I use cruise control when I'm driving on the 101 and it's wide open.. Not because I need to, but because it lets me go as fast as I can while still being safe and without having to worry about getting a ticket. Maximum efficiency with minimum stress and fewer things for my mind to worry about.
The same holds true for writing. Having a writing schedule is a lot like using cruise control in my car.
I know that between my newsletters and blog posts I need to write about 1,000 words per week, or a couple hundred words per day. Writing a little bit each day gives me 2 advantages:
- I know how much I need to write without getting behind. As long as I do a little bit of writing each day, I'll be fine; I will keep up with the pace of my deadlines. This removes stress because I shouldn't have to gear up for a big writing session (unless I get behind) - just a couple-few paragraphs are all that's required.
- I know that once I write that many words, it's enough, and I can stop for the day. This removes stress because without it, writing can be like chasing infinity - you're never really done, as there is always something else you could write. This way, once I've written a little bit, I can close my laptop and not worry about it for the rest of the day.
Don't break the chain
Jerry Seinfeld was famous for this method, too. He wrote a new joke, every single day, no matter what. This gave him at least 30 new jokes every single month - a never ending supply of new material, and an ever-growing catalog of jokes to choose from for any situation.
He tracked his progress by hanging a calendar on his wall, and marking a big red X on it after he had written his joke for the day. Once he got a good string of Xs going, his mantra was "Don't break the chain."
If you're only doing one newsletter a month, or a couple blog posts per week, you can probably get away with writing less per day, or writing only every-other day. But you still want to be consistent.
Writing consistently is like cruise control for business: fast enough to be efficient but not so fast that you get stressed out.
- Chris Butterworth