This Five-Hundred Year Old Italian Word Can Teach You a Lot About “Effortless” Blogging7 min read

Great content is often fascinating because it seems effortless. It appears to be the collective effect of inspiration, genius, and eureka moments.

There’s an old Italian word for this, sprezzatura, which blogger and marketer extraordinaire Seth Godin describes as, “a combination of elan and grace and class.”

It is addictive, in part, because it seems to be the embodiment of natural talent, of a god-given ability, the confluence of some supernatural forces acting together to create a precious gift we must cherish and share all over the web.

Well, most of us have to struggle. 

As Hemingway famously said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” He probably knew what he was talking about since he famously rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms some 47 times.

This means that, yes, there’s actually a lot of work and a lot of effort that goes on behind closed doors in order to make something seem effortless, and while sprezzatura might be just another magic illusion that both fascinates and terrifies us, it’s well worth trying to see the hidden contraptions that make this trick so powerful.

1. Don’t Aim for Perfection

To the aspiring blogger, there’s nothing more terrifying than the blank page of a document. 

It’s the white screen of death, acting as the prophet of a catastrophic failure which will end with us deciding to delete the article we were working on and throw our laptop against the wall.

There’s this perverse question, “What if the words I use aren’t the right ones?”

All hell breaks loose once you ask yourself that question.

What if your readers don’t understand what your article is all about? What if they hate it? What if they disagree with it?

What if you have yet to do enough research, or you have yet to gain enough mental clarity to write about your topic?

What if your work isn’t original enough?

What if there’s more to do, more to add, more to remove, more to edit, more words to embellish, so your readers fall in love with you?

Go down that rabbit hole and odds are you won’t ever come out.

The truth?

There’s no such thing as perfection, even though the perfectionist is quite persistent in its pursuit.

To paraphrase the great Renaissance master, Leonardo DaVinci, an article is never completed, only abandoned. 

Writing never ends. There’s always more that can be done, but should you?

In the world of business, there’s a term: minimum viable product.

A product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development.

In other words, do your best with what you have. Then let it go. Listen to the feedback. Work smarter and harder on your next post.

Letting go of your need to craft some words into perfection will make you realize this simple fact: a blank page is not to be feared, it is to be adored, for it is the ultimate expression of freedom.

I love blank pages. I can write what I damn well please. I can then edit, remove, and do all sorts of crazy things with my words. They’re not set in stone, and they don’t have to be perfect.

Once you understand that perfection is not possible, you stop trying for perfection, but rather start trying for expression; you want to express yourself in the clearest and most concise manner possible.

2. Sometimes You’re Going to Suck

Once you’ve gotten rid of your fear of perfection, you can allow yourself to suck. That’s great because we all suck from time to time.

As the cliche goes, the master has failed more times than the novice has even started. If you fear failure, you also shut yourself from progress.

Accept the fact that at least some of your content will such. It’s no big deal. Seriously, it’s not.

Failure and rejection are the prices we must pay for the privilege of sharing our words with the world. 

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