Once you start writing more regularly, all it literally takes is to open Microsoft Windows and just start doing it. There is no hesitation — it’s a continues flow of thoughts that lead to sentences. Where do those thoughts come from? Is it a dream in which my mind is coming up with things that I have experienced recently or in the past, or that I have read about, or are some subconscious ideas forming in my mind? I really don’t know. All that I know is that writing takes you through four different stages:
1. Ideation — Coming up with an idea
2. Planning — Structuring your thoughts
3. Writing — Just do it
4. Polishing — Polish until you are satisfied with the result
I just started recently to write more. I even don’t know what to expect from it. Will I get to know myself better? Will I be able to communicate more efficiently? Will I be better at life in general? Or is it just a waste of time? So, today’s question is whether you should write and how it can help you. I don’t believe that my writing is changing the world. It will not create a dent in the universe. However, I discover that when I’m creating my “[…] first draft is just you telling yourself the story” (Terry Pratchett) since you discover new things about yourself. In addition to that, there are the following reasons for writing.
1. Develop Better Communication Skills
Communication is key in today attention-seek society shaped more and more by social media. If you are not able to communicate effectively your message will never reach the right audience and nobody will ever care for your observations. It’s a skill that is not given but achieved by dedicated work as Octavia Butle wrote:
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” ― Octavia E. Butle
Nowadays you have to experiment more to know what works and what doesn’t work. What works today might not work tomorrow. It’s a trial-and-error process. Therefore be consistent and try from time to time to adjust your technique to reach more people.
2. Provide Value
The value that you provide to others through writing is uncountable. You might think that you suck at writing but for others, your observations can provide life-changing insights or experience. I remember how I was shaped by literature when I was 14 years old. It told me what it meant to be an intellectual, how to enjoy complex topics and learn from life-lessons. The author will never be able to fully appreciate what his or her content can mean to others. Please appreciate this more often because “[i]f the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it” (Wally Lamb).
3. Create Deeper Thoughts
When you are writing for a longer time, you are able to develop deeper thoughts since thinking is a time-consuming activity and you are facing more often the same topics, issues, and challenges. First of all, you search for inspirations and insights not only outside of you but also within you. In my last article, I wrote about “Developing a Blank Page Mind” which can be helpful to start to address interesting issues and develop an open-minded opinion on a specific topic.
4. Become a Producer
If you start writing, you are becoming a true producer, not a consumer. Do you want to consume for the rest of your life, or do you want to create something new? Although there is undeniably great content out there — more than you could ever consume. But maybe it would be more worthwhile to try to produce. Being a producer challenges you every day and “[u]ntil you’re ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great”(Cher). Especially your activity starts to be useful for others. And to achieve ultimate happiness it is best to try to be useful e.g. help a lady who also has a 2-year old with her stroller or call your friend to ask if you can help with something. Or maybe just write your first blog post tomorrow.
So how can writing help you?
- Develop Better Communications Skills
- Provide Value to Others
- Create Deeper Thoughts
- Become a Producer instead of a Consumer
Please try from time to time to write something that matters to you. Don’t hesitate we are all in the same boat. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.