First off, I’m going to start this post with a few things that I noticed since I’ve recently decided to dive back into a daily writing goal.
- Writing gets you in your head.
There’s no way around it, especially if you’re writing with the objective to construct and complete any abstract thoughts that you’ve been passively sitting on.
- Writing takes up more time than you think, sometimes.
500 words could take me as quick as 30 minutes, or as long as two hours. It takes a lot longer to write something when you don’t have an idea to inspire you.
There’re so many instances where I’d write up to 200 words before I scrap everything and start writing something worthy of my personal standards. Four years ago, it took me DAYS to write a single post—and that post would be littered with try-hard prose and fluff.
- I never start off any piece of writing with a title.
It’s just too fucking constricting.
I’d rather just start typing out sentences that resemble the notions in my head until something catches on. After I finish the post, I reread it and come up with a name afterward.
Second off, now that I’m kind of on a roll let’s talk about five points of advice for anyone who wants to use writing as a tool for self-development.
1. WRITE EVERYDAY
In the beginning, you might find yourself writing about what you think your “target audience” might want to read. Fuck that. Write about something that YOU want to write about. Write something that YOU would want to read.
Validation or lack of validation for your writing will do nothing but get you stifled and reactive. Fuck upvotes and Facebook likes. The very reason why I’m writing in a semi-private WordPress is to free myself from the shackles of validation.
It allows me the freedom to truly not give a fuck about other people’s opinions and to put a greater focus on developing my opinions. The publishing aspect is still here, so even though I don’t have an audience, I’m still practicing the act of creating something, refining my creation, then setting it free.
Also, lower the bar for what an acceptable post should be.
When I first started to write, I would have one or two paragraphs outlining some “epiphany” I had earlier in the day.
The goal was to have an idea, give that idea a physical form, refine it to make it sound and look good, then ship that motherfucker into the universe.
A few tips on how to find something to write about:
- Watch Ted Talks and just write about what you just saw.
- Attend live seminars with the intention of sparking a flicker of insight that could lead to an original thought, which could result in a fun writing session.
- Scour subreddits. I sometimes find myself compelled to answer some random question in depth and detail.
- Write about your opinions about the events of your day.
It’s not hard to find something to write about. The goal is to get into the habit of listening to the inspiration within you, putting that abstract inspiration into the physical realm, make it sound and look beautiful, then ship the fuck out of it.
2. WRITE WITH PASSION AND EMOTION
Don’t just plod along and convey information. Write as if you were the sole reader and try to impress the fuck out of yourself.
I honestly believe that we already have all the answers for every problem in our subconscious. When I write, I’m typically struggling with understanding something that’s been bothering me. So, the majority of my posts in the past have been ME writing to MYSELF about better ways to think, better ways to approach problems, and higher ideas to formulate and share.
I write with the intent of motivating myself, a cool byproduct of that is that it give my writing a bit more character and pop.
- Watch content that’s relevant to the problems that you’re currently trying to solve.
- Always be feeding your subconscious.
- Consume tons of content.
- Then, sit down and start to write.
- Pull from your infinite subconscious, ideas and concepts that make sense when brought together.
To help you write with passion and emotion…
3. USE YOUR CURRENT EMOTIONS AS WRITING FUEL
- Find yourself happy? Write something happy.
- Feeling sad and not yourself? Write something sad and pitiful.
- Find yourself super excited about something? Write with excitement about your excitement.
- Did something piss you off? Pour that anger out on your keyboard.
- Hungover? Write about the sorrows of a night of excess.
Get into the habit of writing with emotions behind it. The motivation to complete your thoughts and finish a piece will be there if you own your personal state.
4. HAVE STRONG OPINIONS, BUT BE OPENMINDED
First of all, before you get all opinionated on anyone, do your fucking research.
Once you’ve gathered enough info to satisfy your opinion, write passionately about that view. Pull out quotes from other sources that help prove your point. Having a horse in the race makes things a lot more interesting. If you’re afraid of people judging you on your strong opinions, you probably haven’t done enough research.
BUT, hear people out and make sure to do research on the other side of your beliefs. Numerous times I’ve written things, and before posting, I’d do some more research and had my opinions change.
A post that can display a change of perspective is gold—and because YOU’RE writing it, you would have internalized that change of opinion better than someone convincing you otherwise.
5. USE WRITING AS THERAPY
Writing is the best tool for you to make sense of all the cluttered thoughts that go on in your head. It forces you to focus on unique concepts, string them together and give them structure.
The more and more that you get into writing, the more therapeutic it becomes. When you write, you’re defragmenting and cleaning out legitimate brain cache. I didn’t know how much clutter was in my head until I started writing and sorting everything out.
When I write, I don’t make an outline before hand to “hit points” as I’m writing. I always find myself with some vague idea that slowly takes form. As I get into a flow and naturally pull from my subconscious, things all seem to fall into place.
So many times have I begun to write thinking that I was going to make a shit post and when I finished, I’d look back and see that it turned out way better than I expected.
“You couldn’t do that if you tried” is a quote I constantly tell myself after writing something that I really enjoyed.
Writing has changed my life.
Writing is like a running receipt of all the mental transactions that I’ve recently done, and it’s a way to capture a snapshot of my mental process in any particular moment of my life.
When in doubt, write.