Only Write When You’re Inspired
One of the influencers I follow on LinkedIn said she’s quit posting just to fill a content calendar.
Anyone can create a profile on most social media platforms. And there’s virtually nothing to stop them from posting whatever they want whenever they want.
If you’re trying to build a following, it’s tempting to follow the advice of those who say you need to be in people’s feeds every single day. That’s a big challenge that can lead to the same place most emails end up.
Nobody like spam.
I’ve never bought a can of Spam.
To me, it’s like buying a can of “potted meat product.” Yeah, I actually saw that once. What’s in there you ask? Chicken. Pork. Beef. Leftover parts. And probably formaldehyde.
I added formaldehyde for laughs.
For most people, Spam tastes gross. It’s one of those things that if you were starving and there was nothing else available to eat, you’d still have to think twice before you opened the can.
Spam is a synonym for “unwanted” when it comes to emails, social media posts, and phone calls from unfamiliar numbers.
Just because you’re hungry
You eat because you have to.
Ideally, you choose what you like. What tastes good? What makes eating an experience and not just a necessity?
That’s why you visit your favorite restaurant. The food is good, sure. But it’s the way eating there makes you feel that draws you.
When you’re hungry, you might grab a donut if it’s placed before you. Or a burrito. Or a pack of crackers. When you plan a meal, you can get whatever you want (and can afford).
When your email inbox is overflowing with hundreds of emails you never read, it’s like getting a box of stale donuts every day.
But I have permission…
You offered something valuable. Irresistible, in fact. And people grabbed it like they would if they found cash in their mattress when they changed the sheets.
It’s the follow up that’s hard.
We all know you want to sell us something. You have to make a living. And if the price is right, some of us will happily buy.
But for most of us, we acted on impulse when we downloaded your gift. We were hungry, and your gift was just what we needed.
What you do afterward is kind of like the aftertaste. Does it make us crave more? Or will it make me wonder where the closest bottle of mouthwash is?
Permission is just the beginning.
When you make a new friend, what do you do to keep that person as a friend?
- Take an interest in what interests them.
- Find out what they want to accomplish, and ask if you can help in any way.
- Schedule time with them to chat, eat, and have fun.
In short, you want them to be happy when you’re around.
They won’t be when it’s all about you.
Is there really such a thing?
Deadlines make great motivators.
- Pay your taxes on time or face possible fines or property seizure.
- Show up for your job interview or miss your chance forever.
- Talk to your friend when you see him or you might never get another chance (this happened to me).
But facing a deadline is not enough.
You write some words so you can check off that box on your content calendar. Most of the time it’s fun, but today it feels like a chore. Fake it if you will, but sooner or later, someone will notice.
Your fans deserve better than that.
So how do you schedule spontaneity?
Think like an artist.
My personality type is one of the rarest, according to the MBTI.
Add the fact that I’m a man, and it’s even rarer.
It’s tempting to look for a map to show you what’s next. When someone else has figured out how to do something, why should we reinvent the wheel? Just copy, paste, and repeat, right?
You don’t make art on a xerox machine. You take a blank canvas, fill it with lines, shapes, and shading until it looks like something beautiful. Or at the very least, it looks like the picture you have in your mind.
That’s why the one size fits all programs fail. One size doesn’t fit all. That’s not to say you can’t learn something. Shoes need laces, tongues, and soles. But they can be a variety of colors, materials, and shapes.
The objective is to protect your feet.
What do you want your writing and social media posts to accomplish?
How will you know you’ve met your objective? In other words, how will you measure it?
Write about what you like and some will stand on the same ground. If you want to matter, add value to your passions.
In other words, leave people better than you found them.
And do it the way you do it best.
Where is inspiration lurking?
You don’t have to wait for the Muse to show up.
Think about what’s happening when you’re at your best.
- Where are you?
- How are you feeling?
- What preparation have you done?
- Where does your inspiration come from most often?
Can you recreate those conditions?
If you can, inspiration is as close as you want it to be.
Pick a schedule that suits you.
How often can you show up with something valuable?
If it’s not every single day, that’s okay. Focus on quality first. When you define and refine your creative process, you can increase your quantity.
Your creative process is your map. Take it out and follow the steps whenever you find a golden nugget.
Gold is valuable because it lasts. It’s free from corrosion. It survives recessions. And it beautifies otherwise ordinary decor.
Your message is gold when it adds value to someone’s life.
It holds its value when it’s worth something years after you wrote it. Inject some timeless truth into your posts, your books, and your messages. Then not only will you build a fan base, you’ll build a body of work that will stand the test of time.
Invite people to join you.
I’m not just talking about building your list.
Your social media posts are a great place to get people involved with your message. You start by writing about what they (and you) care about. Then you take the next step.
Ask a question.
Don’t just assume you know what people think. Ask them to tell you. Then stand back and listen.
This is probably the best market research you’ll ever do. And it won’t cost anything but time. The best performers talk with their audiences. Then they carry that conversation onto the stage.
That’s why they’re loved so much and for so long.
Now go inspire someone.
Raise your own bar by panning for gold instead of filling your calendar with dirt.
It might take longer, but it will be well worth it. And if you pay attention to the process you use, you can increase your frequency without killing your creativity.
What will you inspire someone to do today?