11 Things I learned writing every day for 30 days

A few days ago I passed a very cool milestone. I had published a brand new blog post for the past 30 days. Each of the posts I sat down to write the day of, and hadn’t really edited most of them. I’m sure they are full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, but perfection wasn’t the point; publishing was.

Every day, I’d get home from work or the pool, get myself fed, and around 10pm sit down in my living room, put my headphones and Sportscenter on, and start writing. A lot of the time, I had no idea what I’d say until my hands hit the keyboard, but the words always came out, often more than 1,000 in an hour.

After a week or so, I made a big list of post ideas and outlines so I could streamline the process and not have to think as much when I’d sit down.

I wrote in San Francisco and Boston and Austin. I wrote on planes. I wrote in coffee shops. I wrote totally sober, and I wrote after having a few drinks with the team. There were plenty of days where the last thing I felt like doing was sitting down and writing, but once I sat down and started writing I was always glad I did. The words always came, and often the posts I thought were going to be garbage turned out to resonate the most with folks.

So heres a listicle post of things that I learned by publishing a new blog post every day for 30 days.

1. Often when it’s a massive struggle to sit down and write, But I never regretted it

There is this massive inertia that wanted to keep me from publishing all the time that I had to overcome each day. Some days it was worse than others, and the thing that kept me writing was the commitment I made to myself to publish, regardless of how good the post might or might not be. The point wasn’t perfection, the point was publishing.

No matter how hard it was to sit down and write, once I was seated and writing, the words always seemed to come and I felt at peace with what I was doing. I never once regretted sitting down to start writing.

2. It’s easy to psych ourselves out worrying about what people will think, but in reality most people aren’t paying attention that closely

One of the things I heard from people when I told them what I was doing was that they were afraid of doing something similar because they didn’t want to be embarrassed by putting something that wasn’t perfect out in the wild. That’s something I think we all relate to. There’s a lot of fear associated with putting your creative work out into the world. What if nobody likes it? What if it’s actually bad?

Well, I’m here to tell you that there aren’t that many people who are going to be reading your stuff. And after the first day you publish a blog post and share it on Facebook, it’s usually not going to get any views. Most blog posts never get many views after we publish them.

And other people honestly aren’t paying that much attention, at least not at first. There’s a definite difference in how many people are reading and commenting after 30+ days than on day one, and I suspect that will continue to grow. But worrying about what people think isn’t a good enough excuse to not do something because most people won’t notice what you’re doing at first.

3. When I’m writing every day, I have to come up with a lot to write about, so there are good things I published that I never would have previously

There’s a lot of blog posts that got written in the past month simply because I had to write something on that day, and the idea I had was the best one I could think of.

I’m grateful for a lot of those posts, because they came out of some of the inner dialogue I usually have going on, but I wouldn’t have necessarily gone to the trouble to publish them if I hadn’t set this goal.

Just goes to show you that there’s a lot of unrealized creativity flowing around in each of us that we can harness when we sit down to create on a daily basis.

4. There is always something I can write

I believe this now more than ever. After at least a dozen days sitting down with zero clue of what I was going to write about, and a high level of anxiety about coming up with an idea that was good enough, and then still sitting down and finding something to write, I know that there’s always something that I can write about.

5. I write well intoxicated

Hemingway, one of my idols (who never shied away from a strong drink), apparently said “Write drunk, but edit sober.”

Despite my post about not drinking for 30 days, there were a number of nights where I came home after a night out and had to sit down and get a post out regardless of the state I was in. I’m not sure anyone noticed the difference, and I’m not sure I made any more mistakes than I normally make (I’m prone to misspellings and poor grammar on 1st drafts). Some of those posts were my favorite ones.

And, again, I’m happy that I didn’t make any excuses for myself and sat down to write.

6. My life took on a brand new sort of focus when I knew that I had to structure part of my evening around getting something written and published every day

When you know you have to sit down for an hour or two and write something every single day, you have to consciously schedule your time.

I went out less. I planned my evening meals around getting some writing done. A focal point on a lot of these days was planning when I would sit down I would write, and which idea I would elect to flesh out on that evening.

It’s a good feeling to have something creative to orient your day around. Creating is it’s own reward because of how it affects your life, and it’s worth orienting your time around.

7. I can always make time to write

I hate it when people make the excuse of “I don’t have enough time.” When someone says that to me when I’m trying to make plans, I usually quit trying very quickly. If someone wants to spend the time on something, they will. If they don’t have enough time, it’s because they don’t have enough reasons to make the time.

In the case of writing, I always found an hour or so to write because I had enough reasons (or a good enough reason) to do it. There was always time to be found, I just needed to look.

8. I slept better at night

I noticed that I was sleeping incredibly well at night when I was writing when I spent the last hour or so before turning in cranking out my blog post for the day. There was something relaxing and meditative that left me with a sense of peace by creating every evening.

There were a few times where I’d write earlier in the day, and when I’d lay down later that evening, I’d find myself having a harder time getting to sleep. Something about writing before bed had a positive impact on how easily I slept every night.

Additionally, I’ve never been much of a dreamer, and in the past week or so I’ve started having incredibly vivid dreams every single night. It’s very new to me.

9. Writing kept me off of my phone

Underrated benefit of having something I love to do that I make time for every day: I spend less time staring at my phone. That’s huge.

10. My writing style and focus changed

Before I started doing these daily posts, I’d often sit down to start a post, get 1,000 words in, and start editing and then have to quit after a couple of hours because I knew that it was going to take a number of drafts to get the post where I wanted it to be. That means that I would have to block out several chunks of time to sit down and wrestle with a post in order to get it done.

That long process editing has led to a lot of my favorite posts, like the one about my breakup earlier this year. That took a week and a half to get right (and I’d still change things).

On the other hand, the post I wrote about why I rarely talk about my chronic illness was something I wrote in a single evening and published without a thought. When I woke up the next morning, that post had already done 5x what a good post of mine normally does.

But in order to publish every. single. day. I had to simplify the ideas I wanted to get out and the emotions I wanted to express. Since I had to hit *publish* every single day, and I really only had an hour (two, at most) to write in the evenings, I needed to simplify what I was going to say and my process. I quit editing. I wrote about smaller ideas. I made myself get comfortable with writing shorter, more direct posts.

It remains to be seen how this will affect my longer posts, but I’m excited to see how that will turn out. I have a few longer ones that I’m tinkering with that will be ready to go in the next couple of weeks.

11. I’ve got some amazing, kind readers that i connect with

Without question, my favorite part of publishing every day has been the opportunity to connect with you, the reader. And because I’ve put more out there, I’ve had more chances to hear from you all in comments on the blog and on Facebook, on Twitter, and in private messages you all send me.

I write to share a part of myself that is hard for me to put into words, and I write to express those vulnerable, very human parts of all of us that we don’t always have an outlet for. The things I write start as mine, but by putting them out there I want them to become yours as well. If what I’m writing doesn’t connect with your individual experience, then I’m not doing my job.

Not every post has been incredible, but enough of them have resonated with some of you to make me incredibly grateful that you’re reading the things I’m writing. And your kindness to any errors or typos you notice is very graciously appreciated on this end.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. It keeps me writing.

Hope this helps.

Austin W. Gunter

austingunter

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