Four years ago I wrote a post called Write Epic Shit.
I stand behind the sentiment today. Nothing will help you build an audience faster than publishing truly epic content.
Epic content is the kind of blog post, (or podcast, video, book, etc.) that makes people think. You have to inspire people. Change lives. Create value. Blow people away with the incredible usefulness of your content.
One or two pieces of epic content can launch a career or a business.
But the epic content mindset can also be a trap.
No one is able to produce epic content every single time. A few seasoned veterans come close, but everyone publishes just passable or even forgettable pieces in between the epic stuff.
The trap comes from setting the bar too high, as if everything you publish must be epic. This happens especially to beginners. “I can’t think of anything epic to write, so why should I bother?”
Too much of this mindset can get you stuck. Once you’re stuck, the risk of giving up entirely grows more and more with each missed publishing deadline.
““There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” — Ernest Hemingway”
You Don’t Get to Judge
Have you ever decided not to publish something, because you didn’t have anything amazing to say?
If so, this is for you. It’s time to lower the bar.
I want you to grant yourself a pass for now.
No more worrying about epic content. It’s stressing you out and making you feel bad about your abilities as a writer/podcaster/video maker.
Here’s the secret about creating epic shit: you rarely know ahead of time which things will really take off. There are too many variables.
Sometimes the thing you thought would be a huge hit falls flat. Sometimes the thing you thought was a throwaway ends up on the front page of Reddit.
But more importantly, sometimes the thing that you thought was barely worth reading affects someone deeply.
Those are the experiences you want to create.
Epic content is the kind of thing that affects many people deeply all at once.
Content worth reading (but which isn’t epic) can affect a few people deeply.
If a couple of pieces of epic content can launch an entire career or business, a prolific collection of content worth reading published over many months or years can become the most valuable thing you ever do.
And along the way, epic content will come. By publishing a steady drumbeat of content worth reading, you’ll get better and better and publishing things with the power to affect more and more people deeply.
Each thing you publish becomes a lottery ticket, and the odds improve the more you play.
But you have to buy the lottery tickets. You have to hit publish. You can’t let your fear of publishing something bad keep you from publishing at all.
“You have to hit publish. Don’t let your fear of publishing something bad keep you from publishing at all.”
Think about bloggers like Seth Godin or Fred Wilson, who have published every day for years. Seth and Fred aren’t pumping out epic content every day. Most of the posts are worth reading, but not epic.
But Seth and Fred both have epic bodies of work. The sum total of thousands of articles published on a simple blog has become the most valuable thing either of them have done, and we’re talking about two very accomplished individuals. And plenty of epic content has come along the way.
You don’t get to prejudge your work before anyone else gets to see it. We’re terrible judges of our own creations.
“You don’t get to prejudge your work before anyone else sees it. We’re terrible judges of our own creations.”
Make a New, Simpler Promise
Here’s my challenge to you today.
Forget about epic content.
Make a promise to yourself that you’ll publish as often and consistently as you can. Set a schedule. Blog, podcast, tweet, make videos, write books. The form doesn’t matter.
Your goal isn’t to publish epic content.
Your goal is simply to show up and publish. Publish the best thing you can that day, but publish even if you don’t think it’s so great.
Aim to affect people, and aim to write something worth reading. But above all, aim to consistently share your work with the world.
Aim for greatness, but not at the expense of shipping.
The combination of consistency and feedback will eventually lead to something truly epic, whether it’s a handful of amazing individual pieces, or a body of work that becomes the most valuable thing you ever do.
This is a simple promise. Promise to put hitting publish ahead of everything else. No more excuses, and no more worrying about not having something amazing to say.
Get it out the door, and get better as you go.
Consistently publishing and deliberate practice will make your work amazing.
Are you in? Say so in the comments below.
Then go publish something today, and share this with someone who needs it.
The Top 10 Mistakes in Online Business
Every week we talk with entrepreneurs. We talk about what’s working and what isn’t. We talk about successes and failures. We spend time with complete newbies, seasoned veterans, and everything in between.
One topic that comes up over and over again with both groups is mistakes made in starting businesses. Newbies love to learn about mistakes so they can avoid them. Veterans love to talk about what they wish they had known when starting out.
These conversations have been fascinating, so we compiled a list of the 10 mistakes we hear most often into a nifty lil' guide. Get the 10 Most Common Mistakes in Starting an Online Business here »