I used to plan my content weekly — as in, one blog post per week. I didn’t think I had enough ideas to be a daily writer. I didn’t think I could post anything interesting enough to be relevant on a daily basis.
And then I realized that I was already posting things on a daily basis on my Facebook page about trauma, relationships, gender, sexuality, activism, writing, and more… and it wouldn’t actually be that hard to polish my daily thoughts into a longer post. I decided to make November the month that I publish daily on Medium, and I wrote every day for a month.
I didn’t think I had enough ideas to be a daily writer.
Here’s what I learned
The topics that are easy to write and have the most meaningful message are the topics that are so close to my journey.
- Curation is a map to your best content. I used to be so pleased that my once-a-week stories would be curated now and then. But when I started writing consistently, curation became a tool that helped me see which of my stories Medium editors liked better and would help promote for me. I published 30 stories in November, and 14 were curated.
- Write what you know. Most commonly, my stories about eating disorder recovery, relationships/sexuality, and trauma/abuse recovery were curated. It makes sense, because I talk about those topics a lot in my daily life and spend time every day processing and healing. That passion shines through in my writing and makes it relatable. I can write about any topic, but the topics that are easy to write and have the most meaningful message are these topics that are so close to my journey.
- Not every curation will make sense. There are some stories I wrote that I were sure would be curated, and they weren’t. And sometimes I would just write up a quick post to have something published that day, hit post, and it got curated. I don’t make the rules, I just write here! (Under-appreciated posts in my opinion: Autism is my Secret Workplace Superpower, What Dave Ramsey Gets Wrong, and How Elton John’s “Rocketman” Helped Me Process Trauma on the Big Screen).
- Inspiration is not finite. The reason I was skeptical of writing daily was because I thought I would run out of ideas. But the thing about being a creative person, whether you are a writer or an artist or anything else, is that inspiration is everywhere. On my drive to visit my sister over the weekend, I recorded a voice memo on my phone to capture an inspirational moment of sunlight hitting the rain on my windshield. “The way the sun hits the raindrops on my windshield makes the water look like diamonds. And I think that you would love this. You would love the tiny poetry running down the windshield. And I wish that I could share more quiet moments next to you, watching diamonds rain.” Inspiration is all around us if we have our eyes open. Poetry and prose are wrapped around the little things that happen every day. When you see something beautiful and wish you could share it with someone from your life, that’s a love poem in real life.
- You own what happened to you. My ex husband tried to put a gag order in our divorce so I couldn’t talk or write about our marriage. He also threatened to sue me for libel because I said he was abusive. To quote Anne Lamott, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” I do write very warmly about people in my life who I appreciate. Several of the people referenced in Life Lessons I Learned from Kissing are people I regularly see in person. You can tell your stories — you don’t have to hide the truth for other people’s benefit.
- You can write about the same thing multiple times. I can discuss my emotionally abusive upbringing every day for 30 days and never tell the same exact story. It’s okay to share similar ideas multiple times, like I did with a few posts about recovering from disordered eating. Sure, they were all about diet and ED, but each piece was unique.
- The more you write (and get curated), the more your audience grows. I have found claps and earnings recently on posts that I wrote earlier in the month (or in previous months) and realized that my audience was growing and people were reading my older stories after finding me on something Medium had curated or accepted to a publication. It is important to Future Caitlin that Past Caitlin wrote every day to establish this great list of content that new followers can read and enjoy too.
- Write for the love of writing. So corny, I know. But I do my best writing when I do it for love and joy and healing. When I write about trauma, I am hoping that my words can bring peace to someone else through the sharing of my story. Writing those pieces feels more authentic to me than writing about any old topic.
How to write every day
Be flexible. The plan is not written in stone. It’s written in Google.
- Make a content calendar. I made a Google Sheet with the following column headers: Date, topic, curated, publication, link. It was easy to fill up 30 ideas for my first month, and I even have the next 31 for December planned. Every time I have a new idea for a story, I write it down as a topic with the next available date. I’m into January now.
- Be flexible. The plan is not written in stone. It’s written in Google, so I can always change it. For instance, I was chatting with friends early in November about canceling a date and realizing I don’t like dating as much in the fall. Thus, The Seasonal Nature of Desire was born — and curated. Go figure. I also planned to write a different topic on Thanksgiving, but I was feeling my estranged daughter feelings and chose to write about that instead.
- Schedule time to write. I make it a point to write for a minimum ten minutes per day. It usually ends up being an hour or two. One weekend a month I like to schedule several hours dedicated to writing and getting ahead on stories.
- You can write in advance. I write when my brain is ready to write. For me, it’s way less stressful to sit down and schedule a week’s worth of stories in one go if I can, vs. writing one per day. I can’t always guarantee I’ll be in a place to write after a long day at work.
- Just focus on one thing. This is so hard for me, but besides my Medium stories, I am only focusing on one writing project right now. It’s okay if daily Medium posts ARE YOUR ONE THING. But at the very most, you should only do one *other* writing thing. My other ideas go into a list for later.
Continuing the practice
I enjoyed writing on Medium every day in November. I was worried it would feel like a chore, or one more thing to add to my to-do list, but it was very freeing. I will continue to write daily and encourage you to do the same if you are a writer who feels scared of writing every day. Even if you don’t publish every day, a daily writing practice helps you keep your creative conduits open to new inspiration and ideas.
You might catch yourself writing a quick note about how a dandelion growing in the crack of a sidewalk makes you feel appreciative of your resilience. You will find a way forward, even when everything feels immovable.