In November of 2020, I had a big problem.
We were in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I didn't have a health problem. My family and myself, we were all healthy. Professionally, the company I worked at was thriving and innovating in response to the pandemic. I didn't have a career problem. Things were going great professionally.
I had a different kind of problem.
I had a writing problem.
I had a three year old blog that only had ten posts. I was a painfully slow, methodical, and undisciplined writer. My specialty was long, meandering blog posts that no one ever read. I was writing into the void at an exceptionally slow pace. I had no idea if anyone was the slightest bit interested in what I was writing about. I had no feedback loop.
Not a good place to be as a writer. Not at all. Like I said ... I had a writing problem.
I was stuck as a writer. I needed help.
Sometimes in life, you get lucky. Sometimes an answer appears exactly when you need it. Sometimes the right person arrives in your life at the right time.
The answer to my writing problem appeared in the form of a Tweet. A Tweet from someone I had recently started following on Twitter. His name was Dickie Bush and he was starting a 30 day "Atomic Essay" writing challenge called Ship 30 for 30. Participants in this challenge were to write and ship a 200-word essay every day for 30 days.
It sounded like just what the doctor ordered to solve my writing problem.
However, I was also extremely intimidated by the idea of writing every single day. I had never done that before. I only wrote when the spirit moved me. How on earth would I think of something to write every day? How would I find the time to write daily? My resistance was coming up with every reason it could for me not to sign up.
Fortunately, I pushed through the resistance. I signed up for what turned out to be the first cohort of the Ship 30 for 30 Challenge.
And it worked! I became a disciplined writer. It worked so well I signed up again, and again...and again. I participated in four cohorts of Ship 30 for 30.
My writing problem was solved!
Here are 5 ways Ship 30 for 30 solved my writing problem.
Ship 30 for 30 Changed Me From Someone Who Writes Into a Writer
There is a big difference. Before Ship 30 for 30 I wrote, but I was by no stretch of the imagination a writer.
- A writer is intentional.
- A writer is consistent.
- A writer writes even when they don’t “feel” like it.
The author James Clear tells us: "Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to become."
Taking the action of writing an essay every day for 30 days casts a lot of votes for you to become a writer.
Ship 30 for 30 Opened Doors of Creativity I Never Knew I Had Within Me
Before Ship 30 for 30, I thought I had to be inspired to write. But being part of Ship 30 for 30 taught me a very valuable lesson...
A writer doesn't wait for inspiration to magically appear. A writer invokes inspiration through writing.
At first, my atomic essays were pretty "blah." I wrote about things I knew in a very matter of fact way. But over time, the habit of daily writing helped me tap into stores of creativity I never knew existed within me.
It helped me connect dots in new and unique ways. My writing slowly but surely became more creative. And the more I wrote, the more ideas I had for things to write about.
Ship 30 for 30 Gave Me a Content Library
Four months of heads-down, prolific writing gave me an incredible gift: a content library.
I am going to tell you, there is nothing as powerful for a creator as a content library. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Four cohorts of Ship 30 for 30 left me with 120 essays. Those essays have turned into Twitter threads, Newsletters, blog posts, LinkedIn articles, Medium stories, and most importantly an e-book (more on that later).
This content library is a powerful tool. It allows me to continue to provide value to my audience. It helps me to establish trust and authority.
Ship 30 for 30 Gave Me a Framework for Successful Digital Writing
When I look back on the blog posts I wrote before Ship 30 for 30, trust me, it isn't pretty.
My writing was dense, slow moving, hard to read, and frankly, boring. In Ship 30 I was taught the frameworks and tactics for writing in a way that digital consumers want to read. It learned how to write better headlines. How to break up my writing to make it easier to consume. How to write with less friction.
The crew at Ship 30 for 30 have a ton of experience of how to succeed at online writing. It has helped me to become a more successful online writer.
Ship 30 for 30 Helped Me Become Part of a Writing Community
One of the greatest gifts Ship 30 for 30 gave me was one I honestly wasn't even expecting going into the experience.
A Community of Fellow Writers (otherwise known as friends).
Ship 30 is one of the most engaged and friendly communities I have ever been a part of. Dickie and crew have done an incredible job creating a supportive community of writers. I community that I am proud to be a part of. I have made so many incredible friends through my Ship 30 experience.
To quote James Clear once more: "One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal behavior." When you join Ship 30 for 30, you join a powerful culture where daily writing and shipping is the norm.
Ship 30 for 30 Helped Me Find My Niche and Create an Actual Product
Ship 30 helped me to find my niche and online mission: Help as many IT Professionals succeed in their tech careers as I possibly can.
Thanks to Ship 30 for 30 I have created a product that allows me to give back to the tech community and fulfill this mission. It's an e-book called The IT Leadership Blueprint.
It's foundation is the 30 Atomic Essays I wrote in my first cohort of Ship 30 for 30. Before Ship 30, my online presence was meandering and unfocused. Now, I have a niche that I can provide value to. Ship 30 for 30 has helped me to "productize" myself digitally and share my 20+ years of experience in tech with other IT Professionals, at scale.
If you are in IT and interested in seeing what Ship 30 for 30 helped me create, you can check it out here: The IT Leadership Blueprint.
So, if you are anything like I was. If you want to become an online writer. Or, if you are having writing problems of your own. I recommend you do what I did...
Jump aboard Ship 30 for 30 and don't look back.
Set sail for the beautiful open waters of successful online writing (whatever your definition of success might be).
If Michael's story resonated with you, click here to hop aboard the next Ship 30 for 30 cohort.