Writing, ideas, grandkids
Writing online can be daunting.
It is not just about your skills. Those can be developed over time.
It is more about the mindset and uncovering the reason why you want to write. If the last time you wrote more than 1000 words was for a college assignment or an official report at work, the thought of putting something out can overwhelm you easily.
The biggest mental blocks I frequently face are in the form of these two questions:
- Who am I writing for?
- Why am I even writing?
The why is easier for me to answer.
I see writing as an act of self-discovery. It is because when you write, you clarify your thinking. When you clarify your thinking, you become more self-aware.
Writing also helps you discover the gaps in your thinking and make your ideas more complete.
This brings me to the first thing I want to share in this edition:
In this essay, Paul explains the value of putting ideas into words. He says,
“If writing down your ideas always makes them more precise and more complete, then no one who hasn’t written about a topic has fully formed ideas about it. And someone who never writes has no fully formed ideas about anything nontrivial.”
He makes the case that putting ideas into words is a test of your learning and how much you know about a topic.
If you cannot write about it, it is unlikely that you know it well enough.
Now, comes the question of who do you write for.
There are two ways to think about it.
One, you write for yourself.
You pick your interests and curiosities and begin to write about them. Think about what you’d like to read. And write about them. You can also think about you from two years ago. What were some of the challenges you faced? Write for that person as a guide.
Second, you write for someone else. If you are writing professionally, chances are you already know your intended audience.
But, if you are beginning to write for yourself, the best advice I have come across is to write for your grandkids.
This brings me to the second thing I want to share today.
Michael Dean suggests writing as an act to immortalize your ideas. You write for your future generation and grandkids. You treat your website as a time capsule!
“Writing doesn’t have to be an act of producing profound works. It can be a simple documentation of your evolution. A personal website can be a time capsule if you plan for it.”
I resonate with this idea strongly and sometimes this is what drives me to document my thoughts online. You might think that this is selfish writing. It perhaps bothers you that you are not caring about others when you write in this way.
But, my experience tells me otherwise.
Some of my most well-received newsletters and essays have been where I was too vulnerable. People relate and connect with you the most when you get personal and share your stories with them.
What is most personal is the most universal!
But, now how do you start? How do you build a writing habit?
This brings me to the last thing I want to share this week.
This is a tweet thread by Dickie Bush where he shares the 3-minute habit that has helped him write every day for 503 days in a row.
Here is a gist of it:
Before going to bed, journal for 3 minutes in the following steps:
- Write down 1 idea that’s top of mind to write about
- Brain dump 10 bullet points on that idea without judgment
When you wake up in the morning, write about the idea for at least 30 minutes. If you can write for an hour or 90 minutes, that is the best.
That is all from me this week, folks!
Until next time,