If you want to be a guru or an expert, you have to be a thought leader. If you want to be a thought leader, you need to organize your thoughts, and there is no better way of doing that than writing. Perhaps Jesus could get away with just speaking because he had apostles to write down what he said. But unless you have 12 full-time volunteers, you had better start writing—every day.
When you write, the following good things occur:
- You organize your thoughts on a subject.
- You simplify complex thoughts and ideas.
- You create a record and a database of ideas to draw upon.
- You are forced to think about your subject matter clearly in order to write concrete ideas about them.
There are several types of writing you can do on your subject matter. All are necessary from time to time.
- A simple and clear description and explanation of typical issues affecting your niche.
- A simple, clear and straightforward analysis of topical issues affecting your niche.
- Interesting, engaging, and simplified (but not necessarily creative) ways of looking at news topics in your niche.
- Genuinely different and creative ways of analyzing news topics of the day in your niche.
- Genuinely creative new ideas in your niche that are timeless and evergreen.
- Ideas that are so creative and different in their philosophy and perspectives that they change how everyone looks at your niche from now on.
Ideally, you are writing on all six paths. However, you can be a very successful and influential guru merely writing at the first 3 or 4 levels.
There are many benefits to writing regularly on your subject matter, especially writing on a daily basis.
- It forces you to look at the world through the prism of your niche. Every TV show, news item and movie could become fodder for some aspect of writing on your niche.
- A daily deadline forces you to read in a more active manner; you can no longer read as passively in that you are constantly and consistently on the lookout for new ideas to write and comment on.
- You get better at writing. Anything you do every day you get better at. You are better at brushing your teeth than you are at building a tree house because you brush your teeth every day.
- You become a faster writer because you write every day.
- You write more good stuff. Of course you write more bad stuff too, but since you write every day, only a small percentage of what you write has to be great in order for you to produce a lot of great writing over a year.
- You gain more confidence in yourself as a writer because it becomes a part of your core identity.
- You become more forceful and persuasive as a speaker, trainer and guru because ideas that come out of your mouth have already been refined through the process of writing them down.
- You gain more respect from people because they get used to reading your words and ideas, whether it be in the form of books, newsletters, blogs, articles, or tweets, if people read you regularly, they are likely to respect you more. Even in the age of Twitter and Facebook updates, most people in the world don’t really believe that more than a handful of people ever read their ideas on a regular basis. When people read you regularly and they know that you aren’t reading them regularly (not because you won’t read their email but because they aren’t writing regularly) then your relationship with them is one where you are held in high esteem.
- Your knowledge of a subject matter gets deeper on a subject if you write about it every day. There is simply no way you can write about a subject day in and day out for years and not become a genuine expert on it.
Reality check—Problem #1 “But TJ. How in the world am I going to find ideas to write about 5 days a week? That’s impossible! Everyone gets writer’s block, don’t they?”
Nonsense. If you give yourself a deadline of writing one idea a day, you will do it. If you write only under the ideal circumstances and when a bolt of creativity motivates you, then you will never write. My recommendation is not to focus on writing anything as specific as 1200 words a day, or an entire book in 60 days. Instead, I recommend focusing on writing one interesting idea or analysis a day. For me, that might be 1200 words, or it might be just a few sentences. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you create a pipeline of ideas flowing from your brain to your paper or computer screen. If you keep a running log of possible topics to write on and you force yourself to write at a specific time and you prevent yourself from stopping until you are done, then you will get the job done and writers block will not affect you.
Reality Check—Problem #2 “TJ, how am I going to find the time to write every day? It’s impossible! I’m already booked with out of town consulting gigs all month long.”
Baloney. There’s always time for anything important. I’m often very busy myself, but I can honestly tell you that I have never been so busy that I’ve forgotten or failed to have lunch, ever. Why? Because I get hungry and lunch is important to me. If writing every day becomes important to you, then you will find a way to squeeze it in. Sometimes I squeeze it in as I am in the back of a limo racing from a speech to the airport. I might only write for 15 minutes but I finish one idea, preferably either one-blog commentary on a topical speaking issue of the day or one segment for a new book or both, but I get it done. Sure there are times when I don’t want to write. There are times when I am too tired to write. But I write anyway. Oftentimes the stuff that comes out then is what resonates best with my clients and customers.
Finally, figure out what is the best rhythm for you when it comes to writing. For some, first thing in the morning is best. Others like to write late at night. It really doesn’t matter when as long as you do it. I used to write 7 days a week. Now I prefer to write Monday through Friday and take the weekends off to relax and let my mind wander in a wider fashion. And I think that I am less susceptible to burnout by giving myself the weekend off, but figure out what is best for you and try to come up with a plan, whether it is time specific or outcome specific to write every day.
Daily writing, even if you never publish to an audience wider than a few hundred clients and followers, will bring extreme credibility to you over time, in the long run. If you write on a subject matter every day for 5 to 10 years, then you, your employees, colleagues, family, friends, associates, and even customers, clients, colleagues, prospects and fans will perceive you as a genuine expert.
Do not wait another day to start writing on your passion. Start writing today!