Stop Blogging The Hard Way

You Can Blog The Hard Way Or You Can Blog The Easy Way.


You might not believe this story I’m about to tell you.

Fact is, I find it hard to believe, too.

But it has to do with discovering — right in the middle of an obstacle course — how I was living “all wrong.”

Are you familiar with obstacle training courses? Perhaps you’ve even gone on one yourself.

Sometimes they’re called “outdoor leadership” classes.

110316-N-KK330-369 SAN DIEGO (March 16, 2011) - Chief Special Warfare Operator David Goggins climbs the cargo net obstacle with 15 year-old George Alvarado, a Make-A-Wish Foundation recipient. Alvarado, who underwent a heart transplant last year, realized his dream of being a Navy SEAL, as he toured Naval Special Warfare facilities with Goggins, who also endured two heart surgeries during his career. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a charity organization that allows children with life threatening illnesses to live their dreams. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dominique Lasco/Released)

You know, the ones where you have an outdoor adventure with rappelling, rock climbs, traversing rough country, zip lines, jumps, team exercises, and Bigfoot?  (I’m only kidding about Bigfoot. He’d cost extra.)

I don’t know if the idea behind them is to get a sudden insight into one of your core character flaws, but that’s sure what happened to me.

I was two-thirds of the way to the top of a cargo net, enroute to a zip-line platform, when I suddenly became aware that I was only using my arms to pull me upward as I climbed the net.

The next thought that penetrated my skull was, “Wouldn’t this be a lot easier, if I used my legs, too”?

So I tested out that whole “legs and feet” technique.

And, ya know what?

It WAS a LOT easier when I put my legs into it.

The first thing I noticed when I started pushing up with my legs, was that my arms had a lot less work to do.

I started moving faster toward the platform. And what had been an ordeal until then became just simple repetitive motion with very little effort after that…

Compared to what it’d been like when I was doing it MY WAY.

How Often Do You Run An Obstacle Course?

I’m guessing, like most people, you don’t run obstacle courses all that often.

So I want to bring this story around to something YOU can put into action TODAY!

This story came to mind because of something a friend had pointed out to me just the other day.

My friend’s a graphic designer and a software developer.

And he was showing me how he makes the graphics for some of his social media, his blog, and his YouTube channel.

His artwork has that contemporary “flat” look that gets used a lot because it lets you know right away that it’s contemporary, “Web 3.0” AND it’s particularly good at getting ideas across!

So I asked him how he has time to do all of his own graphics as well as those for his clients, and to make them look so good, too.

And he asked me if I wanted to know what his biggest time-saving trick was.

Well, heck, yeah, I wanted to know.

Wouldn’t you?

So I had him tell me…

He said it was this:

“I NEVER start a project from scratch anymore.”

Never start from scratch?

“A blank piece of paper or a blank screen is just too big an obstacle to getting cracking with the creative process,” he said.

For adult beginners, especially, it’s enough to stop you from getting going with your project at all.

It’s as if you’ve hit a cargo net or a vertical rock wall on your way through an Outward Bound course. And to make it worse, cargo nets and climbing rocks AREN’T your thing.

Am I right?

You know I am.

That Core Character Defect I Mentioned At The Beginning Of This Post

There’s a scene in every prison movie where the warden tells the new prisoners that they can either do their time the easy way or the hard way.

Well, that cargo net brought home to me a — long-overdue — insight: I’d been doing a lot of things in my life the hard way.

And there are ALWAYS easier ways to do them.

The trick is to first realize that you’re doing it the hard way and then to find an easier way.

Like using your arms AND your legs when climbing.cropped USCG-week-in-the-life-boot-camp-cargo-net-080213

Or when you’re doing graphics — or writing blog posts — to do what my friend Bertrand does:

“Whenever I’m starting a new project,” he told me, “I always find an inspiration and start with that, rather than starting from scratch.”

“So for my graphics, for example, I’ll find a design that I really like and bring it into my design software.”

For Bertrand that design software is Youzign, one of the easiest-to-use graphics applications.

Bertrand created Youzign because he needed something easier to use and less expensive than PhotoShop.

And he built what he calls his “canvas” into the cloud-based application.

Bertrand uses the original illustrationfor inspiration but doesn’t copy it. He imports a graphic that he likes onto the canvas and digitally “traces” over it by dragging and dropping built-in design elements on top.

“Once you have something to start with,” he told me, “the work just flows, and it flows fast.”

“It’s no longer the time-consuming struggle that it used to be,” Bertrand says. “It’s a LOT easier.”

If you need to create graphics for your blog, your FB page, Twitter card or YouTube channel, Youzign is exactly the graphics program that you need. And using Bertrand’s “inspiration” method is exactly how you should use it.

Now as for creating blog posts, here’s how you’d apply Bertrand’s method.

  • Don’t try to come up with a completely new topic out of the blue.
  • Do find an article on a topic related to your blog and let it inspire you.
  • Try to put the ideas — not the words — in the article into your own words
  • Illustrate the ideas with a story you can tell about something that’s happened in your life.

Do you see how this will make your blog post original and unique?

Even though you might have started with an idea of someone else’s that inspired you!

I’d love to hear from you after you’ve tried this technique a time or two.

Let me know how it worked for you.

Did you worry less about having something “original” to say?

How much easier was it?

I’d love to know.



10 thoughts on “Stop Blogging The Hard Way

  1. Hi Phil,
    I really liked the way you linked the story about obstacle courses and starting from scratch.

    This is a very clever concept that I am most grateful to you for sharing.

    Grabbing inspiration from others and then putting our own unique twist on things is going to save me a heck of a lot of time.

    So many thanks mate.

    By the way I purchased YouZign some time back and even an old non-techie like me could use it!

    Best wishes from the remote Thai village marketer


    • Great to hear your thoughts, Peter.
      The experience of too many things to do and so little time to do it was on my mind when I wrote this.
      So I’m glad you see this technique saving you time, too.
      I agree with you about Youzign’s ease-of-use. It’s one of the reasons I actually use it! :^)

  2. Thank you for this insightful post, Phil!
    This is really something I’m gonna use now. Tired of writing posts the hard way) Don’t wanna do anything the hard way)

  3. I love obstacle courses. My first experience was in the army where they tried to use the obstacle course to break us.
    Thank you for the insight on your obstacle course experience.

  4. An interesting and inspiring post, Phillip.

    I do like the way you intertwined the story of the obstacle course with the main point of always doing things the hard way.

    The realization of deploying your existing lower limbs into a new solution for the cargo net issue was very pertinent – and amusing.

    Way back, sometime in the previous millennium, I graduated in electronics and worked in hardware & software design/development for a few years.

    I soon learned that reusing circuit & software designs for the creation of something new and unique was definitely the right approach.

    After all, what’s the point in recreating the wheel?

    By the way, I also own and use Youzign and agree that it’s a great product.

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