Don’t do what 90% of my writer friends from 2014 have done.
Do you know why I talk so frequently about consistency and put so much effort into being consistent at showing up online?
I had a beautiful chance to achieve what I currently have in 2014.
I started writing every day on Quora in my final year of undergrad. There was a time when I used to get 100 new followers each day, and every answer of mine inevitably crossed 100 upvotes. I was named a Top Writer among a handful of people from India when I was 22 years old.
But that was also the time I’d just graduated college and was looking for a job. I didn’t believe in myself enough that I’d turn my writing on Quora into a career. If I tried hard enough, I could have done it.
But I didn’t have the bandwidth to do it at that moment, and I let my Quora momentum slip away.
From 35+ answers a month, I went to writing 1 answer a week.
This impacted my reach severely.
For someone who’s used to thousands of views in an instant, you can imagine how demotivating it would be to see 40 views on her answers after 24 hours of publishing.
I lost interest in Quora as Quora lost interest in me.
And as I slipped back into the “real” world of shitty salaries and overworked research scholars, my prospects in the world of online writing dipped.
I was well on the way to doing the same mistake 90% of my writer friends from 2014 did- Letting all the traction go and slipping back into a software job or being a family person.
But I kept writing 1–2 answers weekly, which saved me.
It kept the fire for writing alive in my heart. Soon, I found other platforms like LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, and YouTube, and have grown my audience there.
I now have a robust following across several writing platforms, but that golden traction on Quora is gone. Since 2016, I’ve tried multiple times to gain the kind of traction and loyal love on Quora, but I couldn’t persist for long enough to keep going at it.
And that’s why, no matter how much my stats dip or how busy I get in real life, I will never stop posting my content online. I might take a sabbatical from a platform for a few days, but I’ll never truly “go away.”
And so, I tell this to every writer I meet: don’t give up.
Be consistent for two years, and your life will change so much, that you wouldn’t even recognize yourself. This post is about how consistency can be your superpower in your journey as a creator and how to harness the full potential of this underrated tool in your arsenal.
Your Speed Increases Manifold
Earlier, one article used to take me 5–6 hours to write — right from planning, outlining, and researching to finally publishing it.
With time, I noticed my time improved a lot. Now, I can complete an article in 45 mins to 1 hour.
Several factors contributed to this growth, including:
- I now draw more from personal experience and interviews rather than researching the full article.
- The power of compounding is real. You write every day, and there’s no way you won’t become an excellent writer.
- Small tasks like link insertion, sentence formation, etc., which used to take up a lot of time before, now feel easier and more intuitive. You don’t have to think hard before typing in each new sentence.
These might sound like minor improvements, but compounded over a few years, these can turn out to be genuinely life-changing.
Every Article Can be a Data Point
Whether an article gets 500k views or 5, it tells you a story: a story of what your audience likes and what they don’t want to read more of.
You can use these stories to sculpt a picture of your ideal target audience. Then, you can tailor your next posts to answer their burning questions and solve a problem that keeps them awake at 2 AM.
This is how you build a community.
This is how you carve a niche for yourself, aka, build a personal brand.
“Every article you publish is a data point. Your readers talk to you through likes, comments, and views. Listen. Use this data to your advantage.”
How to be Consistent When You Can’t be Consistent
I’ve been consistent with my workouts, but there are inevitable breaks owing to lifestyle changes, sickness, or work stress.
The hardest part about being consistent is getting back to the grind after a break. Here are some things that make getting back easier:
- I start small and focus on the immediate rather than the ultimate. For example, I think, “Let’s work out today,” and not “I’ll work out every single day.”
- Before getting out of bed, I visualize my day and imagine myself exercising.
- I don’t set any expectations on my body. I don’t pressure myself that I have to do a particular form of exercise f I don’t feel like it. I allow my body any movements that feel good and come intuitively to me.
- Lastly, I let myself enjoy the motions of working out. I revel in the stretches and imagine how good it must be for my body. I take pleasure rather than focusing on how difficult it is.
When you break it down to the basics, it all comes down to three things — starting small, not putting too much pressure on yourself, and enjoying the process rather than being fixated on the outcome.
Whether it’s writing, marketing, or working out: no matter what habit you’re trying to build consistency in, these principles will help.