10 Lessons from 10 Years of Writing
Writing is never easy. But with practice, it becomes easier.
Recently, a reader asked me if I had any tips on being a writer.
I never considered myself a “writer” (most writers don’t), even though I have been publishing online in various forms for the last 10 years.
The question forced me to think. I started writing, so I could think (see #2 below).
When I finished typing a reply, I noticed I had written a short essay on lessons about the craft of writing.
So here’s what I learned throughout 10 years of writing:
1. Write for Yourself
When I started writing, I wrote for myself. To this day, I continue to think that.
Some people will find it interesting. Some won’t. Such is life. Either way, I’ve said what I wanted to say.
Here’s the irony:
By writing for yourself, you’re more likely to write something others love. Readers are smart. They can feel the authenticity of your writing. And the best way to be authentic is to write for yourself.
Another benefit of writing for yourself is that the process of writing is the reward itself. You’ll begin to ( gasp!) love writing.
If you love something, you’ll keep doing it. It’s human nature.
And that’s how you write every day, for years.
2. Write to Think
Most people believe you have to think and then write.
Writing is thinking.
Putting words on the screen is a tool to disentangle your thoughts. Use it to try to understand the world better.
As you’re typing, your brain becomes curious. You might start with a topic in mind but at some point, the essay gains a life of its own. It becomes a magical creature, pushing you to new paths and ideas. Follow that curiosity. Writing is a process of self-discovery.
Who cares if the published essay is different from what you started with?