The Magic Formula for Prolific Writing

April 23, 2012 · 7 comments

When I meet blog readers and Twitter followers in person, they often remark that I put a lot of content into the world. Editors have said I’m prolific. And Problogger called me a “publishing powerhouse.”

summit

Is it just me, or does the summit look REALLY far away?

Whenever these compliments come my way, they’re often followed with a question: How do I do it? How will I release two ebooks (one on how to create a social media strategy and another on how I made the transition to self-employment) next month? What’s my secret to cranking out so many blog posts? How do I write so much AND have a life?

The secret is that there is no secret. You just have to do it.

But just doing it is easier said than done. Too often we let our work slide or don’t meet self-imposed deadlines simply because we don’t have to. No one’s holding us accountable for our personal goals; no one will cringe if we only sort of accomplish them. We keep telling ourselves that we’ll get to those goals, even if we don’t get to them today.

Yet the truth is that if we don’t sit down and just write, those projects will never get done.

Unlike a lot of writers, I don’t have a problem sitting down and cranking out a blog post, an ebook, an article. When it comes to writing, execution is what I do well. (If that sounds arrogant, take a few minutes to browse the many posts about what I need to do better.)

But I do have problems holding myself accountable in other parts of my life. We all do.

Here’s where I struggle lately: I’d really like to lose a few pounds, but I keep finding excuses to not do the one thing that will help me drop them — eat less. And I KNOW nothing else will work. (I’m already a big exerciser.) I KNOW eating less is the only way I’ll get there. I KNOW just doing it is the magic formula.

Yet as much as I want the reward, I have a hard time convincing myself to do the work to get there.

When it comes to writing or losing weight or whatever big goal you have in mind, focusing for one day will not make a difference. You have to focus day after day, week after week, if you really want to get where you want to be. You have to work hard consistently… and often longer than you originally intended. That’s what makes reaching our goals so dang difficult.

That commitment to just doing it — even when you don’t feel like it — is what will get you to the finish line.

How do you hold yourself accountable for reaching your goals?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna Pyle April 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Alexis, you hit the nail on the head: “The secret is that there is no secret. You just have to do it.” To me, accountability looks like deadlines – whether self-set or otherwise. I work better under deadlines. Without them, I can revise and rewrite until the cows come home.

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Alexis Grant April 23, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Yes! Forever revising… can’t fall into that trap :)

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Bonnee April 24, 2012 at 10:29 pm

“The secret is that there is no secret. You just have to do it.” This made me think of Kung Fu Panda when they go to read the sacred scroll. It’s true, and I agree with Donna that deadlines are the best things in the world to go by.

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Alexis Grant April 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Yes! So true.

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Dana Sitar April 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

This is at once relieving and motivating. There’s no complicated formula to prolific writing…but, there’s no good excuse for not doing it either ;)

I’ve been traditionally terrible at meeting self-imposed deadlines, so I’m countering that now by bringing other people’s expectations into the equation. I state my deadlines to my clients, co-workers, blog readers, Twitter followers, etc, so that I have someone in addition to myself to answer to if I can’t meet them.

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Louis Burklow May 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Sorry I didn’t comment on this one last week. You could have used me as a perfect example of what happens when you don’t meet self-imposed deadlines – you start to let things slide and have to work even harder to stop them.

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