The Epic Post Enigma

Every blogger out there has encountered the idea that content is king (or at least was at some point). Taking this idea to its extreme, we find that it becomes discouraging when the writer comes up with idea after idea, and none of them seem to be remotely epic in nature.

I certainly fall into this category. I get started working on a long list of posts to create, and eventually get to the point where I feel like no matter what I write about, it is not good enough.

Not having some way to organize and prioritize these ideas surely contributes to these discouraging thoughts that keep me from keeping up with the writing habit.

Showing Up

Woody Allen has been attributed as saying:

Eighty percent of success is showing up.

I am inclined to agree with this. Though I struggle with the weight of having quite a few subscribers, and wanting/needing to entertain them in a big way, I need to have some way of keeping myself focused on the end goal.

When I was planning this series of posts, the ideas were flowing freely from my brain onto the paper in front of me, and I was amazed at all of the topics that I could realize from just the simple thought of analyzing how and why I have not succeeded in learning to get things done efficiently.

I quickly realized that not only have I been shorting myself in a big way by not writing about even the smallest topics here on Worthless Genius, but I have also robbed the world of any insight I have gained in thinking about these processes. Starting these posts, I have seen that perhaps I can add some value to other struggling knowledge workers’ lives by presenting my thoughts and ideas about the issue at hand.

Now that I am sitting here writing this fourth post in the series, I am finding that Woody Allen was onto something with his oft-repeated quote. I am showing up here in a way that does not come naturally to me, and I am in fact achieving a small bit of success in my own mind by writing once again.

Break Me Off a Piece of That

When I first sat down and thought about this series’ topic, it was in the context of a single post. After writing down 5 concepts, I quickly realized that if I tried to write it all in one post, not only would I become disenfranchised partway through writing it, but most likely I would create such a large post that readers would be completely turned off to its content because of its sheer word count.

At the end of the initial 10 minute brainstorming session, I had written down 23 topics. The inspiration to break these topics into individual bite-sized posts held true when I saw this massive piece of writing that would have to be done in order to verbalize my ideas.

Taking one large, epic post and breaking it up into several posts, or a longer series of posts has a few benefits:

  • You can take breaks in between writing each post.
  • Your readers do not need to invest three hours in order to read one post.
  • Between the planning period and the time it takes to write through the last post, you will likely think of new ideas to include.

So, although content does indeed trump frequency in most respects, breaking epic content up into more manageable pieces benefits everyone in the long run.

Getting Over The Fear of Disappointment

One of the biggest obstacles to my becoming a more productive writer is the fear that I will disappoint my readers, as well as my future self. Looking back at the earliest posts here on Worthless Genius, it is plain to see that I have indeed come a long way in writing style, and that fact seeps into a part of my brain that tells me that I should not even try now, because the writer that I will be in the future will be in some way ashamed of my writing now.

The easiest way to get over that concept and to start writing consistently again is to realize that the future you will not be a better writer than you are now if you do not write frequently.

As for disappointing the readers, it is important to keep them in mind, but also balance your overall goals with the possibility of not giving them an epic post daily.

Applying This to The System

Putting all of my writing tasks into previous systems has proven to be kind of useless. As I ignore all of the other needed tasks, so do I ignore those tasks which pertain most to my passion for writing.

Perhaps the best way to encourage the writing habit through the use of a personalized productivity system would be some mechanism that would remind me of the goals that I set for one month, year or decade down the line. Any kind of positive affirmation of my goals should help to incubate that need and motivation to simply show up at the keyboard and get to work.

  • Debbie

    It is very good to watch you learning through this stage in your writing development. Some of us naturally write eloquently and efficiently, which comes in handy when composing a cover letter or a proposal; the gift requires nothing more than natural talent to employ it incidentally – but what a shame to leave it at that stage! The avocation of writing requires a good portion of our character and our will, as well as our talent. The hardest part, I find, is just what you’ve discovered in this post – the tendency to brand our current efforts as not worthy of top-billing, and therefore not worthy of the attempt. Making the attempt is like stepping out over a precipice onto a bridge that does not exist until the moment your foot needs it. Acting, doing, and learning-through each new precipice with faith that the bridge will appear refines talent into expert craftsmanship. Don’t worry so much about us readers – keep those topic brainstorming sessions going – we’ll stick with you through the process. You are doing great! :)

  • Benjamin M. Strozykowski

    Thanks for the kind words, Debbie.

    It is kind of hard for anyone who is trying to hone their craft, whether it be Calculus or blogging. But I do think the key is to stick with it, and do it with as much passion as possible.

    That’s where this long series of posts comes from. Plus, I am learning about myself throughout, and hopefully lending a tiny bit of wisdom to anyone in the same position.

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