World Travelers Blog takes 4–5 days. Data Driven Investor takes 1–2 days. Illumination has been the best so far. Dr Mehmet Yildiz has been publishing my stories within few hours of submission.
While researching for it I found a brilliant article by Michael ‘Myk Eff’ Filimowicz, PhD. Michael suggests four ways to get your stories into Medium publications:
The Front Door: The Front Door is when a publication has a big sign hanging on their site basically saying, ‘Open for Business!’ it’s the easiest, most direct, clearest, and obvious method.
The Back Door: The Back Door is Smedian. Smedian is a publication created by Casey Botticello, a top Medium writer to demystify writing on Medium. It has a list of all Medium publications with the ‘Request to Contribute’ link. You can look for publications by using its search tool.
The Side Entrance: Believe it or not, some publications, particularly Medium’s own publication, do not a SUBMIT tab on its front end or a ‘Request to Contribute’ button on its Smedian back end. Literally Literary publication is like that. To submit to publications like it, you have to do a web search, and the submission guidelines will appear in one of their many past online stories. This might be irrelevant now as E V William has disbanded Medium publication.
VIP Lane: This is when a publication owner invites you to submit your story to their publication. You receive a notification like this, “Hey, we love this story; we’d like to publish it.”
This is my favourite kind of publishing strategy.
I am going to publish some of the stories on my profile and then wait for an invitation from the publications.
It gives you become-so-good-that-they-come-to-you kind of feeling.
In the end
Wish me luck and join the challenge if you wish.