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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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