Successful creators are consistent creators.
They develop consistent work habits, share creations with the world on a consistent schedule, focus on outputs instead of outcomes, and leverage technology to increase their productivity.
Creators who prioritize consistency are rewarded for it.
Here are a few ways you can be too…
Start With The Smallest Possible Habit
Consistency is a result of habits.
And the key to habit development is to start small.
Break your creative process down to the smallest possible action and start to habitize it. Doing so builds momentum and makes it easy to graduate to to bigger and bigger habits.
For example, let’s say you want to write 1,000 words a day.
Start by developing a habit of writing just 100 words a day. Or if even that’s too challenging, start at a sentence a day.
Pick a starting point so ridiculously easy you have no excuse not to do it.
Author and habits expert James Clear tells a story that’s a great example of this approach.
A man wanted to build the habit of working out multiple times a week, but expected it to be a struggle.
So he started smaller — he realized he first had to build the habit of going to the gym.
For several weeks he got his gym clothes on, left the house, drove to the gym, and came back home after doing a workout of five minutes or less.
His goal was to habitualize the process of going to the gym because he knew once he mastered that small step, it would be easier to stack the next habit (actually working out) on top of it.
Sure enough, it worked.
You can watch Clear tell the story at the 4:45 mark of this interview:
Base Your Goals On Output Instead Of Outcome
Consistent creators make consistency a goal and focus on output instead of outcomes.
A goal tied to a potential outcome — like a specific number of views, followers, or sales — is never entirely in your control.
While it’s influenced by the consistency of your work, an outcome goal doesn’t measure the consistency of your work and therefore it’s easy for consistency to fall by the wayside.
A better approach is to tie your goals to outputs, which are 100% in your control.
If your goal is to publish a blog post every week, make 10 sales outreach calls a day, or write 1,000 words of your novel every day, your success or failure is 100% in your control.
Output goals ensure you remain focused on being a consistent creator which increases the likelihood you become one.
As the saying goes, “What gets measured, gets done.”
For more on this concept, check out my 100x Method.
Commit To Release Your Creations At A Set Time
To be a consistent creator, you can’t be a perfectionist.
If you forever tweak your creations in an attempt to improve them, you’ll fall into an infinite loop and never actually put your work into the world.
Perfection is the enemy of consistency.
A creation that’s “not quite ready” and released, is better than one which is “almost perfect” and not released. As the saying goes, done is better than perfect.
To overcome your perfectionist tendencies, commit to a specific time to release your creations and stick to it.
I do this with my For The Interested newsletter and it’s how I’ve managed to publish it every week for four years.
My commitment to publish every Sunday morning at 6 am PST — no matter what — prevents me from endlessly tinkering with it or procrastinating.
It doesn’t matter when or at what frequency you choose to release your work, but pick a time and stick to it.
That constraint will help you become more consistent.
As Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels famously said, “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready, it goes on because it’s 11:30.”
Batch The Work And Leverage Technology
Consistency doesn’t have to be time-consuming.
Consistent creators develop systems to make it easier to produce and release work on a regular basis.
This often involves batching the work —creating multiple things at one time — and leveraging technology to distribute it at a later point.
I do this with Twitter.
It’s important to be consistent on Twitter, so I set a goal to tweet at least four times a day.
(Side note: Notice how I set an output goal as opposed to an outcome goal such as attracting a certain number of followers?)
Posting four tweets a day on the fly every day would not be sustainable for me — stuff would come up, I might struggle to come up with something to post, and I’d inevitably not do it consistently.
But, by batching the work and leveraging technology, it’s been easy for me to post more than four tweets a day for months.
I simply sit down and write a bunch of tweets once a week (i.e., “batch the work”) and use the app Buffer to schedule and publish them automatically at specific times during the course of the week.
A similar approach can be employed in just about anything you do — you can schedule newsletters, social posts, blog posts, videos, emails, or just about anything to roll out whenever you’d like.
A Final Thought About Consistency
The above tactics will help you become a more consistent creator if you use them, but there’s one element I didn’t mention that’s a prerequisite for any of them to work.
You have to want to be consistent.
Until you acknowledge that consistency is a key element in the success of any creative endeavor, you’ll never be able to attain it.
But since you read this post, I’m guessing you’re already more than halfway there.