When Chris from Old Cove Road reached out to me via email to ask if he could share my blog post, How to use your smartphone like a hammer, on his website, I was utterly flattered. So, I went on his website to find out why my article was worthy of being shared, and as I browsed through, his podcast episode titled Write for Your Life caught my attention.
In the episode, Chris explores the necessity of telling our stories, writing being one medium, to break down the stigma and misconception surrounding mental health and mental illness.
I loved the idea: write for your life.
I have mused about the importance of writing for self-exploration in previous posts.
Good writing can help a person discover their voice, and our voice defines our authenticity, which in turn defines our influence.
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Writing can be utilized for many purposes, and in many formats to support our life’s journey. Formal writing, such as academic papers, can help us formulate and organize an informed, coherent and sophisticated set of ideas about a given topic. Informal writing, such as journaling, can help us practice self-introspection and increase our self-awareness.
Writing can be a great tool to help sharpen our capacity to think and communicate. As such, we should make it part of our daily routine by figuring out what style of writing works best for our needs, and what we want to accomplish through its endeavor.
The best way to improve your thinking is to learn how to write. — Jordan Peterson
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If you want to grow as a person, keep a daily journal.
Writing is a great tool for self-exploration. It brings a wandering mind to attention by moving us from passive thinking to actively engaging with our thoughts. Journaling can be used to process our emotions and increase our self-awareness. Thus, keeping a journal can help manage our mental wellbeing by giving us a healthy outlet to unpack our feelings and emotions.
If you want to cultivate a passion, start a blog.
Blogging can be incredibly valuable and beneficial to both our personal and professional growth. However, starting a blog isn’t enough to enjoy its benefits.
You must write, even if horribly at first. Then, ask people for their opinion about your writing. Let them critique your work.
A friend of mine once told me my blog was directionless. Not using those exact words but that was the gist of his critique. His actual advice was, however, this: figure out your intentions, identify your target audience, and communicate truth in simple terms, with words a 12-year-old can understand.
At first, I was defensive about his feedback and doubted my ability to write. Even so, I knew it was a well-intentioned constructive criticism I needed to hear. As a result, I completely restructured my blog, and I quite enjoy the content I have now. Best decision ever.
To have found a space to cultivate my passion, inspire others, and make progress is an epic feat on its own.
If you learn to think, through writing, then you will develop a well-organized, efficient mind – and one that is well-founded and certain. Don’t ever underestimate the power of words.
If you want to get out of your head, write fiction.
I recently participated in a 5-week creative writing course, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. I usually shy away from fiction because it requires the writer to take full accountability for the story. There are no footnotes or references to back up your story, to point the finger to. However, taking the course taught me that the ability to tell a story without having to prove its validity might a good reason to take on writing fiction.
Although fiction is often derived from our imagination, it is also often based on facts and real-life scenarios. As such, it can be a creative way to share our thoughts and ideas with the world.
Tell a story. Tell your story.
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A Guide for Writing More
Everyone, including myself, wants to know if there is a magic wand or a potion that can help us write more. Unfortunately, there isn’t one, at least one that I’m aware of.
I find the process of writing, especially formal writing, to be extremely tedious. Sometimes I write a full page, and by the time I go back and edit it, it is completely devoid of its original contents. However, I find nothing else more satisfying than sharing my thoughts and ideas through this medium so it’s worth the process more often than not.
If you want to write, and love to write, then write. Write every day, whether it’s in your journal, blog, or making lists for ways to be more organized, you must write. Write a page. A sentence. A 10-page essay.
A writing routine can also be useful. For inspiration, you can read about the daily routine of writers here.
Writer’s block doesn’t exist when you’re disciplined.
Also, read A LOT. The best writers read a conspicuous amount of books. Read materials that you enjoy and find inspiring. Read novels that you think about when you wake up the next day, and cry when you have to depart from a character on the last page.
Read Jordan Peterson’s Guide to Writing Properly (PDF), or check out a simplified version of the guide, Jordan Peterson’s 10-step process for stronger writing, to write better.