Note: This post isn’t (just) about blogging. It is about life.
Blogging is like building a cathedral by laying a single brick every day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and quit. It’s easy to skip a day. It’s easy to let the quality slide. It’s easy to fall into the trap of minimum marginal costs. It’s easy to think that a single day won’t matter.
Your readers expect quality, original content every single day. Every day you publish a post, someone quits blogging. Every day you publish original content, someone skips a day. Every day you publish quality content, someone lets the quality slide.
And the tortoise gets one step ahead of the rabbit, one step at a day.
Just like a cathedral, a blog is a never ending construction site. The Cologne Cathedral is said to be under construction for 800 years. There is no exit strategy in blogging. A blog is a death business at the moment you stop hitting the publish button.
“March ör Die” Lemmy Kilmister
In many ways, blogging is similar to life. You’re getting behind at the moment you stop advancing. It’s “March or Die.”
Just like in life, you have only one competitor in blogging, You.
And it’s a cutthroat competition to beat yourself every single day, to publish a better post, to publish a more original post, to increase the quality, and that every day.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
There’s no way to fool yourself. The numbers are out there, in your face. It’s out there how many views, reads, claps, fans, highlights, and responses your posts receive. The top ten list of your posts are out there. If that top ten list doesn’t get updated every week, you aren’t making any progress.
“What gets measured gets improved. Where the attention goes, energy flows.”
It’s a Balance Act
- Original, to the degree of never seen before
- Usefulness, to the degree of life changing
- Engaging, i.e. views, reads, claps, fans, responses, followers, email newsletter subscriptions, etc.
Just like in life, some of those objectives contradict each other. When I write about saving, investing, trading, technical analysis, and cryptocurrencies, I know that that post won’t receive the most views. I write them anyway, because they are useful, if for no one else, for myself as a reminder.
People like being told lies that make them feel good. It’s the oldest trick in the marketing book.
I know that I can maximize engagement by sacrificing the soundness of my posts. People like being told lies that make them feel good. It’s the oldest trick in the marketing book.
I know that I can maximize engagement by first following people and then unfollowing them. But what’s the use of that? Fooling myself and others, where everybody knows we are fooling each other.
I can make my job much easier by sacrificing the originality. This might as well be the hardest objective to optimize.
It’s easy to repeat myself. It’s easy to rewrite a post from a few months ago. It’s easy to find a cliché topic and to write about it maximizing the rest of the objectives. But that doesn’t inspire me. What’s the use repeating myself or everybody else’s content?
There’s already enough content out there. Why publish if you don’t have anything original to say?
Why Do It?
Why would I do all of this? Why would I put so much pressure on myself?
Because it makes me a better person. It makes me write down my ideas and follow up on them. It’s easy to fool myself. We all do it. We are all a bit irrational and delusional. It makes me be critical about my own ideas and put them out there for public scrutiny.
It forces me to work on a tight schedule. It forces me to let go of what doesn’t serve me, things like checking my smartphone 150 times a day. It forces me to focus on essentials and let go of everything else. It makes me to come up with systems to perform on autopilot.
“What gets scheduled gets done.”
Pleasure vs Satisfaction
“Why don’t we drink lemonade and watch porn?” Slovaj Zizek
Hedonism doesn’t satisfy you. You think it would satisfy you until you experience it. What satisfies you is the positive reinforcement cycle of accomplishment.
The more you accomplish, the more motivated you get to accomplish more.
What satisfies you is continuous improvement. Everything else is boring. Everything other than progress and advancement is a downward spiral and plain boring.