I’ve been making a living as a writer for three years now. But I’ve been writing since I was 16. That means I didn’t get any visible benefits from it for years.
Why did I still continue writing all those years?
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- It’s therapeutic
We all drive ourselves crazy with excessive thinking at times. But when you put your thoughts into words, they become less scary. When you write down what scares you, you will automatically work on a solution. Sometimes the solution is acceptance. But you need to write those things down first.
- It improves your self-discipline
Living a life of pleasure is simple. Everyone can “Netflix and chill.” It’s easy to “hang out” all the time. But those easy things will not give you inner satisfaction. The reason that we don’t do anything useful with our precious time is that we lack self-discipline. But when you write every day, you strengthen your discipline. You can use that better self-discipline to achieve virtually anything in life.
- You become a better persuader
Writing is nothing more than persuading the reader with words. But your tools are limited—you can only use words to tell a story. And when you write for yourself, you’re trying to convince yourself of your own thoughts. So the more you write, the better you become at persuasion.
- You improve your self-knowledge
Nothing will help you to get to know yourself more than translating your thoughts into words. When you force yourself to write every day, you automatically become more aware of your thoughts. And self-awareness is one of the most important skills that predict career success.
- It helps you to make better decisions
Too often, we do something without fully understanding why we do it. Think about it. How often do you answer “I don’t know” when someone asks you “Why did you do that?” That’s the sign of weak thinking. Sure, we don’t know everything. But we must be aware of that too. And when you write about your decision-making process, you will automatically become more aware of the “why.”
“I can see the benefits. But how did those things improve your career?”
Here you go:
- When I was at University, I nailed all my papers and essays. And by the time I had to write my Master’s thesis, I was already a pro. While my fellow students were procrastinating and sometimes took a full year to write their thesis, I finished mine in 4 months.
- When I wanted to get a job, I was invited to interview for almost every job I applied to. I wrote persuasive cover letters that recruiters could not resist.
- When I worked in sales, I was the top performing salesperson in the first year. All my sales were the result of my ability to write good pitch emails.
- When I started my business, I quickly formulated the mission and vision of the company. That helped us to identify our clients and serve them better.
- When I started my blog, I wrote more than 100 articles in my first year. That helped me to reach 2 million people in less than a year. Without a doubt, the ability to share my ideas with you is the thing I appreciate the most.
- When I started offering online courses, I made six figures in my second year because of my ability to write quality course material. And I could communicate the benefits of the courses in an effective way.
There are way more successful writers than me. Look, you can do these things too. Maybe you’re already doing great in your career. Or maybe you want to improve it, change careers, start a business, make more money, etc.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in your career. Writing is one of the few skills in life that everyone can benefit from. I’m not quick to make such a statement. And you can’t say that about many other things life.
“How do I get started?”
Here are 7 tips that can help you with that:
- Set a goal
Why do you want to write? Pick a specific goal. Improve self-discipline? Become a better persuader? Turn it into a career? Write a book? Get clear on why you want to write.
- Read & study
Start by stealing other people’s writing styles. It’s a strategy I learned from Austin Kleon. Stealing is an effective way to develop your own style. Plus, when you can steal ideas, you can never use the excuse of: “I don’t have any inspiration.” But take the craft of writing seriously. Study it as much as you can by reading books and taking courses/workshops.
- Set a daily reminder to write
Nothing is more important to a writer than having a routine. First, think about what time is the best for you to write. In the morning or evening? Before/after the kids are awake? Then, set a daily reminder on your phone—when it goes off, sit down and write.
- Pick an app that makes it easy
Depending on your goal, pick software that makes it easy. To write a book, I prefer Word. I use Day One for journaling. And I use Ulysses to write my articles. No need to overcomplicate things. But makes sure you pick a specific app that you dedicate to a specific goal.
- Take notes throughout the day
If you run into a good idea while you’re at the supermarket, make a note of it. From now on, you’re a writer. And everything that happens in your life is material. So make sure you capture everything.
- Set the bar low
Your goal is to write only one true sentence. Just one. The beauty of that goal is that the first sentence that comes up in your mind is always the truest of them all. So never say that your writing sucks. Avoid aiming for setting goals like, “I want to write 1000 words a day.” That’s too absolute. Instead, strive for writing one sentence. Then, keep going.
- Remove distractions
All you want is 30 minutes of undisturbed time. That’s all. So turn your phone in do not disturb mode, turn off your wifi, and start writing. You don’t need to do more research. Only write.
Often, people give advice like, “Just get started!” And there’s truth in that. Starting is important.
But here’s the thing: Everyone can write for a day—or two, or three. But there are very few people who write consistently for years. But you need to write for a long time to see the actual benefits.
So don’t just get started. Keep going.
This article originally appeared on Darius Foroux.
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