It’s been a year since I started daily blogging / emailing. I started this practice to sharpen one of my unique strengths: my ability to generate insight through writing. I wrote every day I worked with few exceptions (pausing for conferences and personal retreats.) That came out to 196 small business growth short essays in the past year.

What did I learn? How have things changed? (

One thing I learned about the process of writing is that muses are real. When you hear them whisper in your ear, that’s what you should write about. Additionally, the routine of daily writing causes your mind to develop the habit of creating. Ideas coalesce as I go about my daily work.

Regarding small business growth, it’s difficult to synthesize 196 ideas about it (all gold 😀 ) and identify changes from a year ago. That almost feels like a research project. But I would say that more than ever, I see growth as an expression of the environment. Entrepreneurs and operators need to be adept at assessing and responding to how things are and what is coming. Capturing wind in sails. And this was the theme of my first article as I started the daily practice last year, so perhaps my ideas haven’t changed so much as developed? ( )

It’s easier for me to perceive the change within the business from the process of writing.

Focusing on the importance of adapting to the environment, I investigated how clients bought services for my business. This resulted in the agency channels report I published and a transformation of our strategy around customer acquisition from digital marketing techniques to pursuing relational marketing.

Our internal operations have been tightened down and our execution sharpened by lots of individual articles I penned. What’s emerging is a different kind of team and approach to agency work with a core team to plan projects and a flexing contractor base to deliver them.

For me personally, I’m investing more and more time into strategic planning. And writing about it as you’ve recently seen.

The final thing that I’ve learned is that there’s a cost to daily writing. It takes a significant chunk of my day (1 – 2 hours) and requires my best energy and attention. There have been several occasions where I’ve wondered if a weekly article isn’t a better approach because it would free up my creative energy the other days of the week.

One of my favorite thinkers, Ralph Waldo Emerson, believed that Nature is perfectly fair. For everything given, something is taken. And for every price paid, you gain something ( ). And that’s why I keep sitting down to the blank page every morning. Often, I’ve looked at that blinking cursor, tabula rasa, and got up forty minutes later having learned something new.

“A fever, a mutilation, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts. The death of a dear friend, wife, brother, lover, which seemed nothing but privation, somewhat later assumes the aspect of a guide or genius…”

Ralph waldo Emerson, Compensation

Featured image is an 1880 albumen print of Emerson. Used under public domain.