I recently submitted a guest post on a friend’s site, and he told me something I hadn’t heard in a long time: The article wasn’t good enough. It was quite a shock.
I started out (professionally) as a writer, while dabbling in web development. LifeDev grew exponentially in terms of readership and subscribers, and I found myself on places like the Digg, Delicious and Reddit homepages (back when the first two meant something), as well as other reputable news organizations. I had arrived as a writer—well, a blogger, at least—and it was a great feeling.
But as I grew my talents in design and development, my time spent writing took a nose dive. So much in the past year, in fact, that resurrecting this blog has become a top priority for 2013 (more info here).
When I started this blog, I was reading anything I could get my hands on about the writing process. As the years have gone on and I’d lost interest in the current format of the blog, my writing stagnated. I no longer needed to worry about honing my craft, but rather just pushing something out. (I’ll spare you the analogy I’m thinking of.)
It’s easy to forget how doing something on a regular basis (ie. practice) is vital to keeping your skills sharp. This is a classic case. I’d fallen to the trap of thinking writing was like riding a bike, you can always hop back on. The truth was I’d gotten rusty.
It would have been very easy for my friend to beat around the bush, fix the article himself, or make a myriad of excuses as to why he (rightly) wasn’t going to publish the article. But he gave it to me straight: The article wouldn’t cut the mustard for his site.
This was all the motivation I needed. Time to shake the rust off, to get back to the grind.