This morning, someone gave me a huge compliment. I’m going to share it with you, not to brag, but because it’s about the art and life of writing (and blogging)…and because you are an important part of my writing community.
She said, ‘Do you realize how much you’ve grown as a writer since you first started this business? I always thought you were a good writer, but at the beginning, you were hesitant. Now that holding back is gone. I can hear you, you fill up the page.’
Admittedly, I’m not great at taking compliments so I brushed it away a bit and said thanks – and needed to be by myself to really take it in. And as I’m sitting here, absorbing, I’m also asking ‘why?’. Why have I gotten better? I have 2 answers.
1. Knowledge. I do a lot of public speaking and it’s something that I love and comes easily to me – because I talk about things that I really know and understand. Because my topics are so familiar, because I am so knowledgeable, it’s insanely easy for me to talk about it.
My writing is similar – I research my clients and their businesses so thoroughly, it becomes easy for me to write about them, second nature. My business is similar – I’ve learned (and continue to learn) so much about writing, marketing, blogging, social marketing, that I’m in comfortable territory. I’m doing what I know (and partnering with great people for what I don’t). Doing what I know, staying focused and getting better and better at those things is key for moi.
2. This blog. As a creative writer, I’ve set myself up for many challenges – journaling, morning pages, writing exercises, writing groups, etc. – all in a vain attempt to get myself to write and practice my craft everyday. But the longest I was able to maintain that flow was about 7 months.
Still, I was onto something – writing everyday does make my writing exponentially better – I just had to find the medium to sustain the writing and the writing development. Lo and behold, it’s this blog that makes me do it. Almost without fail (I am human and shit happens), I write this blog every day. How do I sustain the momentum? I love this medium, it fits so perfectly; and, the community that has grown around the blog is a mega-fueler. Because of this blog, something amazing happens to me every day: a new connection, a business opportunity, a quality referral, a highlight for my business, good old conversation.
Writing this blog is a true process. Sometimes I start writing about one topic and end up somewhere completely different. I love that because what it says to me is that I’m open – I have no agenda, my inner critic is surprisingly silent, I own this page and I’m making all of the editorial decisions, I feel like I’m connecting to people (which feeds me because I’m a very social animal), and I’m always delighted that people read and engage back through comments, emails, features and links.
*My hope is that every three years, my complimenter says these words to me again. That I keep learning, growing, developing – getting better. That I keep filling up my place as a writer and ‘filling up the page’ – full to burst.
How do you develop your skill, talent, craft, expertise? How do you measure this growth?