You’re probably a reader of this blog because you work in, or want to work in, digital publishing.
There are dozens of sub categories in this space like blogger, video journalist, web designer, fashion photographer, that you’ll identify yourself with, but they all boil down to a few broad skills: you want to be a writer, or a film maker, or a designer, a photographer, an audio producer, or perhaps the publisher yourself (and if you’re a tortured soul like me, all of them!)
Here’s the best advice I can give you about succeeding in these areas, and it is very simple. Whatever it is you want to do, you must produce it and consume it every day.
Produce and consume
Stephen King’s popular book about the craft of writing On Writing makes this point very clearly:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”
Stephen King, On Writing
If you want to write, you must write every day and you must read every day. If you want to be a web designer you must design something every day and you must study good web design every day. If you want to be a film maker, you must find time to make films every day and watch films every day.
You don’t have to finish a film or a design a day, but you must devote a solid block of time to working on it.
Note there’s a difference between ‘simple’ and ‘easy’ and this isn’t easy. For many people, myself included, it involves getting up an hour or two before everyone else to put the work in before heading out to do the stuff that pays the bills. Or it means staying up late, or working on weekends (when I am writing this post, incidentally). It’s not easy. But it is simple.
There are things to help you. I recently started using 750words – a clever little platform which nudges you to write 750 words of something every day. It doesn’t matter what, it just has to be written.
If you have passion for your craft then this should come a little more easily. But even passionate people lose motivation and direction occasionally. These are the days where it is even more vital you keep producing and consuming. If you do it every day, even for just an hour, it becomes a habit (in other words: automatic). When you achieve this, your day won’t feel right until you’ve done your thing. Stephen King admits he writes 365 days a year – even on Christmas Day – and for him “not working is the real work.”
It doesn’t have to be for long, and it doesn’t even have to be productive or successful.
But it does have to be every day.