October 21, 2019

I wrote and published one blog article a day for 365 days. AMA

Basile Samel @basilesamel

Writing every day has had a huge impact on my life over the last year: I made my first MRR, I wrote a book, I obtained my first freelance gig...

Have you ever thought about getting into a consistent writing habit? Well, I'm here to answer your questions :)

  1. 3

    What was the affect on your website traffic (especially organic visits) between day 1 and day 365?

    1. 2

      Hard to say, I mainly distributed my content on Twitter and I didn't bother measuring how well my content played in the eyes of others to drive traffic.

      I can just say I recorded 46k users and 400k page views on my product's website over the last year. Writing definitely helped inspire others to do the same (it's a community product gathering writers).

      On Twitter, I had less than 20 followers before I started this challenge. Now I'm closer to 1k followers, with 1,5k profile visits per month in average and 1,370k impressions over the last year.

      Hope it can give you a rough idea. I'll try to find better metrics asap.

      1. 1

        Where did most of your new twitter followers come from?

        1. 2

          Product Hunt, Indie Hackers, and Makerlog. Everyone else by word of mouth or Twitter recommendation I guess.

  2. 2

    Hi Baz 👋

    I stopped writing after a couple of days streak & lost momentum but I have a running streak of 232 days now. I plan on breaking it on the 365th day. Do you intend to break your streak?

    1. 2

      Hey pal! Only two things could prevent me from keeping the streak going:

      1. Running out of things to learn
      2. Encountering a serious mental breakdown because of personal or family health issues

      Both are unlikely. Nothing else can stop me :)

  3. 2

    Do you think this has made you a better writer? Has it made you a better at communicating? Were there any unexpected benefits?

    1. 1

      Absolutely. A better writer, and a better reader! I'm a non-native English speaker, and writing every day helped me a lot to improve.

      Writing gives clarity, so it improved my communication skills as well. It gives structure to my thoughts. More importantly, good communication is proportional to quantity: the more you share, the easier it is for your ideas to spread. Quality is not enough because people easily forget or overlook what you write.

      The most underrated benefit of writing is mental health. It's amazing how just expressing your fears and pain points liberates you.

      Another benefit: I graduated and worked as a software engineer, and now I'm starting to make money writing articles as a freelancer because my habit has become an asset. Another income source, it was totally unexpected.

  4. 2

    Very cool!

    Do you schedule posts or make a point to publish with any specific timing?

    1. 1

      I think I scheduled a post once or twice. In the end, it's not particularly helpful to me because I take a lot of notes: ideas for my writings, books or articles I read, etc. I naturally accumulate material I can use later on.

      I can afford to spend an hour writing every day because I'm working full-time as an indie hacker. The longest part is coming up with ideas and outlines, which can be batched once a week to leave more time for free-writing, editing, and researching.

      I think there is a way to do it no matter what, with a bit of preparation.

  5. 2

    As a writer: WOW! That's amazing.

    How did you make the time and motivate yourself specifically when real life got tough?

    Did you ever write ahead to give yourself a backlog?

    1. 3

      The trick is simple: write less. I have a word limit of 200 words. Sometimes it gives me momentum to write more, sometimes I just call it a day as soon as I hit this threshold.

      If you're really dedicated, you can always find the time to write at least 200 words. Even if it's just free-writing something in 10 minutes, it triggers hidden mechanisms that will build your writing muscles :)

      I do try to write ahead. I have a notebook I carry with me all the time. Whenever an idea strikes, I write it down. I also like to sit down and just write whatever comes to mind. At this point, it's more of a lifestyle than a strategy. I just write, and it eventually becomes material to publish.

      1. 1

        A word limit is a great solution! Thanks for sharing!

  6. 2

    What tech stack do you use for the site?

    1. 1

      200 Words a Day: Symfony/PHP + React
      Personal Website: GatsbyJS

  7. 2


    What did you write about?
    How did you distribute your writing?
    How did you know it was working?
    Why did you keep going?

    1. 2
      1. I write about tech, entrepreneurship, nomadism, and writing.

      2. That's one thing I want to work on over the next year. I didn't put much effort into distribution. Sometimes Indie Hackers (made it to the newsletter once), sometimes Hacker News (made it to the front page once). Mostly Twitter and my personal website. What I plan to do: a) create a newsletter, b) spend more time distributing in relevant channels than writing, and c) splice and dice the posts into more long-form content to increase my SEO rankings

      3. I write for myself, I just enjoy writing. Views, audience, and revenues were a by-product.

      4. I attach more importance to the process, writing is the end-goal. I keep doing it because it feels good to create something I can come back to later on.

      Thank you for your questions :D

  8. 2
    1. What blogging platform/tech did you use?
    2. Any SEO tips?
    1. 2
      1. Medium + Twitter at first, then I built my own platform called 200 Words a Day. I also cross-post my content on my personal website using GatsbyJS and Markdown.

      2. Except for the basics (unique metadata, server-rendered content), I didn't give much thoughts into it. I write for myself first and foremost, I don't want my creativity to be limited by SEO keywords :D That's also part of why I'm so consistent with the habit: I try to lower the barrier as much as possible.

  9. 2

    Hey Basile - congrats, that's some solid commitment right there. I, too, am a writer.

    I'd be really interested to hear the fuller story here - exactly the sort of writing you did, and when, and how it helped you to do those things you mentioned above. Cheers.

    1. 1

      Hey :D

      I'm gonna publish a full written retrospective and publish it on Nov the 4th (the day I started this writing habit last year). This AMA helps me identify more specific questions people might have, so you'll get your answer once I release this article :)

      You can already have a look at my writings here: https://200wordsaday.com/writers/BasileSamel. Sometimes I document my journey so you'll find some answers before Nov 4.


      1. 1

        Awesome, thanks! Will have a look. Also, your book looks great - and intriguing.

        1. 2

          tbh I'm not satisfied with it yet, it needs a rework. I made the website and got pre-orders, but I didn't fully launched it yet. Soon!

          1. 2

            Well, congrats on getting it (almost) done. I'm self-publishing my 1st book this year too, currently editing it. Good luck!

  10. 2

    That's some impressive commitment there - congratulations! What was your goal ahead of doing the blogging year (e.g. views, revenue, etc.) and did you reach it?

    1. 2

      Thank you! :) I always loved writing but it was hard to stay consistent. I just tried to develop some sort of public accountability by publishing one post every day, it wasn't for views or anything else. It's only later I discovered it was a powerful way to connect with other people, but I don't really have any goal. I do it because I love the process. I could write for an audience to get views and increase my revenues, but I prefer to consider it as a by-product rather than an end-goal.

      Hope I'm clear enough :)

      1. 2

        Very clear - that's a great goal! Must have required a lot of discipline but I'm pleased you were able to benefit from it.

  11. 2

    Wow, awesome! Congrats!

    Actually I have thought about, but it's hard for me because I don't really like it. Nevertheless I know how important it is, especially when it comes to content (marketing) for my personal projects.

    Thank you for remembering me. Need to find some time, but not sure if I can do it daily.

    How did you keep the motivation up?

    1. 2

      Thanks man! :D

      Public accountability was key. After ten days of publishing my content on Twitter, I didn't want to break the streak.

      Also, instead of writing for an audience, I write for myself. This way it's much easier to stay interested. I didn't really have to spend much time on writing, just documenting my journey as a solo indie hacker was enough to develop the habit and indirectly find an audience.

  12. 1

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