I did  a series of individual goal-setting with each of the NewVoiceMedia Scrum Masters last month.  Whilst it isn’t quite the same as the holy seal of the confessional, they are still personal & private, so I can’t share them.

Yet I learned so much!

There were common themes, and several things came up in every session.

As I said, I learned so much….. I was reminded of some related threads of other conversations I’d had during last year.

So rather than write about what I heard, I thought I would write about something I learned, and really want to share.

When seen from the outside…

I always feel honoured & humbled when I meet someone who says “I read your blog”.  I confess too, that I am often slightly surprised: in the whole sea of the internet, it was my message in a bottle that washed up at their feet.

If you are reading this and you don’t write at all, let me tell you:  this is exactly how it feels each week.  You sit down, carefully write your blog post ‘note’, then you stuff it in a metaphorical plastic bottle and throw it into the internet ocean.

This isn’t a problem, if like me you write because you love to do so.  If you are looking for fame and glory….well, there are probably easier ways to be honest.

The thing is, in about 50% of the conversations that open with ‘I read your blog…’ they move on to ‘I want to write a blog too’.

I have momentary euphoria – I am genuinely delighted that I have found a kindred spirit!  More than that, I have (in some small way) inspired them.  How cool is that?

It is momentary euphoria though, because I know the truth, and usually I can not speak it.

The truth is that writing a blog post is easy*.  Really easy.

Writing multiple blog posts anywhere near regularly is really, really hard.  It takes a level of discipline every newbie (including myself at the time) underestimates.

But it looks easy, because writing a single post is easy, and a blog is just many single posts, right?

A slightly different view of the same problem

At an event last year I had the most wonderful conversations.  One in particular was with a man who mentioned he wanted to write a book.  He’d had this idea for quite a while, but hadn’t quite found the time to do it.  As we talked, it became clear that he hadn’t recognised the real problem with getting his authorship dreams to reality.

Since he had asked, I offered my solution: discipline.

Hard-core habit forming, if possible, stacked with an already concrete habit he already did (like breathing 😉 ).

It’s quite simple: the way to write is to do it.  Either in a huge block of enforced solitude, or (as is my practice) regular nibbles over and over until it is done.

It is simple.

But it is NOT easy.

He was….underwhelmed I think.  He had thought it was time, which is easier to solve (or blame) than the reality. He may still think I am wrong. It’s certainly possible.

Writing a book looks easy too, because you have an idea, and if you find writing is easy, a book just needs more time to write, right?

To Sum Up

What looks easy from the outside, may be much harder than you imagine.

But as we can be wrong about how easy something is, we can also be wrong about how hard something is too.

What looks insurmountable from the outside may be no more than a trick of the light, and much easier than you imagine.

So what is the truth?  How can you know if you are too fearful, or too optimistic?

  1. Talk to someone who has done it already.
  2. Then talk to someone else who has done it already.
  3. Get as many data points as you can, because the more stories you have, the easier it will be to find similarities.
  4. Now experiment.  Try and do it for yourself.  Reflect often and see what you can learn.
  5. Apply what you learn to help you be better next time.
  6. Repeat.

This is called learning 😉  (And this agile thing isn’t only good for software development you know!)

Good luck, and make sure to celebrate as you go…its far too easy to forget how far you have come.


P.S. If you are interested in what lots of other writers did to climb their particular mountains, try this book by Mason Currey.

* Pressing ‘Publish’ on that first post is hard, but that’s a different thing 😉