Scott H Young

Showing Up and Deliberate Inconsistency


Showing up every day doesn’t mean doing the same thing every day. I don’t normally do follow-up posts, but a reader comment triggered an important point I forgot to mention. Here was the comment:

“Congrats on another good post. Now check your OWN archives. You started at between 16 and 22 posts a month for the first 2 years. The average this year has been 12. …

You ARE a smart young man and I applaud your work. I even follow [you] on a RSS feed. So expect me to call you out whenever I see anything that resembles, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’”

Actually, my posting rate has been consistent with only one or two exceptions both this year and when I began.

Last June, I was writing four articles each week. One for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which would usually come online at exactly 10am. In addition, I wrote one set of Friday Links, every Friday.

After sustaining that posting rate for close to eight months, I polled readers on my posting frequency. At the time, the majority response was to post less frequently. I have longer articles, so 4x per week was too much volume for most of my readers to read.

So, for the last 11 months, I’ve been writing two articles per week. Either on Monday/Wednesday with Friday Links or Tuesday/Thursday. Once again, usually posted at exactly 10am.

Consistency and Strategy Change

I’m not writing this article simply to rebut a critique of my blog. I think the comment also reveals an important point. The importance to regularly review your strategy, and at times, to be deliberately inconsistent.

My switch to a lower posting rate was prompted by readers. But even it hadn’t been, I don’t see switching to a different posting schedule as failing to show up. Switching to a lower posting rate was a good decision on my part, because it allowed me more time to write longer e-books, products, and with an archive of over 700 posts, 80% of readers still had more articles than they would ever read.

When I started working out in the gym, I would lift weights 4-6 times per week. I did so consistently without injury or problems for over a year. Recently, I’ve switched to a slightly lower volume at roughly 3x per week, after doing more research.

You Control the Days You Show Up

More important than strict consistency, is controlling the days you show up. If you show up to the gym once per week, every week, because this is the volume of work you’ve decided is best for you, go right ahead. Same if you’ve decided to exercise for two hours, seven days per week.

I often experiment with different workout routines, blogging styles and eating habits. The difference is between people who control their routine strategically, and people who drop off or give up out of laziness.

Consistency is Good, Stagnation is Bad

If you’re doing the same thing every day, you probably aren’t improving as fast as if you experimented. Don’t get me wrong, I believe as a minimum, you should build the habit of showing up every day in some form or another. However, once you’ve built that habit, you should experiment with different strategies to find a style that best suits your goals.

Currently, I’m doing almost entirely anaerobic exercise (to go along with my weight goal). But in the past, I’ve ran everyday while lifting weights less frequently. Or I’ve played soccer or swam. I aim to show up almost every day, but what showing up means changes as I rethink my fitness routine.

I’ve just finished writing a month’s worth of posts all timestamped, to appear twice per week for the month of July during my trip. I may not be able to write for a month, but I’ve made sure my articles will still show up, 10am every Monday and Wednesday.


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7 Responses to “Showing Up and Deliberate Inconsistency”

  1. Hey Scott, as a side note, it’s interesting you noted that reducing posting frequency allowed you to write your ebooks, because that’s what I’m finding in my situation now too. The times when I want to write more posts, I get less time on my ebook, and vice versa. It seems I need to strike a good balance for both of them. Thanks for reminding us that it’s more on the consistency of the activities, vs. the daily repetition of it. In the meantime, I look forward to your articles every Mon/Wed.

  2. ZHereford says:

    First of all – have fun in Europe Scott!

    Secondly, I find your posting frequency quite appropriate. There are many bloggers who sacrifice quality for quantity. They post just to post and, at times, their articles suffer for it. As you somewhat indicated, your readers probably found they couldn’t keep up with more frequent posting on your part.

    Ultimately, you do indeed show up! Great job.

  3. I’m having vacation now, so I’m able to show up a lot. But when I’m joining University next year, I hope I can be as consistent as you!

    I think I need some sort of system, like writing articles on friday and monday, publish them during the week, to get so consistent.

    How do you do that? Do you write most of your articles in a row, or do you write them whenever you feel like writing?

  4. Craig Harper says:

    Hey Scott.

    I don’t have a writing schedule as such. I write whenever I have an idea that I think readers might like. Some of my articles are 200 words and some are 1500.

    Like you, I think it’s important to be consistent in delivering 2-3 new articles every week.

    Keep up the great work!

    Craig.

  5. Scott Young says:

    When I was doing more posts, I wrote everything on Friday and timestamped it.

    Now, I write on the same day of the post, typically, I just make sure I publish 2x per week.

    -Scott

  6. dream says:

    Great job Scott. I didn’t mean to sound critical. I was just curious as to WHY you had changed your posting rates since I’ve only been following you a couple of months. This post does show you are extremely responsive to reader and we appreciate that. Keep up the good work!!

  7. Scott Young says:

    dream,

    I didn’t take it as a criticism, but an accurate observation from an astute reader. Thanks for following!

    -Scott

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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