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7 Ways To Consistently Lead Your Life With The Power of Writing

Writing is leadership.

When you learn how to lead your self, you can lead the entire world. Developing a writing habit can train your leadership.

I love freestyling.

Flurries of snow floated down outside on metallic tanks, while I sat in the control room at a factory in Minnedosa, Canada. It was a freezing Saturday. 

In my steel-toe boots, I found a way to get the internet on my phone. I had graphs of fermentation, evaporation, and distillation processes on the left monitor. I had a system of YouTube channels on the right. I watched a grainy documentary on the culture of instantaneous rapping called “The Art of Freestyling.”

On my long drives from the plant back to the hotel, I played Alchemist beat tapes and freestyled.

Back in Austin, I’d drive my shiny navy blue 325i BMW to the front of the state capital on Tuesdays. In the darkness of the dry hot Austin nights, a few of us gathered in a circle to freestyle for hours.

The guy that brought the boombox called himself Syllable.

It’s the way I lived my life.
I went with the flow.
It’s the way I made my beats.

No rhyme or reason, just freestyling.

Then 2019 comes. I’m writing my first book. I interviewed a few musicians, designers, and entrepreneurs. I had researched the impact of music on innovation. 

I’d write a bit. Then stop.

Something else to research.
I’d open up countless tabs on my browser.
Hours later, no words written down. Just more information gathered.

My freestyle was failing me. 

I had to tap back into my systems engineering mind. I needed to force myself to write.

One morning, in the humid weather of Ikeja, Lagos, I turned the internet off on my laptop. Set a timer for 15 minutes and told myself: “Don’t do anything on this computer but look at this page and write.”

I fidgeted. My body wanted to do something else. I rubbed my palms against my thighs. The blinking cursor seared my eyes. I took unnecessary deep breaths. I wrote one word, then the other, then another.

The alarm went off.
I had written an entire page.

That day I learned an important lesson: Writing is easy. Sitting down to write is the hard part.

I coined my phrase “AIS” system of writing: “Ass-In-Seat”

It’s a system that forces me to sit. It hasn’t failed me ever since.

The Inconsistent Trap

It’s hard to stay consistent.

Most of us fall for the enthusiasm trap.

We start with excitement at the sight of a new and shiny idea but soon fall into the valley of dead ideas – the project plateau.

Ideas are easy.
Execution is hard.

This happens with anything that requires a habit: starting a new venture, sticking to a diet, developing a spiritual practice, and getting your ideas into the world to move people.

Writing a well-crafted piece is attainable.

But writing two is not as easy. How about 3, 5, 10?

Just like anything that requires the evolution of self, writing consistently requires systems and accountability to overcome the perpetual resistance that wants to stop you from living your full life.

You need a clear intention and then direct your attention towards that intention.

The best way to put guardrails around your attention is with repeatable systems and processes.

Writing consistently happens with systems.

7-Step System For Consistent Writing

It’s systems that have gotten me this far. 

I’ve used it to publish 3 books. I’ve used it to grow my online presence. I’ve used it to build my business and develop more autonomy in my life while finding meaning in the mundane.

You can do it too. 

When you write consistently, you take leadership of your life. You clarify your thinking and values. You also get better at communicating to attract like-minded people.

Here are 7 ways to build a consistent writing practice.

1. Read to write (feed your mind)

Imagine exercising without eating, you’d be exhausted.

Now imagine eating without exercising, you’d be carrying on too much.

Writing is like an exercise for the mind. Reading is how you feed your mind with new and interesting material. If you want to write consistently, make sure you are reading consistently.

It doesn’t have to be books alone.

You can listen to audiobooks, podcasts, interviews, or watch movies. As long as you are deliberate with how you consume.

Feed your mind to consistently have raw material to develop.

2. Take notes (be ready so you don’t have to get ready)

Write before you have to write.

One of the biggest challenges with writing is the huge gap between when you have an idea and when you write it down. You can have an idea on a walk. You can hear something interesting on a podcast. But you might think, “I’ll remember that for later.”

Don’t do it. Please don’t do it.

Your memory will most likely fail you.

Your best bet is to develop a note-taking practice. The single biggest thing that has helped me stay consistent with my writing is note-taking.

I try to take one note per day. Now I have close to 800 notes that I can always reference to look for new ideas that I jotted down.

Take notes to use for later.

3. Use templates and structure (don’t reinvent the wheel)

Don’t start from a blank page.

Structure is your friend. A lot of people want to write like they are in a French cafe sitting next to James Baldwin and Ernest Hemingway. They have romantic ideas of opening up a blank page and just letting the words flow.

Most of them will never write.

Meanwhile, so-called mediocre writers will practice within the constraints of a clear template. These writers will zoom past the romantics. Harsh truth: life favors the brave.

Don’t be in fairy tale land. Use structure and templates to practice and keep you consistent.

4. Have a clear output (start here)

Like Notorious BIG said in the Ten Crack Commandments “No. 4, this should have been No. 1 for me”

I should have started with this.

If you don’t have a destination, then why bother getting into the vehicle? You have to set your intention to be consistent. That means you need a place to output your writing.

In Jan 2023, I set an intention to publish a weekly newsletter. This is the 61st one.

Half of those weeks I struggled to do it. But I knew I had an intention to stick to. Therefore, regardless of what happened during the week, “I ship on Saturday.”

Define what “done is:” a monthly substack, a weekly LinkedIn post, a daily X or Medium post.

Whatever it is, commit to doing it for 12 months.

You’d be surprised how much growth you’d experience.

5. Use community for accountability (what are you shipping for?)

Your willpower will only get you so far. Your environment will take you all the way.

Don’t rely solely on your personal discipline. It will fail you – unless you’re David Goggins. For us mere people who have fat on our bodies, we need a supportive environment. Find a community that will support your goals and keep you accountable.

Tell 10 friends and family that you plan on sending (insert your output here) and go for it.

The expectation from your community will keep you accountable and they will support you when the going gets tough.

6. Identify as a leader

Writing is leadership.

Writing is not something that poets do to throw flowery words at you. Neither is it just something to entertain you in your nest when you binge-watch your next Netflix set. Writing is thinking.

It’s how you understand yourself and the world around you.

It’s the way you create and generate new ideas. It’s how you share and persuade people on your mission. It’s how you find your mission. It’s how you set goals, stick to them, and reflect on them.

Self-awareness is one of the most important traits of a leader. Writing gets you there.

You are not just writing. You are leading your life.

Identify as a leader and put those leadership thoughts out there.

7. Pay attention to your life (make it interesting)

One of the things I hear the most from people that want to write is “but I don’t have much to write about.”

Write to be observant.

I watched a documentary about time. There’s a reason why when you were a child, time moved very slowly. A day could feel like a month. A summer, a lifetime. Fast forward to the promise of adulthood. Zap. One decade, gone like a snap of a finger.

There’s a reason for this. 

As an adult, you develop habits and routines. Everything seems mundane. You just keep going like a boring train. Time zips by fast.

Children, on the other hand, are curious. Everything they experience is new. They pay attention to the wonders of the world. Time slows down for them.

Slow things down. Pay more attention to your daily life.

There is always something interesting happening that’s worth pausing for.

Note it down.

Your note-taking practice will help with this. It makes your life more interesting to you.

When you set your intention, develop a system, and drive your attention to that intention, you create a recipe for flow states.

Writing can be a consistent practice. A meditation that drops you into flow states. Helping you process, understand, and communicate yourself.

I hope you find your system to write and lead more consistently.

Yours truly,

P.S. If you read this far, can you do me a favor? Can you forward this letter to 1 friend or family member who you think would enjoy it (double favor: ask them to subscribe). Thank You. 

P.P.S Not a subscriber? Get weekly letters on how to leverage writing, storytelling, and creativity to achieve your personal and professional goals (with a mix of music, art, business, history, and vibes). ​Subscribe here.​

Who is Nifemi?

Hey I’m Nifemi of NapoRepublic

I help busy people fit in a creative practice to bring to bring order to their reality and help them live a more meaningful life through writing and reflection.

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