Have you ever tried something and thought you just couldn’t pull it off? That in spite of your best efforts, you just weren’t progressing?
Yeah, me too! And it is crazy frustrating.
Enter my blog, Her Autism.
Though I enjoy writing, it really challenges me. When I first started blogging, I fully realized the time consuming nature of the process. I’m really a slow writer. One single blog post took me 8 to 16 hours to write, edit, and publish.
Heaven help me, it took up to two business days. For one little article.
This is not the first time I have faced this type of challenge — the type where you are not sure whether to dig your feet in or whether to stand and fight.
I came to see that if I wanted to blog, I had to find different ways to create content.
As you probably know from looking at the different blogs you read, folks who blog publish out a lot of content. Tons. I recognized that if it took me eight to 16 hours to write a post, I really wasn’t going to be able to keep up with other blog writers.
Or my life.
I spent some time doing research. I went to other blogs written by folks with autism, and what I saw on several of them were notes that said something like, “This has become overwhelming for me right now, and I can’t continue my blog. I’ll be back when I can, but for now I need to go catch up with other things.”
I mean, that was such a wake-up call for me, because it confirmed my fears. The amount of time that it was taking me to write each post was actually going to keep me from being able to write my blog.
Getting real, this area is not the first to cause me this kind of discomfort. So, overtime I developed an ability and a willingness to find ways to compensate for my weaknesses, so I set about the business of finding a workaround that would enable me to continue blogging.
As far as I was concerned, though things seemed grim, failure was not an option. I like my little blog! (I hope you do, too!)
I Needed to Transform, Not Just Improve
When I first started blogging, I wrote a post about how I like to put things into categories, “The Strangest Thing about My Autism,” and how those categories make it easier for me to handle more things at once. In the post, I highlighted how I organize my life differently in order to be able to keep up with others. I had to find a way to do that here. I needed a different way.
What if I organized my work differently? What if I devised another way to get my words on a page?
Keep in mind I needed to cut my time by about 75% in order to have any hope of publishing enough material to keep you all interested! The magnitude of the needed change was a bit daunting.
Much research, several breaks from blogging, and I was no closer to finding a solution than I had been on day one.
And YET, experience has taught me that sometimes you can get a big bump, a big result from a little tweak. So I knew that though the problem felt big, the solution wasn’t necessarily. I just hadn’t found it yet.
I was, by this time, however, very frustrated.
So very frustrated.
Also, I was determined.
Learning from Someone with More Experience
Then, one day, I watched a Facebook Live presentation given by the spouse of a blogger. She shared how her husband writes very, very slowly, and that trying to write the content for his blog at one point was too overwhelming. In fact, it became so overwhelming that they didn’t know if he was going to be able to continue to maintain the blog.
Yeah. And this other blogger was not, to my knowledge autistic. He simply wrote slowly. REALLY slowly.
Oh my gosh! I thought, “What if I can’t do this? What if I can’t come up with a way to actually do this blog? I really enjoy it. I really like writing it. I like communicating with everyone. I like sharing my experiences. I like hearing the experiences of others.”
I had to find a way to get there.
I kept watching the Facebook Live presentation and the woman said something like, “What my husband does now is he records when he’s driving, when he’s walking, whenever he’s going from place to place. He records his post (as in an audio recording of his presenting his content), and sends it off to be transcribed. He then edits it and posts it.”
I am sure there are lots of ways to cut your time, but he had found one of those different ways, and he was succeeding!
He saved all that time that could have cost him his blog! His is crazy successful in his business. Nice!
He found a SIMPLE solution to his BIG problem. Love it!!!
The Gift of Transformation – Unbelievable!
So I tried it!
I recorded my post, “Taking Care of Yourself When You Are Hanging by a Thread,” using this method. Then I did two more posts, “Autism and Resolutions: Resolve in August, Celebrate Results at the New Year.” And then this post. And another.
On a voice recorder.
I sent it to a company that does transcription. In the time it took me to tell my mom all about my new project, approximately 30 minutes, I got it back.
FOUR posts drafted in one day with time to edit two of them. Two posts ready to publish in one day.
These posts would easily have taken 8 to 16 hours each. Recording them took me all of 6 to 12 minutes each. Editing took less than one hour each, plus choosing graphics.
I reduced my publishing time from about 16 hours to 2 hours for at least two of these posts. Using this method, I achieved an 80% reduction in the time it took me to complete the post from start to finish.
I somehow surpassed my already outrageous goal of 75%!!!
Different Ways to Amazing Days
An unbelievable turnaround for me. I totally believe that there are different ways to have amazing days. When I say that, this is exactly what I am talking about.
Knowing I could, in fact get where I wanted to go felt incredible.
Had I accepted that each post would take that eight to 16 hours of writing, I would have quit. At that rate, there’s no way that I could have put out enough content. What I know from 45 years of just having to do things differently is that there’s always a way.
Was I comfortable hearing my voice on a recording? Oh, heck no! I felt bad for the poor women that had to do the transcription!
But wait, because it gets better. After a few months of recording posts and having them transcribed, I discovered that my real problem was that when I wrote a post I was trying to make every word perfect as I wrote it. Forcing myself to talk my way though the recordings helped me realize that I could type just exactly what I was saying and then edit myself. What I really had to learn was to get all my thoughts out and then to go back and edit my work. Now, I am able to write my posts largely without using the transcription service in the same amount of time saving myself the cost of transcription.
I needed a little training. Huh. So very simple. I do still struggle to keep my writing easy to read. I think it has to do with my word order, but I know if I keep at it, I will get it.
I am a believer that there’s always a creative strategy that you can employ to get where you want to go. You just have to be willing to find it. You may have to be a little patient and a whole lot determined, but it can generally be done.
I didn’t just achieve this tremendous time savings. According to my analytics, I also improved my Ease of Reading score by about 20%, increased my SEO analytics, included stories, and gave examples. All things I struggled mightily to do in creating posts purely through the written word.
And believe me, I was trying.
But am I excited to have reduced my time by 80%, by taking something that looked like maybe it was going to be beyond what I could do, and bringing it back within totally normal standards of performance?
From the Back of the Pack to Out in Front (at Least in Terms of Time!)
The other bloggers in my blogging groups say it takes them about four hours to write a post, and honestly, I thought they were just magicians. Now I can keep up with all of them because I found different ways to amazing days! Because I opened myself up to doing something that wasn’t comfortable, and I did it scared. I just did it.
I hope as you read the posts I am now publishing using this method that you’ll kind of compare them to the posts I’ve written before. You’ll see that the writing style is different.
I hope you’ll see that it’s a little bit easier to read and more conversational, objectives I had tried and tried to accomplish and just couldn’t when I was writing.
I hope that you’ll see that I’m able to include stories more easily. That’s something I was really struggling with when I was writing instead of speaking.
I hope you’ll see that I’m actually doing better at including helpful hints and handy tips, and writing in more day-to-day terms than writing philosophically. Though I do intend to mix it up and wax poetic and get all philosophical once in a while.
I hope that the overall quality of the entire blog just goes up.
Not an Accommodation, But a Sound Business Process
I do think that this is a great example of how you can have a goal, realize that the method that you’re using to get that goal is not the best method, and have the courage to try a totally new way to get there. I also think this example proves how differently I function in written vs. verbal communication. I honestly could not write more personably despite my great efforts. I might have gotten there eventually, but it would have been awhile.
My point: A super simple change can turn around the entire process and make it crazy-way-much easier.
So probably my autism caused me to need this workaround and while you could call it an “accommodation,” in every industry I have ever worked in, this type of gain in efficiency is considered a change in the pursuit of a sound business process, a competitive advantage even. You can read more on my thoughts about accommodations in my post, “The Most Important Similarity Between Accommodations and Competitive Advantage.”
I knew I had to do something, though I didn’t know what. Finding a solution proved such an unexpected blessing, and I think over time I will come to like publishing in this manner. I already like the benefits. It will take work and practice, but I am up for it!
I invite you to enjoy the posts that are coming down the pipeline, compare them to the things I’ve already written, and absolutely tell me what you think. Is it better, worse, or just different?
I’m excited to see if it’s going to go the direction that I want it to go.
It is your turn! What changes do you want to make? Share with us your goals, your struggles, your changes and your wins!