“Publish Every Day” is Bullshit Advice
Why your New Year’s resolution should be to ignore this common piece of writing advice.
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” — Benjamin Franklin
I’d like to add one more to the list, Mr Franklin.
For the avid readers and writers among us, I believe with absolute certainty that at some point, you will have read something which recommends that “publishing every day” is key to earning money through writing.
I’m here to tell you that this is terrible advice, which most writers should avoid like the plague.
The problem with trying to publish every day
When I first started writing, I went through a phase of trying to publish as often as I could. I would churn out article after article in hopes of writing something that would go viral. I sacrificed my sleep by writing well into the early hours of the morning and then spent my entire working day wondering why I felt so run down. I burned out from trying to publish so often and ended up taking a three-month hiatus from writing as a result.
While it might seem like a great idea at first, the advice to publish daily completely ignores one simple truth; the majority of writers on this platform don’t write for a living.
As a father of two young children who works 45 hours a week, I do not have the time or energy to publish daily on a consistent basis. Of course, everybody’s circumstances are different and there will be exceptions to this rule. If you manage to publish daily while balancing a full-time job and children, I want some of whatever you’re putting in your morning coffee.
The point I’m trying to make — particularly to newer writers — is not that you shouldn’t publish daily, but that you don’t need to.
But doesn't publishing more = earning more?
It’s only natural to think that the more often you publish, the more you will earn, but this isn’t necessarily true. If you publish twenty articles in a month, and I only publish one, you’re bound to earn more than me, right?
But the assumption we’re making here is that over the course of writing those twenty articles, you’re able to maintain a consistently high standard of writing, which is much harder than it sounds.
As your focus shifts to how much you can write over how well you can write, it will eventually become apparent in your work, which will impact your reads/views/earnings.
Would you rather publish twenty articles which earn fifty cents each, or one that earns you ten dollars?
Take a look at this:
As you can see, I have only published once so far this month, yet I’ve earned almost $100 — the coveted milestone which would place me in the top 8% of earning writers on Medium.
Remember, I did this having only published one article — an article which accounts for only 15% of my earnings this month. In fact, the article which has earned the most money this month (42% of my earnings) was published in September.
I don’t make a habit of sharing my earnings. I’ve previously written about my reasons for this, as I believe that nine out of every ten “look at my monthly earnings” articles fail to provide any value to the reader whatsoever — serving no further purpose than inflating the ego of the writer.
I’m sharing this month’s earnings — not to brag — but to dispel the myth that you must publish as much as possible to increase your earnings. If you only take away one thing from this article, let it be this: it is the quality of your work that matters, not the quantity.
How often should I publish?
How long is a piece of string? Nobody can answer this for you. You have to find a writing schedule that works for you, one that fits around everything else in your life.
I aim to publish once or twice a week, so four to eight articles per month. Sometimes I exceed that number, or sometimes (like this month) I miss my target by a country mile. I’ve barely written at all this month, yet miraculously I wake up every morning and still consider myself a writer. Sometimes I just don’t feel like writing.
And that’s okay.
Regardless of how often you publish, focus on making each piece the very best it can be.
Everything else will look after itself.
Jon Peters is a 29-year-old writer who lives in Cornwall, UK with his wife and two children. If you made it this far down the page, thanks for reading! You’ll be sure to enjoy more of my content, which you can find here.