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Why You Should Be a Writer

Why You Should Be a Writer


    I have a saying I like to use on my blog: “We’re all writers.”

    Usually I’m referring to anyone who creates–artists, musicians, programmers, and, yes, writers.

    In this case, however, I’m actually telling you that you should consider writing. Like pencil-and-paper or computer-and-word-processor writing.

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    Now, understand that I do have a slight bias: I run a writing website (see my bio), have written a few books, and teach others how to write.

    But the truth is, I wouldn’t have considered myself “a writer” a year ago. Sure, I was working on my first novel, but that was for fun–just to see if I could do it. It was an eye-opening process, and the biggest takeaway I got from it was pretty much the title of this post: Why you should write. 

    Bear with me here: I understand you might revolt against the thought of churning out essay after essay about topics you could hardly care less about, or busting out 3,000-plus word per weekend.

    I did too.

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    But there are a few things to consider here:

    • Writing is the primary basis by which your work (professional and otherwise) will be judged. Fair or not, this is true.
    • Writing helps you move your level of understanding beyond a line of “gut feeling” toward a more universal conceptualization. In other words, it helps you think.
    • Writing can make you more money.

    I doubt anyone would argue these points with me, but I don’t everyone to be reaching for a pad of paper or opening Microsoft Word just yet. Even you’re on board with the benefits of writing, there are still a few things you’re probably concerned about:

    • Writing takes time. Sometimes, a lot of time.
    • Writing takes practice. Practice, by definition, also takes time.
    • Writing takes patience, and even then–we may not know what to write about.

    Good arguments, all. But you happen to be on one of the Internet’s best sites for productivity and motivation–so that’s a good place to start for combatting the first two points. The third (so called “writer’s block”) is something you can’t really prevent as much as just learn to ignore.

    But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s look at some more specific reasons we should focus on our writing–no matter what industry you’re in:

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    1. It can help promote you as an expert. Writing has long been relegated to experts–at least the kinds of writing the general public “sees.” Published books and articles, magazines, and even screenplays and scripts have usually required the writer to get past a high “barrier for entry” to be accepted. This barrier has caused–justifiably or not–the general public to view these writers and creators as “experts.” Well guess what? It’s no longer necessary to jump through those same hoops. “Expertise” can come in many forms now that were unavailable to us even ten years ago: blogging, writing eBooks, creating videos, etc. You still need to focus on the quality, because now there’s a much lower barrier for entry (or a nonexistent one), but that’s okay. The practice needed to push you to the top of the pack is well worth the effort, and will only solidify your status as a true expert.
    2. It can teach you things you never knew about yourself. “How early can you really get up in the morning? How late can you stay up? How many cups of coffee does is take to…”.These aren’t just questions left to be answered by the “self-experimenters” out there. When I first started writing–really writing–I found I needed a much different schedule than I’d been maintaining. It turned out that waking up before the crack of dawn and getting 4-5 hours of sleep wasn’t going to kill me (at least not in small spurts!). The habits you’ll develop by maintaining a writing schedule can bleed into other areas of your life very easily and effectively. Your work might get easier to complete, allowing you to take on more responsibility and get a raise. Or you might find yourself taking on more duties outside of your work life, like freelancing and ghostwriting. That leads us to the next point:
    3. Writing could generate a passive income stream for you. Who doesn’t want a totally passive income stream? No one I know. While it’s admittedly very difficult to build an entire lifestyle around a single passive income stream, it’s not at all challenging to use writing to bolster your biweekly paycheck. I keep an active blog that generates a small amount of advertising income, I try to write a few short eBooks per month (that then are uploaded to Amazon and other electronic bookstores), and I have some other avenues I’m exploring that will hopefully turn into more money down the road. I don’t write specifically for the income, but it’s certainly a welcome addition to my bank account every once in a while. If you start small and figure out what it is you love to write about, then build a community of people around it, you might find yourself having more freedom to work on your own terms!

    How to start writing

    There’s certainly a lot more to writing well than “just write,” but there’s no simpler way to actually start. Here’s my approach:

    Regardless of your industry, there’s someone out there who would benefit from your expertise and knowledge. Your job, then, is to find them and write something specifically for them.

    I like to imagine myself, five or ten years ago (or twenty!), and try to write something that would benefit that version of me. Do the same, and you’ll probably end up with a cool manifesto of the “Basics of [Whatever You Do].” You can offer that as an eBook on your website, or you can try to incorporate it into your day-to-day workflow (like a Standard Operating Procedure document).

    The choice is yours, and the possibilities are limitless. Writing doesn’t need to be a daunting task, and most writers often mention that it’s one of the most therapeutic and relaxing parts of their day.

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    Give it a shot, and see what you think! If you need help, I’m only a click away!

    (Photo credit: Laptop with Blank Notepad via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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