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Eugene Dorfling
Eugene Dorfling

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Writing a post a day: One word is all it takes

If you have been following along with my writing so far, firstly, thank you, secondly and for those who haven't, I have started a technical writing internship and currently my challenge is to publish an article per day that I have written in one hour.

For me it is important to have some kind of structure, a routine that I can follow that will ensure I spend my time and energy on the right stuff. At the same time, there isn't much I despise more than following a rigid set of rules, I like to believe that I have free will and that I do what I do because I want to do it.

It is difficult to have a structure in place when you hate structure, the trick I use is forming good habits. I bite the bullet in the beginning, work out exactly what the most beneficial routine will be, write it out, set reminders, and then follow it with dedication. I know it sounds counterintuitive but what I have realized is that after about 40 days of following the routine, it becomes a habit.

After 40 days I turn off the reminders and lose the rigid structure that I followed with commitment. Because it has become a habit, I do not have to think about it anymore, I do not have to be reminded of what I need to do next, I simply allow myself to follow these newly installed habits.

For this challenge of publishing a post daily though it’s a bit different. I have worked out a nice routine that will allow me to get to all my daily tasks while writing and publishing this piece daily. The thing is that this routine only gets me to be where I am supposed to be, but it doesn’t prepare my brain to produce the actual content.

Sitting in front of a blank page is no fun, especially if the day is almost over and you have to publish that blank page soon. The only logical thing I can do when I hit this blank wall is to start writing anyway. It sounds impossible to start writing while your mind seems blank, but I found that something happens as soon as you write the first word. The second word follows.

What I do now, after brewing a fresh cup of coffee, I will start writing whatever comes to mind. Only committing to one word. One word quickly becomes a sentence that becomes a paragraph and before I know it I am writing.

With this exercise I have realized that the first few paragraphs are actually just priming your system, the stuff that I write in the beginning does not make much sense and does not follow any specific topic. It is like I need to warm up the writing machine first, loosen the fingers and allow the brain to start producing. It is like the brain flushes out the gunk that is still in the pipes from the previous use.

After a few paragraphs, my words start to make sense and my sentences start to align. Soon I start producing paragraphs on a topic that has emerged from the depths of my content producing machine. Then before I know it I have something I can publish.

In the end, it all boils down to the fact that the first step in anything is the most important step of all. Inspiration and motivation are both side effects of action, so don’t wait for inspiration, take that first step, write that first word, even if its all you do. Start now.

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