“I don't ever try to make a song better than my last song. I just try to make it different from my last one.” – Fetty Wap, Born Jun. 7, 1990.
This one hit me like a ton of bricks, y'all. Or like a ton of feathers. Heavy either way.
You're probably pretty talented.
You're probably pretty creative, too.
And if you make a thing that you like, and also other people like it, you'll feel obligated to give them more.
But you will have the ERRONEOUS AND TORTUROUS urge to try and outdo yourself. You'll try and be better and bigger and wider and more-er that before.
And MAYBE you are just that fucking dope that you manage to outdo yourself once. No sophomore slump for you. Maybe you are godlike enough to outdo yourself TWICE.
But that plane is gonna crash into the side of the mountain, Icarus.
Take it from a lazy jaded man who finally found success slowly… After burning out several times in a series of intense attempts to impress people with how clever and talented I am. Spoiler alert: I'm just not that much of either.
So, take it from me:
You DO NOT have to outdo yourself.
Be prolific – but just try to be different and interesting. DO NOT worry about being “better”. Because here is the trick…
Being prolific takes care of the improvement all on its own. Over time, practice leads to proficiency.
But if you are wise and try something different with each attempt, you will both IMPROVE as well as cover a lot of NEW GROUND subject-wise.
And variety is key if you're trying to build an audience. And more importantly, variety is vital if you want to keep your existing audience tuned in for the long term.
So in summary – strive to show up often and be different each time. Being better each time will take care of itself.
<!—- lagniappe So in brief, the way to get better at writing is to practice often, with the specific goal of improving. For us, that means publishing and interacting with the audience who reads us. Do that every day (or close to it) for a year, and I guarantee readers will be telling you what a good writer you’ve become. All that is great. But how do you write that much, that often, and not just say the same stuff over and over? How can you make sure you’re being different enough from piece to piece to not bore anyone? Here’s what you do. First, make a list of all the different kinds of people you intend to talk to. For me, it’s writers, business owners, marketers, and people who do something else now but want to do one of those other things soon. Then, make a list of the broad categories of topics you think those people are interested in, and can use. A category is anything where you could write more than one post/message about the topic. Note, you don’t have to be definitive now, and you don’t have to complete this step before continuing. This is an open list. Add a few things now, and then come back and add more as you think of them. Next, make a list of topic ideas. Write only enough to capture the main idea. These can come from anywhere. Keep it handy, like on your phone. Always be adding to it. Any time you need an idea, come dig through your list. You will have more ideas on this list than you can ever use. Add like, 10 a day, even if they aren’t all great. Finally, make a list of places or sites or whatever that you can look to for inspiration. I like reading quotations, for example. I also like looking at art. I have folders of bookmarks and whole websites I can browse for sparks of ideas. Now, here is how you use the above personal tools to create a new fresh idea to write about every day (or however often you want). 1. Pick a reader. Just one. That’s the main presumed audience. 2. Pick a category. Don’t use the same one you used yesterday. 3. Pick a topic and figure out how to address that topic from the POV of your reader, and the category chosen. 4. Pick a second topic and try to combine/compare/contrast the two if possible, just for a little extra twist. Even if you don’t come up with one, it’s good thinking exercise to try. That’s it. Build your own little idea and inspiration swipe file, and a list of targets to aim at. Change it up, practice often, and you’ll get better at the same time that you’re growing your audience. Et voila! —->