The Toughest Thing about Blogging (And Investing)

writing-difficulty

15 Feb The Toughest Thing about Blogging (And Investing)

Bigfatpurse.com has been around since 2007. To give you some perspective, 2007 was the year the original iPhone was launched. In 2007, Twitter was barely a year old and Instagram was not to be in existence until three years later in 2010.

As a blog, we have been around for a long time.

I started writing for Bfp in 2012. Alvin cornered me into it asked me nicely and I was hungry for fame and fortune eager to write and share hence I agreed.

When I first started I knew nuts about blogging and writing but I gave it a shot anyway. Other than a short period in 2013 where a career switch kept me away, I have been going at it for more than three years now.

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Rain or shine. An article a week.

For some bloggers, the hardest thing is in generating ideas. For others, it is in the language and the writing. For myself and I am sure I speak for many of my blogging peers as well, it is the consistency required.

The Toughest thing about Blogging is the Consistency.

Work takes me away often. The constant travel and irregular schedules takes a toil. There are times when I return from a long day at work and all I want is to take a brain dump and just remain motionless in bed for as long as possible.

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Then there is family and friends. There are gatherings and meetups, friends need help and a listening ear, the kids wanting a runabout to the playground. Life happens.

It is just so easy to relegate blogging to the last priority. The post can wait. Publishing the next day is fine. Or even the day after. It won’t hurt. Readers won’t know. #slipperyslope

We keep to a schedule 

At bigfatpurse, we publish twice a week. Once midweek and once during the weekends. Recently I have been told to publish on Mondays now because we discovered that more people visit us during working hours. (Face it – you are reading this at work now aren’t you?)

The schedule acts as the stopper. It keeps me from deflecting. It gives me the discipline. Failing to keep to the schedule would mean letting myself down. More crucially, it would mean letting the team down. It is unthinkable.

Many a times I had to will myself away from home, back to the office, away from the kids, no matter how tired I am, just to steal a few hours to complete a post that is due the next day.

Without the self (and boss) imposed schedule, it would have been impossible. The schedule is the lifesaver. It enforces consistency. It is the best thing that has ever happened. Without consistency, I would probably have written half the number of articles to date, maybe even less.

Consistency is key. Here are some tips that will help you become more consistent. In blogging and life in general.

Show up.

Sometime ago Lionel from Cheerfulegg wrote about how he was so close to failing his finals, but eventually made it through because candidates were graded on a bell curve and there were others in a worse off position. Knowing what a humblebrag brainy chap he is, he probably aced the exam effortlessly, but that’s a story for another day.

Nevertheless, therein lies an important message. Many people give themselves excuses. They put things off because it is easy to. They walk out of exam halls. They simply choose not to show up. They fail to understand that simply by showing up, already half the battle is won.

I will be lying if I say I never put things off. I am a world class proscrastinator. I keep putting off writing my articles until I can put it off no more.

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I lock myself away and start working on it. Pen to paper, fingers to keyboard. I stop giving myself excuses. I simply ‘show up’. That’s when the magic starts. Miraculously, the articles get completed every time I do. That is when consistency happens.

Timescale.

Consistency is about looking at a much longer horizon. Scott Young, another blogger that I follow, has this to say about consistency.

Consistency is about working on a larger timescale than weeks and months. A consistent person doesn’t care that their weight loss plan isn’t working after three weeks, or that their website isn’t earning six figures after three months. A consistent person looks at the longer time horizon, where the little hiccups of progress are smoothed out over the next years and decades.

It is very easy to blog a lot, in a very short period of time, but it is definitely not helpful for the author and the reader. To win over an audience takes time. Building a blog is a marathon, not a sprint.

Too many an excellent blogger have overlooked this aspect and after a while, have allowed their blog to go derelict. They eventually end up in blogosphere graveyard.

Only by adopting a much longer time horizon, by being willing to plug away at it for years, will you be able to achieve consistency.

Make things easy

Scott also had this to say about building consistency.

To do something for a day or a month, you need to put a lot of effort into it. To do something every day for a year, you need the opposite, you need to have the activity require less effort so it doesn’t exhaust you.

The lesser amount of effort you need to put in to carry out each activity, the greater level of consistency you will be able to achieve. Productivity experts recommend building habits rather than having to exercise your will power every time.

I believe the idea is the same, it is about making life easier to achieve the desired outcome.

Be accountable. 

We are a couple of months into 2016. Are you still faithfully sticking to your resolutions? If you need some help, turn to stickK. It is an interesting website that allows you to publish your resolution, assign a referee, and also set financial penalties should you fail to ‘stick’ to it. StickK. Geddit?

StickK understands that not many of us mere mortals can be fully accountable to ourselves all the time. According to the academics behind stickK, a referee increases your chance of success by up to 2x, while financial stakes bump it up another 3x.

For me, it is a simple story. I am accountable to the team for keeping to the schedule. I try my best not to let them down. That in itself is the biggest aid to consistency.

For you other bloggers out there, I really do not know how you guys keep at it. Hat tip hat tip. Got secret please share!

Consistency in blogging and investing 

I have taken an extremely roundabout route but I do hope that you realize by now that consistency is not only key to blogging success, it is crucial to investing success as well.

The issues a blogger and an investor face are similar in many aspects. For a blog to grow, consistency is the key. For an investor to be successful, he would need a huge dose of that as well. Yet it is always so easy for bloggers and investors to let up on being consistent and relegate both activities to the sidelines when more ‘important’ things crop up.

I hope the tips I shared today will let you see investing in a different light. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I repeat myself once more.

1. Show up – Stop thinking. Start doing. If you do not know where to start, I have two words for you. STI ETF. If you are more advanced, try these four letters – VIMC. Show up.
2. Timescale – Investing is a marathon and not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race. It is not how much money you make this month. It is how much you stand to make over the next thirty years. Unfortunately far and few retail investors think this way.
3. Sustainability – Make investing easy for yourself. The best strategy is not one that has made someone the most money. It is one that you are most able to follow.
4. Be accountable – Accountability is the cornerstone of investing professionals. Banks, houses, funds – any institution that takes money to invest. Retail investors could do well to adopt some of the best practices. The very most basic of which is to benchmark your returns. In that way you are accountable to yourself. Otherwise it is all too easy to be caught up and constantly hung up over your triumphs while conveniently forgetting your defeats.

Good luck on your investing journey!



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