As you can probably tell I’ve been trying to pick up writing. It’s been a challenging yet intellectually stimulating exercise. I’ve been reading books like On Writing by Stephen King, taking courses like the Write of Passage by David Perell, and reading other “how to write” blogs like this one.
I wanted to share a few of my early lessons throughout this process, with the goal of encouraging you to try writing online as well.
1) The inspiration for the topic you write about comes through in-person conversations.
The process of writing does not occur in solitude or sitting in the woods waiting for inspiration to strike. Instead, It happens through engaging with people, listening to their ideas, sharing a few of your own, and seeing what appears to be the most interesting.
From there you can continue to have a feedback loop of what appears to be good ideas. This can be done through conversations, sharing your ideas on social media, and emails like this.
You can then see what sticks, and use that as the inspiration for the topic you choose to write about.
2) Writing helps you become a clearer thinker.
Writing out your ideas helps to organize your thinking. As they swirl around in your head they stay fairly incoherent. But the act of putting them down on paper helps your brain organize your thinking into cohesive ideas.
At times, I’ll think I understand an idea well in my head and through conversation, but then try to write it down and struggle. For me, that gives me clarity that I may not understand my ideas as well as I thought I did…
Going through the exercise of putting your thoughts down on paper helps you test if you understand the ideas in your head, and leads to clearer thinking.
3) Writing is great for building relationships.
Early in this writing journey, I have had a number of serendipitous encounters through folks engaging with my writing. My favorite story comes from Tim, who emailed me sharing his own story of speaking to a stranger on a plane after this article last month.
How cool is that!? Tim later followed up and now we’re working on a small project together. I’m a big believer in your ability to create serendipity. Put yourself out there, put your thoughts out there, and even if one person connects with them it’s a win.