Last December, I decided to ramp my writing up again, and rather than write on-demand or when I felt like it, I would write every day. That plan went through stalls and spurts of activity, but I managed to keep it up. It helped immensely in late January when I added a new platform, which gave new life and momentum to my writing.
I was still experimenting with how best to get the job done. For the most part, I would take an article each day from idea to end product. Doing it that way wasn’t a good plan. Besides the daily time commitment, it wasn’t very productive. In other words, the whole process took longer than the sum of the components. Besides, I kept reading how you should never write and edit on the same day.
A few weeks later, as I got into the rhythm of writing every day, I decided to up my game a bit. Besides writing every day, I committed to posting every day. I was still struggling with the workflow, but shortly after that, I made a decision that changed the game.
I not only wanted to publish every day, but I wanted as many of my articles as possible to be in publications. This created somewhat of a conflict. By submitting to other publications, all I could do was submit my work and wait.
And sometimes, you wait some more.
This means I could no longer control when my article was published. So to continue to post every day, while following my decision to get into publications, only left me with two choices:
- Write and submit enough work that eventually, I would be virtually assured of having one published each day.
- Write two articles a day, one to submit and one to publish.
As daunting as the second choice was, the first one had several problems, not the least of which was the fact that there was still no guarantee of a daily publication.
Of course, I could do what many have advised and concentrate on quality over quantity and forget the silly daily thing, but that’s just crazy talk. You do you.
So, I proceeded with plan B. As I modified my writing schedule, which I’ll get to in a minute, this became much easier than I thought it would be. It just required developing what I call a sustainable rhythm.
Two bonuses sprung from writing two a day that I hadn’t thought of. I should have thought of the first one because, if you do the math, it’s obvious. After a week or so of following this routine, articles I submitted began to get published. That meant on those days, the second article I wrote, I could bank for another day.
Since I still wanted to keep with my original plan to write every day, I decided that the second article needed to be easier and quicker to write than the one I submitted. So I focused on one of the subjects I know well, and that is photography. So the rough draft of that article could take as little as 10–20 minutes. Sweet!
The bonus came about on a day when I wondered what to do with the surplus of articles and read one more post about how I should start my own publication. Imagine a cartoon light bulb flashing over my head.
So, I started The Digital Photographer and dumped all my surplus articles into it as well as some older ones that had never been picked up by a publication.
I know what you’re thinking.
If I did that, why couldn’t I just write one photography article a day, put it into my own publication, and satisfy both requirements? The problem with that is that it would meet the letter of my commitment, but not the intent. The purpose of getting into publications is that I have their potential thousands of followers instead of just mine.
Even after a month and a half, I only have about 150 followers to my publication, while I have over 1,000 personal followers. The publications I write for have tens of thousands. So, I still had to follow my original plan, but it gave me somewhere to park my extra articles while giving me an easy way to create a second piece each day.
But, still, two a day?
Okay, so, how do I get this done. It’s a fairly simple process, and if I follow it faithfully each day, it goes quickly. Not only that, but everything doesn’t have to be done at once. The longest single time commitment is usually less than an hour. Sometimes, much less.
First, is my idea list. I wrote about there Here.
They are listed in the first column of the same Kanban board as the rest of the process. I add to it on the fly whenever the idea pops up. Or when I steal it from you, whichever comes first.
Then each day, I pluck two ideas from the list, one of which is photography related and write a rough draft of each. A really rough draft.
A really quick rough draft. The photography one will max out at 20 minutes. It’s hard to place a time on the other one as it usually, as Mr. Tolkien said, grows in the telling.
But it’s an easy process that flows. I don’t stop for mistakes. I don’t stop to form sentences or paragraphs. I don’t stop for red lights. I write. I let it flow until it ends. Then I stop.
That one process is what has made my writing the most fun again. It’s both cathartic and fulfilling. Even though it’s still a lump of clay, I can see the final work. It’s done, but it’s not finished.
Then, those two pieces are pushed into the next column, called Proof, and given a due date of tomorrow. This is the main editing stage. I copy and paste the whole article into my grammar checker. I read each paragraph and correct it as I go. It’s essential to read and not just let the grammar checker do its thing. I still catch sentences that don’t make sense, and the grammar checker often wants to correct something that doesn’t need fixing. This phase goes pretty quickly, and then it gets pushed into the next column — Polish.
In this phase, done on the next day, I paste the article into the final destination. I will proofread again and use the browser version of my grammar checker to take one last look. I will also use the formatting options provided by the destination. In the platform’s editor, I format the title and subtitle, add images, breaks, and other tools supplied to make the article ready for the public.
At that point, I’m done with the article, and on the next day, I either pitch or publish.
If you’ve been paying attention, you realize it’s not as simple as it sounds. All of this do something each day and then push it into tomorrow, which means I’m doing multiple things every day. That’s how days work.
But each of those things is relatively easy, and most don’t take very much time. This piece took a while because it grew to about 50% longer than I originally planned. But it takes as long as it takes. I say what I have to say until I don’t have anything else to say.
Which is pretty much now. I hope you find this useful if you desire to write every day. If that’s not what you want, I don’t know why you read this, but I thank you for sticking it out to the end.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have two to proof and two to polish. I already pitched one, and if I’m not mistaken, it just popped up in my queue.