When it comes to being a web writer or content marketer, there are two skills that have to be mastered or you will fail miserably: discipline and consistency. While many may believe these two skills are one in the same, they are actually different sides of the same coin. How does one gain the necessary discipline and consistency to be a successful writer or marketer online? The answer lies in the work habits of the writer and poet Maya Angelou.
A Consistently Disciplined Writer
In his book Daily Rituals, Mason Currey features a 1983 interview of Maya Angelou discussing her writing habits:
I usually get up at about 5:30, and I’m ready to have coffee by 6, usually with my husband. He goes off to his work around 6:30, and I go off to mine. I keep a hotel room in which I do my work – a tiny, mean room with just a bed, and sometimes, if I can find it, a face basin. I keep a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards and a bottle of sherry in the room. I try to get there around 7, and I work until 2 in the afternoon. If the work is going badly, I stay until 12:30. If it’s going well, I’ll stay as long as it’s going well. It’s lonely, and it’s marvelous. I edit while I’m working. When I come home at 2, I read over what I’ve written that day, and then try to put it out of my mind. I shower, prepare dinner, so that when my husband comes home, I’m not totally absorbed in my work. We have a semblance of a normal life. We have a drink together and have dinner. Maybe after dinner I’ll read to him what I’ve written that day. He doesn’t comment. I don’t invite comments from anyone but my editor, but hearing it aloud is good. Sometimes I hear the dissonance; then I try to straighten it out in the morning.
So, for seven hours every day, Maya Angelou would write. And if the writing was going badly, she wrote for five and a half hours. She was consistent in her effort and disciplined with the time she spent writing, even if it was going badly. There is a reason she was as prolific an artist as she was and talent was only part of the equation.
What You Can Learn As A Writer
Aspiring writers routinely ask how often should they be writing to become better at their craft. As evidenced by the writing habits of Maya Angelou, if you are serious about writing and making a living as a writer, than it is important that you write daily. The consistency of writing daily frees you from writers’ block and even your own bad writing. There is no pressure to produce a masterpiece every time you sit down to write, because you know that the day’s writing is just another day’s work in a long line of days to come. Your good writing becomes a habit, not out of inspiration, but out of the consistency of your efforts. Also, if you believe in Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule, writing daily will allow you to create the expertise needed to be a successful writer and to become a recognized authority in your field.
Street art of Maya Angelou in Montreal
What You Can Learn As A Content Marketer
Content marketing is a long game. It is not a marketing method you use if you’re looking for quick results. It takes time for search engines to pick up your new content and time to build an engaged social media following. If you want to succeed with content marketing you have to be disciplined in your planning and consistent in your execution. If you lack either of these two skills, your content marketing efforts will not produce the results you want. Content marketing works, but only if you are as dedicated in your actions as Maya Angelou was to her writing schedule.
If you want to learn how to be a better writer and content marketer check out Media Shower’s Content Marketing Academy. It has all the training, insights and tips you need to become better at your craft.