I have to write an article on Google Analytics.
I don’t really care to write that article, but I need to know how to set up goals using Google Analytics. The article has been sitting in my draft post queue for weeks, clogging up my schedule and attempting to stare me down. So far, it’s winning.
Recall I wrote a cool article on how to kill two birds with one stone. This article is like that. I have to write the Google analytics article, which I don’t want to do, so I’m writing this article in parallel demonstrating to all my loyal readers (bofem) just how I do that.
First things first, as always… tunes… how about… yes! That’s it. Bitches Brew. Fits my cranky mood, and the obnoxious writing task ahead of me.
As it turns out, I first listened to this album while immersed in finished my graduate work at Cal. Now, that’s not all that interesting, but… I was listening to an MP3 file I downloaded using… wait for it… Napster! Yes! (I can hear the comments now: “No way, dude!” and “You’re old.”).
Next up, and this is the most important part of the process I’m about to explain to you, is finding something else to do that I like even less. Like laundry. Or housecleaning. Or cleaning my desk. Writing a boring article will fun compared to any of those activities.
Getting started when you don’t know where to start
Read everything. Totally immerse yourself in the subject.
Take lots and lots of notes. Don’t worry about formatting.
If you take enough notes, you will find that about 10% of your notes will magically congeal into a pretty decent article without having to think about it too much.
What does this mean?
It means if you want to write a 1000 word article, prepare to take 10,000 words of notes.
It’s not that hard really, because it’s mechanical. You don’t really have to think that much. Just read everything you can, write down in your own words what is interesting or important. Do some experiments, write down the results. Collect references and web pages with material that seems relevant.
Sort your notes
As your notes pile up, cycle back through periodically and sort them into topic areas, similar to how you created categories for your blog over at Website In A Weekend.
(That’s the dishes… time to examine the laundry… water the plants…)
Maybe take a look at my “Edit >> Posts” page too. Surely there’s some drafts that could use some attention, maybe a “free” article will pop out. It’s happened before. I do some of my best work when I’m supposed to be doing something else.
How many notes did you actually take?
I bet it wasn’t 10,000. I bet once you committed to taking as many notes as necessary, your writing started to gel. Mine did. The Google Analytics article is now finished and scheduled to publish. I’ll link to it once it’s published (see below).
Was this a pain in the butt?
Did I learn anything? Yep. My ability to instrument my websites just took a step up.
Am I glad I sucked it up and took the time to crank this out?
And yes, the dishes did get done… but the laundry did NOT! Turns out I would rather write an article on Google Analytics than wash clothes. How ’bout that.