5 Things I’ve Learned in My First Year of Writing.
I began writing so that I might assist other individuals.
Just at the wonderful old age of 24, I had finished a Varsity institution, raised myself out of poverty, and secured a meaningful career that enabled me to work from anywhere around the globe. I was living the American dream.
My whole life, up until this point, I had never experienced such a profound and persistent sense of peace, thankfulness, and pleasure.
I believed that the majority of the things that most of us learn through society, friends, family, and formal education do not help us get to a place that is joyful like this, and I wanted to be able to assist other people in achieving this level of contentment.
And despite the fact that I still had a great deal of stuff to work out, I got the impression that I had unearthed at least some of the universal components that make up the secret sauce for constructing a life that is important and rewarding.
I decided to begin the process of clarifying and sharing those components with other people via the medium of writing. Writing has been my way of giving back and helping others.
Since it has been a year since I began my career as a writer, I thought it would be helpful to discuss some of the unforeseen insights that I’ve gained along the route.
If you want to be a writer, you need to learn how to overcome self-doubt.
“If you hear a voice inside you saying, ‘you cannot paint,’ then you should create without hesitation, and that voice will be quiet.” — Van Gogh
Writing is a journey filled with moments of self-doubt along the way. As you go out on your adventure to discover the words that appropriately convey your ideas and feelings, you struggle with a spooky little voice that says, “I don’t know how to express myself.”
“What experience do I have that makes me competent to discuss this subject? Is what I’m saying anything that should be discussed? I have no skill. Should I simply give up and not bother?”
Self-doubt is something you have to learn to embrace, comprehend, and learn to live with if you want to have a career as a writer. No matter how much you write or how well you write, it won’t go away no matter how often you do it.
A journal that John Steinbeck maintained when he was writing The Grapes of Wrath, the novel that garnered him the Pulitzer Prize, is where he brilliantly portrayed this self-doubt:
“Some of my numerous shortcomings are starting to rear their ugly heads. I have no choice but to rid myself of this burden as soon as possible. I’m not a writer by any means. I have been deceiving not just myself but also other people. I really really wish I were.
“If only I could do this book correctly, it would be one of the really wonderful novels and thoroughly American work. But alas, it is not to be. However, I am constantly confronted with my own ignorance and incapacity.
“Because of my own shortcomings, reading this book has turned into a torturous experience for me.”
The path of a writer is often fraught with moments of crippling self-doubt. I can confidently say that I have not been spared the terrifying experience of trying to create something that is worth reading.
In the middle of a restless night, as I stare at the screen of my computer, I find myself questioning whether or not what I have to say is really relevant. During the limited span of my existence on this planet, I can’t help but question whether I’m squandering my efforts. I’m not sure whether I’ll ever be able to win over my own self-doubt.
My strategy for dealing with this self-doubt is to accept and welcome it as an inherent element of the job that I undertake. And as a direct result of this true acceptance, I’ve discovered the strength to go on.
I have been able to make it through the periods in which the voice has been more intense. And every time I get to the end of work and am satisfied with it, I’m delighted that I did it.
Unless you can learn to overcome self-doubt, you won’t be able to write.
If you want to become a writer, you need to get started writing right away.
People get the impression that I’ve been working as a writer for many years. When I tell them that I’ve only been writing for a few months and that they can write as well, they feel that I have formal training or a natural gift that they don’t have. This is despite the fact that they too are capable of writing.
The reality is that I do not own any of these things, despite the fact that I would very much want to. I had some exposure to the English language growing up, and I wrote several papers in college, but that’s about it.
Writing is the only thing you need to do in order to become a writer. There is no need for previous education, an extensive vocabulary, or innate ability. The first step in becoming a writer is to face a blank page and make an effort to put your ideas into words. This procedure is quite difficult to do.
More often than not, I find myself looking at a computer for numerous hours, yet I am unable to produce any writing that is worth reading.
But if you simply get started and don’t stop, a wonderful trip will unfold before you. As you reflect more carefully on the matter at issue, the muddled ideas that you initially had begin to crystallize into a few concise statements.
You go on writing, and gradually, a glimmer of light penetrates the haze in front of you. You keep hacking away at the branches that are dangling in your path, having faith that you’ll make it to the sunshine sooner or later.
After putting in a considerable amount of additional effort, you finally see a slender ray of light that reassures you that you are getting closer and closer to transforming the chaos into something that another person can comprehend. After making a few more edits, you finally come to terms with the fact that your work is not flawless and decide to push the publish button.
This method may on sometimes, result in an excellent piece. In the majority of cases, it does not. Every time, it brings at least one percent more clarity to your thinking on the matter at issue.
Writing does get a little bit easier with practice, but not very lot. You try your hand at a variety of different methods. You are beginning to discover your own voice. You learn to accept the shortcomings of the situation. Along the road, you learn to accept your own self-doubt and find peace in the knowledge that you are giving it your all at all times. You have come to the realization that “good enough” really is “good enough.”
If you want to become a writer, you need to start writing right away and prepare yourself for the difficult road ahead. Put an end to the wait. Put an end to critiquing the work of other authors. Put an end to your search for classes to enroll in.
Start writing if you want to make a career out of it.
Telling a tale is an effective way to educate and encourage others.
I create essays in order to disseminate the concepts, beliefs, and principles that have enabled me to choose a path that is satisfying to me. It is my sincere wish that those who read my work come away with useful insights and concepts that they may use in their own lives to make it better.
In order for me to be successful in my endeavor, I need to become an expert in the art of instructing and motivating others via the use of words.
This is not a simple undertaking. People vary greatly from one another. Contexts, motives, and methods of comprehending information are not the same for any two individuals.
My work as a writer has taught me that writing engaging stories is one way to address the problems that are brought on by the fact that we are all unique individuals.
Imagine, for instance, that I want to educate you that paying it forward is a significant value that you should begin practicing because I think it’s vital for you to do so. One such tactic is as follows:
Your life will become better if you can master the art of paying it forward. According to research conducted at Harvard, those who volunteer their time to assist others report much higher levels of happiness compared to those who do not.
Giving back to others not only makes you happier on an individual level, but it also makes you more likable to others. When others see you as more pleasant, you have a greater pool of career prospects and potential life partners to choose from. If you want to have a happy life, you should give some thought to how you may help other people.
This data-driven, prescriptive approach is the standard in our modern society, which is preoccupied with science. But first, allow me to provide an alternative strategy. Permit me to share a tale with you:
“When I was a young adult living in poverty, I was under the impression that attending one of the elite schools in the Ivy League would assist better my situation. When I was 16 years old, a total stranger named Howard Sherman took an interest in me and offered to guide me in the direction of my goal.
He guided me through the application process for Ivy League schools, assisted me in developing an engaging personal story, and provided financial support for my very first travel outside of the country. Because to his assistance, I was able to get into Princeton University, and ever since then, things have been going in the right direction in my life. The only thing that Howard asked of me in exchange for all of his assistance was that I pay it forward.
For Howard, one of the most important aspects of leading a meaningful life was being able to help others. A cardiac attack took Howard’s life a few years ago, and we mourn his passing. I carry on his legacy by looking for new and creative ways to help others on a daily basis. If it weren’t for him, I may still be living in poverty as a child in Orlando.”
Which of these strategies would make you feel more motivated to give back to the community by volunteering more of your time? The tale will always prevail as long as you are not an application programming interface (API).
Stories are an old type of art that have been instrumental in our species’ ability to endure and build social bonds for thousands of years.
They are able to express our beliefs, insights, and experiences about the world in a manner that the prescriptive, data-driven approach is unable to. And in doing so, they have the ability to improve our empathy, to change our attitudes and beliefs, and to motivate us to take action.
You may educate and inspire others by telling stories.
Being vulnerable allows for the formation of true and profound relationships.
My mother took her own life a week after I started blogging and began my journey to encourage 10 million people to live more aware and fulfilled lives. This was a blow that went right to the core of my being.
But rather than distancing my writing and purpose from my own personal narrative and suffering, I chose to share my experience with others in the knowledge that I was not the only one going through tough times.
I wrote about the things that my mum had taught me, about my struggle to find purpose in my suffering, and about the road that my mom took to end her life.
I got hundreds of responses from individuals all around the world after I openly expressed some of the thoughts and events that made me feel the most vulnerable.
I had conversations with folks who, after hearing what I had to say, chose not to end their lives by taking their own lives. I was told stories by people who were going through a lot of pain at the time and who were opening up about it to a complete stranger like me for the first time.
Not only did these dialogues make it possible for me to connect with other people and assist them in facing their anguish, but they also made it easier for me to comprehend and work through my own challenges. This was a really meaningful event that we made together.
Being vulnerable requires bravery, but the payoff is well worth it. It is necessary for us to become used to the idea of expressing our true selves, despite the fact that other people may judge us for doing so. Gaining the skill to accept and communicate my vulnerability has been a very important experience.
It has given me the opportunity to connect with individuals I had no prior connection to, to improve my connections with those I already knew, and to get a deeper understanding of the essential role that pain and suffering play in the human experience.
Exposing one’s weak spots fosters meaningful and authentic relationships.
The process of writing is chaotic and peculiar.
While I was swimming laps on a scorching day in Nicaragua earlier this year, a penetrating idea came to me at that exact moment. The notion prompted me to compose a piece about routines that have contributed to the enhancement of the quality of my life.
I immediately pulled myself out of the water, grabbed my laptop before drying off, and sat on a beanbag for four hours writing furiously what would later become the article titled “12 Practices That Have Improved My Life,” which has received a significant amount of attention and praise from its audience.
The strangest part is that I never intended to write that article in the first place. My whole self was taken over by the concept unexpectedly and at an inopportune moment, and for some reason, I was unable to get the notion out of my head.
And despite the fact that my first draft needed to be edited and improved for many weeks, in the end, it was transformed into a list of practices that have motivated and assisted a great number of individuals on their trips.
The more I write, the more I’ve realized the value of embracing those inexplicable times when an outside force exerts its effect on me and yanks me in a route that I hadn’t anticipated.
I could attempt to fight this force or try to comprehend it, but I’ve decided to just embrace the calling, quit what I’m doing, and start writing instead. I have faith that some outcome that is significant or meaningful will materialize as a direct consequence of this process, which often takes place in the middle of the night when I’d much prefer to be asleep.
At times, I find myself wishing that I had a more consistent writing process, one in which I would create and prioritize a pipeline of articles, do research, write the piece, revise it, and then click the publish button.
My writing method, however, does not look like that at all. The majority of the time, when I awake at three in the morning, I am overcome with a rush of anxiousness and thought that refuses to leave my head until I open my computer and listen to what my muse has to say.
The process of writing is convoluted and peculiar.
If you make the decision to become a writer, you are in for an exciting adventure. This is a one-of-a-kind experience that is exciting, terrifying, and gratifying all at the same time. I wish you luck