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5 of the most valuable lessons I learned writing and publishing daily for fourteen years
I've written something on most days for over a decade.
I get an icky feeling if I don't.
And, I've published what I've written on most days, whether it's a Medium article, Twitter thread or tweet, a newsletter, or an Instagram caption.
It's easily the best habit I've developed (after eating).
I wracked my brains for something to give you, and I knew you'd love it if I distilled my top lessons from 14 years of writing:
1. It's a powerful form of therapy.
Though 'talk therapy' may apply to a few, you can save years of time and energy by developing a writing (and sharing that writing) habit.
From ideation through to the first draft and final edit, writing gets me out of my head and thinking in a way that connects me to the people around me. You, the reader.
You're operating on a new level when you decide to be a writer. Your whole context for existence changes.
You're not here to survive. You're here to serve and thrive.
Writing is the conduit through which this is possible. Writing can start with journaling before progressing to published pieces. In fact, that's what good writing is.
It's an emotional release, a way to get your thoughts and electrical feelings out of you and external to you.
This process of digging out what's in you and even taking the courage to show others is cathartic. You're peeling away layers, and you will walk away lighter.
Develop the habit of writing not only to grow your brand and business but to settle your mind and grow as a person.
2. Writing is accessible to readers and writers.
What do I mean by this? Firstly, writing has the potential to reach millions of people across the globe. And these numbers are continually rising, with new users jumping on platforms like Twitter, Medium, Linkedin and Instagram daily.
The access is even greater when writing is translated into new languages and audio (through ai support). This is an incredible time to be a writer of words. Your message can now be digested by people in all corners of the globe.
At the same time, writing is also a highly accessible medium.
You don't need clever editing skills, years of college, or expensive equipment like cameras to get involved in the game of writing.
And this is why more and more writers are emerging onto the scene.
It's not a totally open field, but it's accessible.
You're also able, for example, to re-purpose and add new bits and pieces to written material that you can't do with audio or video.
For example, you can take your online articles and create a book.
I'm discovering new opportunities with writing every week, with new platforms opening up (like Simily or soon-to-arrive (?) Twitter Articles), and channels to reach more people like Substack.
3. Writing is the best way to process, formulate and learn information.
They say that if you want to internalise information in the best way possible, find a way to teach it.
In a very similar way, and I'd argue a more effective way, you can write to sharpen your expertise in whatever you want to master.
Not only do you have to think like a teacher when you present insights via your words, but you also have to consider precisely what order in which words should be placed and what words best relay that information.
When we write, we need to understand our sentences for our readers to understand them too.
So you have to be precise about the choices you make that best present the information you want others to resonate with.
Plus, you have the time and space to do so, which is an entirely different experience to, say, delivering a speech live.
When we write, mainly when we write consistently on similar topics, it's like training martial arts for our brains on particular issues.
We can't help but learn quickly and become authorities on topics.
4. Writing isn't really about writing.
Writing is like the cover of a book. There's so much more to what comprises who we are as writers that lie beneath.
Here's what writing is really about (and what will build your audience the fastest):
It's about understanding emotions.
We need to manage our emotions to write even when we don't want to.
But it's also about getting in touch with - and expressing - our feelings so that we don't bore ourselves or our readers to tears when we present our ideas.
It's about discipline.
The world's greatest and most memorable writers are always disciplined.
They structured their lives so that they wrote when they needed to and repeatedly put pen to paper, and again and again - that's what made them great.
It's about serving other people.
Writing for yourself first is vital. You need to stir yourself up into aliveness to write words with impact.
But that's only half the picture.
There must be awareness of the recipient, and it will benefit your writing tremendously when you discover the part of you that is curious about helping others and speaking to them in a way that clicks.
You needn't resonate with all, but when you develop your sense for what people are drawn to, you bridge the gap that average writers miss.
It's about understanding humanity.
Writing is essentially an exploration of human nature, even if you're writing about washing machine technologies.
Why? Because someone needs to read what you're writing.
So you need to put words in an order people notice, which requires an intimate understanding of what holds people's attention.
If you lose attention, that's game over in this business.
So writing is a game of psychology, humanity, fears, pains, struggles, connection-making and providing solutions.
5. Those who put in the most reps win at writing.
To be a stand-out writer, you need to get comfortable with this idea: no one will read your shit until you've written and shared at least 300 pieces.
OK, I'm not saying you won't get any engagement or attract any interest with all this work…BUT you must be willing to stomach the idea. Because writing is - like many vocations that require skill - not an overnight game.
There are no shortcuts.
Those who believe they can find a clever way to cheat the system and have their career take off after their sixth article are kidding themselves.
You may have an article that goes viral. Great. But how sustainable is that?
Writing online is a game of accumulation - both of pieces, books, and experiences - and skill.
Putting in the reps daily is obviously becoming a cliche, but it's a cliche for a reason: it's vital.
You can have a fantastic story. You can be naturally gifted at writing and hold a ton of potential as a writer. You can have the advantage of money to support you as you start. You can have all this but still see poor results if you don't write and share regularly.
Amazing things happen when you achieve the lift-off effect when your words catch air and eyeballs.
And this can't happen if you putter about pooping out an article or chapter every three weeks.
You are not a writer if you don't write (a lot).
Thank you for reading.
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