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This is the final part of a series we’ve been discussing the entire month! Part one was on ‘Building a Pre-writing system. Part two on ‘The writing process’ itself and part three was on ‘Editing to Publish’. As promised, this part will bring it all together to help you become a writer that writes and publishes frequently.
It’s my immense joy to be able to have tackled these topics in the last four weeks. And I hope, whoever you’re on the internet —if you apply all these things, you’d have all you need to build your confidence as an online writer. We can seriously end this newsletter on this series alone. This is time’s worth! If you missed any of the previous lessons, check them out after you’re done reading this.
Let’s get into it.
"If you genuinely care about the goal, you’ll focus on the system." - James Clear
One ‘Ted’ talk changed Simon Sinek’s life forever. You must have heard it. It’s the ‘Golden Circle’. I don’t want to go into the nitty-gritty of it so you can watch this video if it’s unfamiliar.
Simon Sinek proposes that there are three questions that propel any individual or business growth. The ‘Why’ (Your cause), the ‘How’ (The actions you take for that cause) and the ‘What’ (The proof of that cause).
With over 25 million views, the golden circle is critically accepted across many divides and the results have been positive when effectively applied. Why? (Pun intended)
The answer lies in the fact that whatever we truly believe, we will take the requisite actions to enforce. And therefore, results will come out of it. So as we aim to become the most productive writers we can possibly be, I’ve put a spin on the golden circle and identified three factors that are critical to utilising all you know about systems, routines and processes.
The real truth is that all systems will fail without recurring motivation. And motivation is sustained on the pillar of belief.
To unlock that driving belief, here is my golden circle of writing productivity:
PRIORITY: The amount of effort we put into writing, clearly shows how important we think it is in the first place. Whatever we don’t have the time to do, is the thing we don’t value.
To write at a particular time every day or two demands incredible discipline. To block out distractions and write with the aim of publishing, demands a clear outcome. The discipline we need to become productive is rooted in its position in your pyramid of priority. When writing becomes “I must” rather than “I can”
How do we make writing a priority? By assigning an outcome to your work through significant questions. You don’t just write. You influence.
Why do I really want to write?
Why am I subscribed to this newsletter?
Is there anything I want to see happen in the world or in my life that I believe writing can help me achieve?
What experiences have I lived that others will benefit from if they read about?
Don’t fall in love with writing (it’s terrible), instead, fall in love with the outcome of your writing.If you have something important to say and you say it well, you send strangers down paths they badly needed. It's a disservice to others to keep great thoughts to yourself. Writing is the most radical thing you can do without money. Great writers change the world from a couch.
Julian Shapiro goes as far as recommending “you quit writing altogether till you have an itch that it is harder for you not to write than it is to write”
When setting our to-do list, we’ll begin to ask ourselves “what’s the one thing I can do today to become a better writer”. Unless we realize how important our words are in the lives of readers, we will continue to procrastinate and be sporadic no matter the knowledge of routines.
I’ve currently attached the outcome of my work to help people leverage the opportunities on the internet through writing online. How can I pass this message across as succinctly as I can to the largest number of people I can reach?
I also believe writing can unlock many career opportunities for me, so I literally have to get better at this thing. What do you want writing to do for you and the world?
ACCOUNTABILITY: I don’t always have the best of times writing this newsletter. On many days, I dread even the idea that I have to do this every single week.
Today’s issue is currently past the usual date of publishing which is Sundays 4 pm WAT. But I’m currently unable to sleep (it’s 12:30 am WAT as I type this) because there’s a bug on my shoulder refusing to give me any peace.
It’s screaming “You’ve made a promise to people! Subscribers are waiting on this newsletter, you really want to disappoint? That’s it, you’re a fraud who clamours about writing but can’t even keep up with his own newsletter. Shame, shame.”
So here I am cranking out words while my entire family is sleeping because I badly need to get this out to you. And I can’t even half-ass it. I can’t just send out scrambled thoughts and call it a day as I have set a precedent for quality. My word this is tough! But ‘I must’.
Who have you made a promise to with your writing? And how valuable is your word?“How do you stay motivated?” Find an audience! Find customers! Once you have those, you will stop asking. Being able to help people is better motivation than any routine, plan, or life hack.
I’m not even talking about accountability groups. Those are great. But if you don’t publish, what are the public consequences? Every newsletter I send out helps another person become better and move past their fear of publishing. So for every letter I miss, I disappoint that one person and stall their growth. I’m not just expressing myself and this is what I have to believe.
When you’ve found a reason for your work (see point 1 above), you need to quickly attach an individual to that outcome.
Social accountability with purpose is the greatest tool to drive consistency.
If you continuously miss your publishing deadlines or don’t write even when you make a promise to people, then you don’t deserve them. I’m a terrible procrastinator. Without this newsletter, there’s not enough self-will in me to write or improve. Each and every one of you has changed my life.
You don’t need to have a large audience. Get your friends or family to agree on receiving a piece of content from you and every week, do your possible best to meet it. Or pay a writing coach to help you improve. Whatever you can do for someone else to be on the receiving end of your work, DO.
"Where there is no accountability, there will also be no responsibility."
― Sunday Adelaja
ABILITY: It’s 1:14 am now. My eyes are full of sleep. I’m opening multiple tabs to distract myself from the fact that I have to finish up this piece, refine and edit, so I can schedule it for 5 am in your inbox. Crap.
Yet I won’t leave this chair till I do so. Because it has to get to you (point 2 above) and I’m very confident I can complete it soon. Why so? I’ve done this before. I know my writing process works. Part two of this series, which was the most exhaustive, was written in similar circumstances (LMAO See how I make these things incredibly hard for myself).
The more you use your process, the more you will return to it because you know it is effective. Success begets success and you can use this to your advantage.
Unlike physical fuel, creative work on the internet is re-combustible. It will continue to burn in your engine and serve as propellant for your next work. All you have to do is get in the vehicle.
So embrace the impostor syndrome. Look writer’s block in the face and get to work regardless because you know exactly what you have to do.
Keep a log of small wins and every positive comment people have paid you. Whenever you fear your work will be judged negatively or it’s of little value, remember you’re the same person who produced the last good one.
Confidence in your ability comes from your body of work and not your talent. When you find an outcome for your work so it becomes a priority, and there’s an individual on the end of it — the permission you need to constantly show up is given to you by every single step you’ve taken to get there.
Now, the productive routines are easier to meet, the system easy to keep, the process easy to follow, the tools of the trade easy to use. All because you know why you write, who you write for and what you’re able to do.
This is how you build a writing system. From start to finish. Go Build.
2:20 am! This was a blast. I’m so proud of what we’ve covered this month and since this newsletter began 5 months ago. Thank you. Thank you for being a part of this. Y’all have given me so much and I want to connect with as many of you as I can.
I’ll be setting up a calendar invite for online calls where we can chat for about 30 minutes about writing, your career goals or anything I could possibly help with. How do you find this? Love to get feedback from you on this, as well as on the series. I’ve extended myself in more ways than I thought I could. What a ride!
See you next Sunday.
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