Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

I Am The 2-Minutes-Read-Time-Writer

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How I’ve gotten used to writing a 2-minute article every day

I’ve been writing almost daily for about a year now. Sometimes more regular, sometimes less. Sometimes one subject, sometimes another. Sometimes in German and sometimes in English. But I write. (Almost) every day. And almost always for as long as it takes two minutes to read.

But how does that happen?

How did I manage to get into the routine of writing every day? How do I find the ideas I write about? How do I edit my articles? What motivates me?

That’s what I want to explain here:

Establishing a writing routine

Establishing a routine of daily writing, i. e. sitting in front of the PC, finding an idea and putting it on paper, is the most important thing in order not to give up after one week (as you give up going to the gym). Preferably every day at about the same time. Same place. In the same way.

When I went to school a year ago, instead of (ideally) sitting at my homework right after school, I sat down at the PC and wrote an article. This has established itself so well and also gave a little motivation for the homework later on, because I was just proud to have finally published an article on my blog.

During my school-leaving examinations and on vacation, it was not quite so possible anymore and I admittedly neglected writing a bit. But ever since I started working, I’ve also been back with daily articles. Usually I write those either before I even go to work, or directly after work, whichever way suits best. But I plan the exact time from the outset and then stick to it. Because if you decide to establish a routine, but then let yourself be guided by mood swings (which are guaranteed to occur — all beginnings are difficult), it is quickly over with the intention.

Finding ideas

Finding ideas is still difficult, even after I have developed my techniques in this way. Creativity cannot be enforced, but you can promote it and the ideas you have spontaneously pick up for an article.

A proven method to promote ideas is physical exertion. Whether it’s daily running, cycling or walking, it helps you to move around. When we do these activities in nature, it not only helps us to get oxygen into the brain, but also helps us to be able to observe our environment. If we always just sit in our own apartment and spend 24 hours a day there, we lose the ability to absorb the charms of our surroundings. Variety is the keyword.

Even if we stand at a bus stop (and don’t get bored playing on our mobile phone) we can watch the other waiting people. Maybe we will incidentally hear a conversation between two elderly people who think “everything was better in the old days”. I often get my mobile phone out to make a note that I would like to write something about it.

But not always when I try to write, I also have key points on my list of topics. Often I sit in front of the PC and have no idea what I’m going to write about until I sit in front of the blinking cursor and think about it. Then I think about what I have experienced and whether there is something I would like to share with the world. In my opinion, however, this kind of brainstorming requires some practice.

Writing and editing articles

In contrast to many other authors, who usually write longer articles, I have become accustomed to not only not creating drafts, but also to having a finished result after several hours. If I do have to structure my list articles in a certain way, I do this with simple key points, which I stick to when writing.

I write articles from beginning to end in one piece. If I have to interrupt writing in between and resume writing later, there is a good chance that I will start to doubt. The title, the content, the idea. Then everything doesn’t fit somehow and either I let the started thing rot in my draft list or I delete it. Because of that, I only write shorter articles where it is easy to finish them in one piece in maybe an hour.

Even when editing, I always follow the same pattern. After I have read the text once or twice, possibly even changed small things, but I like it now, I take care of the correct formatting of the headlines, paragraphs, quotes and add a title picture (mostly from Unsplash). I also check the headline header with the Headline Analyzer, if I didn’t do this before writing. Finally, I’ll tag the article and figure out which publication I’m adding the whole thing to. If it’s my own, I’ll press “Publish” after that.

This may not be the right strategy for every kind of article, scientific articles need much more research, etc. in advance, but for my kind of articles this method has proven itself in practice.

Experiencing motivation

Without motivation, it can be quite a torture to take an hour every day to write down thoughts and make them accessible to the world on the Internet. And just because I do this every day doesn’t mean that I am highly motivated every day.

I have the attitude that if I really want to achieve something, I must not give up immediately. Just because I don’t have a million views on the first and second and tenth day doesn’t mean that my articles are bullshit or that I can’t become a recognized blogger someday.

But it’s not only the clicks that motivate me (no one can deny that they don’t have a small influence), but above all the expression of my thoughts, feelings and opinions. Sometimes it helps incredibly to write down the experiences I have gained. Or if I make a firm decision to put that into words and publish it on the Internet. Most of my articles contain experiences in which I feel I have to share them. Not in a direct way, but on a more general level.

And last but not least, I find it incredibly motivating when people from my circle of friends and relatives talk to me that they enjoy reading my blog, even though I didn’t ask them about it.


Jan-Lukas Else
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