This article was originally published in the DEV Community.
Last week I got the 16 Week Streak badge 🥳
This is the longest I've been writing consistently. I'm sure that I couldn't have done it if it wasn't for this beautiful community.
I'm beyond grateful.
And to celebrate that here's my 16-week review. Today I'll be looking back to early June and sharing everything I've learned since then. Stick around if you struggle with consistency, some of my learnings might be useful.
Let's start from the beginning:
Why I started writing #
I'll be honest you here, I began writing for pretty selfish reasons.
See, I'm a front-end developer, I've been doing it for quite a while now and I love it. But, simply put, I don't feel like doing it full-time for the rest of my life.
I look forward to another decade or so of slinging divs and pushing pixels. After that, I want to quit the grind and be an educator much like Wes Bos, Kent C. Dodds, and so many others.
So yeah, I started writing here because I need to build an audience. This was another step in my career plan. But something interesting happened during these four months...
The more I kept publishing the more I realized that my work was actually helping quite a lot of people. And that felt very, very rewarding. Which in turn gave me even more strength to keep doing it.
So, for the first time in my career, I feel that I'm truly giving back to the community that helped me so much. And that's a very powerful feeling.
What I learned and how I kept writing #
One thing that kept me here in the past few months is that DEV became a safe haven for me during this pandemic.
Instead of obsessing about how crappy this year has been, I could stick around and have pleasant conversations with the community. Writing stuff and engaging in the comments became some kind of therapy.
But hey, I have better advice than this personal anecdote!
Here are some consistency tips:
1. Have a clear writing goal #
To be consistent you must first be aware of what consistency means for you. You have to have a clear goal in mind. My goal to publish an article every week, as long as I'm doing it I pass the consistency check.
One thing that helps is to have a somewhat flexible goal though. No matter how much you prepare, sometimes life happens so it is better to have some leeway.
For instance, my goal is to publish an article every Wednesday. I'm okay with publishing it Thursday or Friday if something happens. But Friday 11:59 PM is my absolute deadline.
2. Use your idle time to think about your content #
Ideas need some time to ferment.
Using your free time to actively think about your content makes it easier to put it down when the time comes. Try to come up with core ideas first and let them bounce inside your head for a couple of days.
But don't push yourself too hard! You can do it whenever your mind is wandering, like when you're doing the dishes or taking a shower. You'll see how much easier is to write down a concept after you allowed it to mature.
3. Be ok with publishing imperfect work #
There are weeks where I write excellent work and feel like a genius. Some other weeks I can't write anything that I'm happy with. In both cases, I publish what I wrote.
See, the single most important thing you need to do keep consistency is… to be consistent!
I know that this sounds obvious but you must keep momentum. It is much harder to go back to writing after you stopped, even if it was for a week only. So keep in mind that publishing imperfect is bad, but breaking your streak is much, much worse.
4. Engage with the community #
Writing for the sake of writing will only get you so far.
Having a genuine interest in your reader makes the writing experience more satisfactory. Finding fun in the comments in one more incentive to keep you writing every week.
And here are some more general tips:
5. What seems obvious to you can be outstanding to beginners #
I started my neat little tricks series focused on code newbies and I find great joy writing for that audience. And as long as there are beginners, there will be opportunities to teach, share, and learn.
6. Don't be put off by other peoples' work #
Another good thing to keep in mind is that even if there are a million articles about a certain subject, you should still write yours.
But make it truly yours, let your personality shine and write it in a way that no one else could.
7. Try not taking yourself too seriously #
One funny thing about this writing experience is that my most viewed articles are the ones I had the most fun writing.
Programming is a hard subject and adding a little bit of playfulness can make your content easier to digest.
What do I expect for week 32 #
Well, I'll still be around here writing, I'm sure about that.
Hopefully, in the next four months, my reach will increase even faster, so I'll be able to help more people. That's something I look forward too.
I also want to write more creative articles like "VS Code shortcuts that I would teach myself if I had a time machine with limited fuel". I had a blast writing this one and was very much surprised by how well it performed.
I'm not sure if I have the time for writing more than one article a week. But that definitely something that I look up to.
And I'll keep working on the "Extremely reusable components" and "Neat little tricks" series" as there's still quite a lot of good content to squeeze there!
But if 2020 has taught us something is that everything might change, so who knows? 😄
Thanks for reading! And thanks for skimming if you just scrolled around a little bit. That's ok, we all do that.
I hope that my learnings serve you well on your journey toward consistent writing. Leave a comment if you need any help with it, I'm far from an expert but I can help. We're all in the same boat here.
Hey, let's connect 👋 #
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And if you really liked it, make sure to share it with your friends, that'll help me a lot 😄