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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Writing Is About Doing

I struggle writer's block most days, even though it's relatively easy for me to churn out 2 or 3 posts a week (like I did last year).

It's not however a lack of ideas that challenges me to write regularly.

Seth Godin talks about never suffering from "Talker's Block", which means there's no reason to ever suffer writer's block either. That makes sense to me. And I can concur that I've never had a problem with talking about the things that I'm passionate about.

Instead the thing that makes it hard for me to write regularly is my perception about how others would receive my words. Even though my starting point is one of writing for myself, I'm also cautious to not just publish shit.

That's probably unavoidable (I'm not that great a writer), but I think I've gotten better at this.


Well, I believe that writing is about doing. Let me explain.

I've recently realized (which also means I simply looked at some proper data and came to this conclusion) that the things that are easiest to write about is after I had actually done something else.

Once you've done something (regardless of any of the facts about it), you're able to share the stories, experiences, opinions and lessons learnt from that. The content is already attached to the action you have previously taken, which means writing about it is a much more mechanical process (i.e. you don't have to generate ideas to write about).

Look at some of my most popular posts from 2013:

  • My #1 post was all about being brave, taking a risk and sharing all of the details in the aftermath. It was controversial and not everyone agreed with it. But it got traction, because it was content that could not have been generated without doing.
  • With my Prioritization Optimization post I merely shared my Trello workflow, which I had refined over a couple of weeks. This was so popular that even Trello retweeted me.
  • And finally, the best post I have ever written (IMO) was all down to making a really tough decision and sharing all of the raw emotion and consideration that went into making the decision. I have never received so much feedback on one post as I have on this one.

Since the beginning of the year (and since I've committed to daily writing and publishing), I've seen this trend continue too. The posts that shares the details about things I've done (versus just an opinion about something) have come out trumps and are getting a lot of attention.

I'm even doubling down on this approach and I'm actively running more experiments at the moment just in the pursuit of creating more content. Expect me to write about these in the near future:

  • How I'm adding my Twitter followers to my mailing list (in bulk);
  • How I'm using e-mail signatures to generate traffic to my blog; and
  • What the effect has been on my blog since I've been posting old content on Medium.

I'd add AND LOADS MORE!, but that's not the point here.

The point here is that writing becomes easy when you are just sharing whatever it is that you're doing. Especially if there's a more generic take-away for someone else to try something similar.

Don't get me wrong: I love broadcasting my opinion as much as the next guy or girl. But it's when I'm only doing that, that I have that fear of how others will receive my content.

When I'm however just sharing the things I've done, the results of those things and how I experienced them, I'm in the "clear".

I can't be wrong, because it really happened and I'm just sharing the truth.

If you find value from that, then great. If not, then I've received greater clarity by writing it for myself.

Writing is all about doing other things.

Do more, share more and write more.

Did you enjoy this post?

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