After attending LoopConf and learned all that I could about WordPress development I took the next day off and played a game of ping pong with some friends. There was the guy who's really good at hitting the ball fast so you have to play really far back, the guy who taps the ball over the net so you have to dive towards the table, the guy who's good with placement so you have to run from side to side to return the ball, and the guy who plays aggressively and smashes the ball with every opportunity. And then there was me the guy who has a very basic serve and very basic technique.
So who do you think won? Maybe the guy who was really good at placing the ball? Or the guy who hit it really fast?
While everyone else was focusing on their technique and strategy I focused entirely on returning the ball. It wasn't very fancy but it did the trick. I simply returned the ball over and over again until my opponents messed up. Each of their strategies can be put to good use under the right circumstances but quite often the goal of ping pong is to not mess up. And by using strategies in the wrong situation you end up shooting yourself in the foot.
So how does this related to writing?
Writing isn't about apps, it isn't about social media strategies, and it isn't about growing your newsletter list. It's about crystalizing your thought process. Turn the complex ideas floating around in your head into a simple to consume format.
I understand why people look for the perfect writing app, why they think they can find one that's perfect for them and all of a sudden they'll be the next Hemmingway. And the answer is simple and you see it everyday. It's why people try diet pills, why they go to the gym for the first three weeks of the new year, and why they buy those hilariously unscientific vibrating kits that are supposed to move your muscles for you.
Writing is hard and people don't want to put in the effort. We'd rather take a pill to make us excellent writers.
Not Every Shot is Great
My shots in that ping pong game were rarely great. But I kept hitting that ball over and over and over again. Eventually the ball landed right where it was supposed to and there wasn't a thing my opponents could do about it. If you keep writing you'll get that perfect shot. The article that helps your readers understand something crucial to their business, something they truly value, and they will share it on social media for you.
When you write enough you can start building on your previous work. Look at what people like and try to do that again. Or if something didn't do very well and you think there's value in that post you can rewrite the post and rerelease it. Try writing from a different angle or covering different topics.
When you write relentlessly you start building a collection of information that you can use in other mediums like your newsletter, social media posts, conference presentations, or even books. I reused a few of my most popular WooCommerce posts in the WooCommerce Cookbook. They had 50+ comments on them and people genuinely found the information useful. It was a no brainer to share that useful information in a different medium.
Commit to Writing
If you want to become a better writer the trick is to commit to it. You can't wait for a eureka moment. If you do, you could be waiting your entire life. Rather than wait for life to hand you something on a golden platter you need to reach out and take it. And in this case that's as simple as committing to writing. Every day, every week, or every month. The frequency doesn't matter as long as you're writing.