10 November 2018 : Pica #040
Contented with my content.
Twenty-four months have passed since I wrote Pica #zero, what benefits have I seen from regularly composing essays?
In my career, I have created visual, conceptual and strategic aspects of thousands of brands but writing, as an end product, was something other people did. Then, two years ago, with Alessandra Toscano, I founded Atstrat and started this blog as part of our activities to promote our company and ourselves. Now, exactly seven hundred and thirty days from the publication of my first Pica it seems fitting to dedicate this, my fortieth Pica, to examining and sharing the benefits I’ve reaped from this endeavour.
1 - Focus. Articulating an idea or opinion requires me to research my chosen subject. Convincing oneself of something is far easier than convincing others and examining the basis of my convictions is always interesting. Does the thought stand up as well on paper as it seems to in my mind? Does deeper research uncover supporting evidence or convincing contrarian views? Ideas can accommodate ambiguities when they only live in the mind - committing publicly to an opinion and expressing a convincing argument for it brings greater clarity to my beliefs and ideas.
2 - Knowledge. The effort of regularly expressing an informed opinion challenges me to stay up to date. Being busy means making choices about how I use my time and reading about topics related to my work is always an easy casualty of an overflowing agenda because it isn’t immediately productive. The discipline of regularly writing a Pica has given my information intake more importance and urgency. Now, I read more and the quality of my sources has improved because I am more discerning regarding the content I consume.
3 - Contacts. Through my writing, I’ve made contact with people I wouldn’t have otherwise. By publishing links to my Pica’s on sites like LinkedIn I can be visible to my existing contacts and beyond. Producing content is an effective strategy for most brands, for brand “me”, writing content is great. Anyone who is considering working with me can easily get a sense of who I am and how I think through my writing. It’s effective for creating visibility and due to the specific nature of the subject matter, the audience is relevant to my profession. On average, 92% of my inbound website traffic is direct to the “Pica pica” section.
4 - Authorship. Making something about yourself gives you new insights into making stuff for others. Despite decades of producing every conceivable form of content for other brands, creating something that presents my own brand has been a new experience. Like a ghostwriter becoming an eponymous author, the tools and techniques are the same but the voice is now mine. This slightly different perspective, interestingly, has given me a little more appreciation and empathy of what it means to be responsible for broadcasting something that represents a brand.
5 - Self-realization. The production of Pica’s is unique because it is the only professional activity where my personal satisfaction is actually a KPI. I need to be satisfied with my writing because authenticity is intrinsic to creating my personal brand and I am willing to forego clicks and quantity of contacts to pursue what I perceive to be quality. Also, pragmatically, if I’m not happy writing I will find it harder to write and will eventually stop. Creating Pica’s is rewarding, the thinking, researching, the act of writing (and even revising) is work I enjoy. I like creating the accompanying images (only 5 of the 41 Pica images, so far, were not created by me). I am enjoying what I perceive to be an improvement in my writing (like a muscle, any skill improves with exercise) and it gives me the motivation to work harder at it, to demand more of myself. It’s a virtuous circle - good writing demands good thinking and vice versa.
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