I don’t go to the gym.
I could. There’s a gym right here in my town. I’d like to be stronger, faster, and more badass. But I don’t go to the gym, and the reason has nothing to do with my not wanting to get all of the benefits of a good workout.
It has to do with the fact that when I want results, I want them now.
I want to go to the gym just one time and walk out with muscles I didn’t have when I went in.
Now, everyone knows you don’t achieve your physical peak in just one gym session. Yet I keep noticing bloggers out there who seem to believe that they can achieve writing prowess in just one blog post.
That’s just as silly as me expecting to be able to do 50 pull-ups on my first trip to the gym.
Your brain is like a muscle
Your brain is not actually a muscle, so don’t put any bets down on your trivia skills at the local bar. But your brain acts like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.
This is how you learn a language, for example. The first time you learn that “Bonjour” means “Hello” in French, you have to think about it pretty hard whenever someone asks you the question. But if you move to Quebec and hang out with me awhile, you’ll find yourself soon saying “bonjour” automatically when you walk into stores.
Your brain doesn’t have to think about it anymore. It’s walked down that neural pathway often enough that saying “bonjour” becomes an automatic response.
When you write a blog post, your first posts might take a lot of effort. You’re going to work hard to remember how to craft a good story, or pause to wonder whether you just made a common grammatical error, or remind yourself to break things up and use bullet points so people can read more easily.
After a few years of blogging, you don’t think about that stuff anymore. It happens naturally. That part of your brain becomes so strong that it doesn’t feel like work.
How to make your blogging muscles stronger
If you want to be stronger, faster, or in better physical shape, you go to the gym often. Maybe every day.
If you want to be a stronger blogger, a faster writer, or in better shape to whip up posts that people want to read, write a blog post every day.
Even if you only post once a week on your blog, put in the time to write every day. Otherwise, you’ll never make your blogging muscles any stronger. If you only lifted weights once a week, how long do you think it would take you to turn yourself into an Ironman?
The more frequently you write, the faster you’ll improve, and the stronger you’ll get.
Here are a few tips to get stronger in even less time.
- Switch it up. Trainers and fitness magazines say to work different muscles on different days, because muscles need to rest. The same goes for blogging. Try writing about a different topic every other day, or testing new approaches three times a week. You don’t have to post those topics — you just have to write them. You’ll still be working your writing muscles, but you won’t exhaust yourself writing the same type of content every day.
- Make every repetition count. A lot of people go to the gym and sort of sleepwalk through their routine. They’re doing each motion, but they’re not working that hard. They don’t notice when they could move up a weight bracket to get more results. When you blog, don’t just toss off a post in 20 minutes without thinking about it. Make every single post count. You’ll write faster when you’re stronger, but right now, slow down and make sure the post you’re working on is the best it can be.
- Increase your difficulty. Speaking of moving up a weight bracket, don’t stick to posts about simple topics. If you feel like you’ve exhausted your current knowledge about your favorite topic, go out and do some research on more complex areas of that topic. Work to make your writing even better and more compelling. Push yourself. Don’t stick around lifting 5-pound weights when you could be lifting 50s. You’re never going to get stronger if you stay in your comfort zone.
Above all else, put in the work. Plenty of people think they can run a marathon. They sign up, they undertrain, and when the big day rolls around, they can’t do even a fraction of the run.
The blogging equivalent of that is when a blogger pitches a big blog for a guest post, but can’t deliver anything like the caliber of writing that blog demands.
So put in the training. You’ll get stronger, faster, and better — and before you know it, you’ll be at the front of the pack with the big shots.
About the Author: If you’re looking for more training advice on your blogging, head on over to Men with Pens, where James Chartrand gives you a writing gym packed with equipment to work those muscles.