What I learned writing an article a day for a week.
After I recently discovered I had this Medium account, and liking its beautiful new publishing interface, I decided to write here on Medium.
I challenged myself to write one article a day for a week. It was not only to gauge the response to my writing but also to get me into the habit of writing regularly.
In the last decade, I have understood something about myself. If I push myself into taking up a challenge, then I complete it. This is what I applied for doing Intermittent Fasting last year, and taking up writing this year.
I guess it must be the same for most of us. Otherwise, we keep deliberating and never get into a practice of doing something. Which breaks our resolution easily. And ends the resolve.
Writing one article a day, for the last one week, I feel confident now of my writing skills and the ability to publish on a variety of topics. It has also helped me get a sense of what people like reading about.
Also, a popular news site, Swarajya Magazine accepted my writing. They are now republishing some of my articles that suit their audience. So am already reaching thousands of readers.
It was lucky to have my first ever long form article and medium post published on a popular news site. And it further motivates me. Yet, unless I had committed to writing, it wouldn’t have happened.
So here are a few things I learned by writing every day:
- Just start writing: I write my thoughts and ideas about some subject as and when I get them. The medium app helps here. I just take out my phone and jot down on it. And it saves as a draft. This am doing right now, lying on my bed. Later, I will organize the drafts into more readable paras and finish them. There are multiple drafts on multiple topics. That means I always have an article at hand to write more, or finish, when I have the time.
- Write with an audience in mind: I knew this trick already, having learned it from some self-help article before. So I chose my audience and kept them in mind. I imagined myself giving a speech to a group of college students. I feel that’s the right level for my writing and the topics I touch upon. It helped me write neither too simplistically, nor too sophisticated.
- Publish as quickly as possible: After writing something, I feel I can revise it more, making it better. I think all writers would feel this naturally. But once we achieve a proper structure, and we have concluded the article, it is better to publish it on a platform like Medium. Waiting and changing more only delayed me and added little value.
- Keep revising the articles: So the first thing I did was jot down my ideas about a topic. Next, I organize them into paras when I have time. At night getting into flow, I polish the article and publish it. But after publishing, especially the next day when I wake up and read, I will find many spelling, grammatical, and style issues. I then revise the published article as and when I feel like.
- Be agile: All the methods I have followed above are like a concept called Agile development in software engineering. Where a programmer gets an idea, writes a piece of code, publishes it, keeps revising and polishing, keeps debugging until the product is well-finished. So being agile in writing has helped me. I think I now have a beautiful topic to write another article on — “Agile Publishing”.
- Promote your articles: For my first couple of posts, it thrilled me to see organic traction within Medium. It was one of my motivating factors to publish here. But later, I didn’t see the same amount of organic reach. So I actively promoted my articles on twitter, WhatsApp groups, and Facebook. It helped a lot in reach. And a lead to being published on a popular news site too.
- Keep it under 5 mins: After I wrote articles of different lengths, by stats and through feedback, I understand people like reading for around 4 minutes or maybe a little more. 10 mins articles may be good once in a while, but I think audience really likes that the writer respects their time. So I plan to write shorter articles from now.
It was an enjoyable challenge for the last seven days. It kept me very busy too. One day it took nearly 2 hours. Other days about 30 mins to 1 hour. But it felt good writing. My brain I feel is more exercised too. And once or twice, as I was writing, could experience FLOW.
Now that I have this nice platform and some sites willing to publish me, I plan to take up writing regularly if not as a challenge. Let’s see how it goes. If you like my writing, do bookmark this page and follow me.