I just passed the century mark for posts, and I’m interested in changing my approach and writing style. At least, try a more concise writing style for 15 posts.
Scroll through different blogs, you’ll find there are many different styles from long text-heavy posts, story-oriented writing, concise and focused posts, to the list-centric. My style has been an adapted, hybrid approach with lists and examples per bullet. However, my writing can be… long-winded.
I’m changing my writing style for this and the next 14 posts towards a concise format no more than 300 words with short bullets, if appropriate (à la Master Blogger David Cummings). Why? Let me bulletize…
  • I love experimenting and self-improvement. I don’t want to be so rigid to not be open to potentially better, different ways of doing things.
  • I can be a little too verbose sometimes with redundant wording. This is an exercise in staying focused and to the point.
  • I value perspectives. This new approach will give me a new perspective into writing and thinking.
  • Test reader behavior. Shorter posts are more easily digestible for readers. I’ll review Google Analytics, and see if this new approach has made a difference in subscribers, time spent, pages visited, etc.

I’m excited about this, and I’m looking forward to assessing my attitude and perspective to this new style. Depending on how the first five posts go, I may also change my post frequency.
Any other ways you’ve experimented to change some long-standing way you’ve done things? Any tips on challenges or things that helped you sustain the change long enough to gauge its impact?
Wow… so this is what 100 feels like! Actually, it feels about the same as 52, 89, and 75. But it sure as heck feels a lot easier than 1-10. Since about October 2013, I’ve posted once every week, typically on Wednesday. Today, it’s second nature for me to write and share – takes about two hours per post including editing.
When I first started writing, I didn’t really have a clear-cut goal other than to start my path down “thought leadership”. I knew that I had already earned a lot of experience that I could put to use today, rather than wait several years when I was “older”. Although, the blog was under the moniker “Supply Chain Ninja”. I’ve rebranded to Entrepreneurial Ninja, so the earliest posts were about supply chain and consulting.
I saw the number of posts continue to climb, and it was only till I hit 90 where I really started to reflect on what I wanted to say on my 100th post. If you ask most people around me, this isn’t really a big deal to me. I mean… 100? Really? Over a couple years? That’s really not much considering there are several bloggers who publish three times a week and real stalwarts who published DAILY.
Alas, I’m celebrating the consistency, especially given the countless times I wanted to just say, “Nah, I’m done. I have nothing left to share.” But I’ve kept it going anyways.
So for my 100th post, I’m going to give you three things: what I’ve learned, posts that have garnered the most views, and then, my own favorites.

Lessons I’ve Learned Through 100 Posts

  1. I love writing. I didn’t care much for writing in school, but post-school when I absolutely do not have to write this or in other mediums, I love it. I’ve done my own mini-research papers about relationships and technology, I’ve written about personal goals and my way of thinking on another blog, etc. It’s fun. It’s therapeutic. It’s distinctly me.
  2. People love my writing. People like my writing. People hate my writing. People don’t care about my writing. All of this is OKAY. I obviously want more passionate, lovers of my work, but I’m comfortable with those who don’t care about it, too. Sometimes my message resonates with people, and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s okay.
  3. Even as a consistent writer, I still get shy. There are posts when I have no idea if what I’m writing truly adds value in the message I’m writing. However, I do it anyways because it needs to be like clockwork for me.  And then, there are times I still feel shy about writing and sharing with the world. Even though I JUST said it’s okay for people to not care for my writing, I do have twinges of timidity.
  4. I love learning. When I write and write, I can run out of ideas. Luckily, there are sources of inspiration everywhere. Blogging has been a source of great ideas for me and great learning. I’ve read much more than I used to (again, in school, didn’t care for it). I meet so many more people now than ever. I like to ask questions, and I like to learn and share with the world.
  5. I write a lot. I’m going to change up my writing style soon (I’ll have a post about that, too), but I can write (and talk) A LOT. I’ve learned I’m very opinionated, but I’m open to others’ opinions and thoughts because then I learn. But I’m happy about being opinionated, too, because in my earlier years, I was shy and lacking of self-confidence. Now, I have confidence in my abilities and who I am.
  6. It’s about the message, not necessarily the details. As I click through my earlier posts, I smile at what I’ve written, but I also start editing little punctuation or grammatical mistakes. I’m like the guy on Match.com who will not date a chick with too many typos on her profile. In blogging, I can easily spin my wheels sweating the details of grammar, details, etc., but then I would be stressed and may never push out a post. What matters THE MOST is hitting that Publish button, and sharing the message with the world. As long as the main idea and key tenets are there, readers will appreciate it. As will I.

5 Posts with the Mosts… Views, comments, and more

My Favorite Posts… the ones I enjoyed writing and sharing

I’ve had a lot of fun writing both the goods and the bads (the challenges). Looking forward to hitting the next 100 posts, and maybe (MAYBE) up my frequency, too. Thanks for reading and following along!

What posts were your favorites? Any suggestions on writing style or topics to cover? 
I was tempted to use a mirro #selfie picture as a not-so-subtle play on “reflection”, but decided on a less cheesy route. You’re welcome. (Photo cred: http://splitshire.com/focus/)
Ready for the new year? Whether or not you are, it’s coming. I do “micro-reflections” at the end of each day about what I did well, what I could improve on, what’s on tap for tomorrow/ next week, etc. As it’s the end of the year, it’s time for a more “macro-reflection”.
Recently, I’ve been asked more than a few times why I blog, and asked to capture what was accomplished this past year and what I’m looking forward to next year. So for this macro-reflection post, I’m going to write a three-part series. Part 1 (today) will be…

Why do I blog?

First, it’s a challenge.

Writing was not a strong point for me growing up, and not one I enjoyed doing. However, I think it was largely about context. I didn’t find anything I was writing about compelling to me in school. 
Now, I write about startups and entrepreneurship with a sprinkling of leadership and psychology. I’ve already started writing about Finance (another weak point), and soon, I’ll be adding some technical posts to my repertoire. Each post has fed my passion in entrepreneurship.
Blogging has been a challenge for me to not only keep writing and improving my writing skills, but it’s been a great driver for me to continually read and learn.

Secondly, blogging plays a role in BRANDING.

As I said in my personal story, I realize that I’m a representation of many people who have influenced me either directly or indirectly. Blogging allows me to continually build and refine what my name means and who I am – my personal branding.
Even looking at my LinkedIn profile, my Facebook profile, or my resume, it’s largely a static image of myself till the next time I update it which can be infrequent. However, with a blog, I can give better context as to who I am as supplemental to a LinkedIn profile or resume.
Others can read a few of my posts and quickly see where my passions lay, what motivates me, etc. I try to keep my writing authentic to who I am, so I hope my personality comes through the words.

Thirdly, blogging introduces me to many others with a similar passion.

I got a chance to meet ​Tricia Whitlock, ​Editor of ​Hypepotamus, one of Atlanta’s major tech-blogs. I reached out because I enjoy the content she and her team provides not just from a quality standpoint, but also for the breadth and frequency. A key to their writing has been reaching out to others either for interviews or to showcase what new startups are up to. It’s been a great way for the publication’s staff to meet others, stay in tune with the startup scene locally and regionally, and continue to pump out fresh, relevant content.​ I’m seeing how Hypepotamus can become one of, if not THE, premier startup news aggregator here in the Southeast.
When I was blogging for Body Boss, we reached out to strength coaches to guest post with us. This situated us as a connector to coaches. But also, it gave us an opportunity to connect with those outside Body Boss, and we could connect coaches everywhere to one another. It became a powerful marketing tool for networking, inbound marketing, outbound marketing (newsletters), etc.

Fourth, blogging can inspire, motivate, and teach others.

I’ve met so many people who have stumbled on my site. They ask me questions about starting up their own ideas. Or, I’ve met others who have taken some of my lessons and applied them to their current startups which has helped them avoid pitfalls.
At the end of the day, it’s great to see others taking some of my experience and applying it to their own lives. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be entrepreneurial. I think the lessons and skills learned through entrepreneurship are highly adaptable and applicable to, yes, the large corporate jobs. Everything from customer discovery to rapid prototyping to user experience has been hugely beneficial in even consulting projects.

And then, blogging is therapeutic.

My mind can be a bit… frenetic. It runs 200 mph with ideas and questions that used to just marinate in my head. It kept me up at night or didn’t let me fall asleep in the first place. Conversations with friends would go in a million directions.
By writing, I have a release valve for me to share these questions and ideas. I can hone in on specific ideas or go full-bore with a multi-part series like this one. Plus, it gives me a way to share questions and ideas others have shared with me, too, and discuss with others.

And finally, it’s a challenge.

No, that’s no typo. I’m repeating it because this is the major reason for me to continue writing, much like why I love entrepreneurship. It’s the rush taking on the challenge and to compete against myself and in some ways, against others – me writing consistently where others might have faded away.
Blogging has forced me to be more comfortable with myself and push new ways of learning and expression… to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Up through undergrad, my personality tests would tell you I’m an introvert and my close friends would tell you how I was… more quiet and reserved. Since then, I’ve rewired my brain a bit aiming to be a better leader and more charismatic. Blogging has been a great catalyst of the change for me.
For example, blogging has forced me to be consistent in my actions and purposeful and comfortable knowing that my writing will NOT resonate with everyone. It took me a little while to get over that. Much like building a business, you have your target market you’re catering to. Respect those outside of your target market, but know that not everyone will appreciate who you are or what you’re doing/ selling.

So that’s why I blog…

It’s exciting when I run into people I haven’t seen in a while who tell me they’ve kept up-to-date on me through my blog, Entrepreneurial Ninja. They talk to me about how some post really resonated with them at their job, or how hilarious my story of the 4AM break-in was. That’s fun.
I’m on the Atlanta Tech Blog’s list! Scroll down alphabetically 42 spots as of 12/24!
As I’m sitting here, too, I’m grinning ear-to-ear because my blog was shared with Atlanta Tech Blogs who now have my blog as part of their feed. That’s incredibly flattering and exciting. Heck, some of you may have stumbled on this article from Atlanta Tech Blogs. (Thanks for stopping in.)
I’ve always wanted to be not just a leader of a company, but a leader of an industry, a community. To do that, I need to be a thought leader. David Cummings is a prime example of an extraordinary blogger, and has really cemented his leadership and influence on startups, especially those in Atlanta. With more consistency and longevity, I might actually get there, too.
Of course, I need to also get a good startup success… tune in for Part 2 next week.