Write regularly – even if no one is reading

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I was talking the other day to friends who recently noticed I’d started this blog (even as I’ve started writing again at ChrisLema.com).  They asked how this blog was doing. Was I getting a lot of traffic? Did I have a way to monetize it?

The underlying assumption, I think, is that it’s worth putting effort into writing consistently if you’re building an audience, figuring out how to monetize things, or doing something else with an end game.

I get those assumptions. They’re even good ones. If you’re building an audience, monetizing a site, selling something, or even building a brand, writing regularly can be really useful and powerful.

But I don’t write for those reasons. I have two reasons I write regularly here. And both serve my purposes just fine – even if my traffic remains low and no one ever buys anything.

First, I write regularly because it helps me stay clear on what’s important to me. When it comes to leadership, all I have to do is browse this site and I can tell you what I stand for, what I’m willing to fight about, what I think is important, etc. Sometimes I don’t even know the full extent of what I’m going to write before I sit down and do it. I just know that the discipline of doing it will pay off in the long run – either allowing me to grow over time and change my mind on things, or showing me the things that never changed for me. So the reason is clarity for me.

The second reason I write is because at some point someone else may want to know what I think about things. When I hire people who are going to work for me, I recommend they read the books that I’ve written. Not because I want to sell books. But because it helps them know what I think about things. And how I work. And why I do what I do. The same is true for the articles here. They tell the story to someone else about how I think and how I work. And it can help them learn to navigate in the contexts I create. So the reason is clarity for you.

Both reasons are useful. Neither pays off quickly. So I guess there is a third reason to do it.

It teaches me the discipline of doing things that have a prolonged and delayed payoff. And sometimes it’s a perfect parable for leadership. I invest in people in the near term even if I don’t see the results for a while. But I’ve learned the patience that’s required for leadership. And when I write here I stretch those muscles.

And it’s for those reasons that I would tell you that you should do it too.

  • Clarity for me
  • Clarity for you
  • Patience

There could be worse reasons for doing something. So write regularly. Even if no one will read it today.

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