If you follow bloggers, YouTubers, and social media influencers for long enough they’ll inevitably provide you with some insight and tips about how they’ve achieved the success they’ve achieved. I follow hundreds of these folks, and often their advice is profound. Sometimes it’s irritating, but mostly because we can all be pretty bad about wanting to hear more advice that tells us we’re doing everything right, and less that we’re doing things all wrong.

One piece of advice I see as common to nearly every content creator is really very simple. So simple, in fact, that it’s kind of eye-rolling hard to buy. The advice is be consistent.

If you are creating YouTube content, posting to social media, running livestreams, writing blog posts—if you’re doing these things with the hope of making them your career, then success is going to come down to consistency. Do the thing, do it in a predictable way, and do it again and again.

The foundation of this, really, is that you are training your market (your viewer, listener, reader) on what to expect from you, and then you are meeting that expectation. Consistency is the absolute fastest way to build a platform that can sustain you as you move forward in your career.

The fastest way… but not necessarily a fast way.

The thing about consistency is that it takes time. Lots of time. Years, sometimes. Little drops add up to big oceans, with enough time.

Think of the film The Shawshank Redemption. When Andy asks for a rock hammer, he assures Red that it’s such a tiny thing he could never use it as a weapon, or as an escape tool. And it’s true… it’s tiny. Not much bigger than his thumb.

And yet, over the course of years Andy used that tiny little hammer to chip away at his wall. Tap by tap, scrape by scrape, the hole in his wall got bigger, and bigger, until finally it was big enough to fit through and allow him to escape.

Consistency is your tiny rock hammer. It may not make a big hole all at once, but it can chip away at the wall until you get freedom, glorious freedom.

For authors, consistency comes down to a few key activities.

You should be writing consistent. I recommend writing every single day, and setting a word count target. Even if that target is just 500 words. Even if that target is just 100 words. Write those words every single day, and they’ll add up.

You should be marketing consistently. Send some tweets or post on Instagram each day. Share things to Pinterest every day. Write a blog post or do a livestream every week. Boost a Facebook post. Compose an email newsletter once a month. Pick a thing, pick a schedule, and then be consistent in your efforts. It pays off.

Sharpen your saw consistently. Don’t forget, being a writer is about relaying experiences, thoughts, and ideas. And all of those have to come from somewhere. “Sharpening your saw” means replenishing your personal storehouse of insights and ideas by exposing yourself to experiences and books and films and other sources of inspiration as often as possible. Make time to do that every week, maybe even every day, and you’ll always have more to share.

Learn consistently. Always be learning. Constantly learn. Set aside time each day, week, or month just to learn and practice a new skill, and come back to it regularly. Make it a habit to learn and improve and you will see your life completely change over the course of a year.

Consistency is a miracle super power. It’s a compound effect. Doing the right thing, doing the good thing, with consistent effort will ultimately improve you in ways you could never have predicted.