14th Day of 60 for Developing a Writing Habit
What I’ve learned in two weeks of trying to write every day
Well, it’s been two weeks so far and I’ve managed to write something every day. I’ve discovered that there’s a lot more to it than simply publishing something on Medium for every day of this journey.
That may not be true for everyone trying to get into writing, but it’s been true for me so far.
Let’s take a look at a few things I’ve learned in the past couple weeks so we can recap where we’re at.
Journaling and writing for yourself can be great too
One of the things that I’ve come to realize is that I really enjoy other forms of writing besides publishing online. Some of those forms of writing, I really like keeping private.
I’ve used my journal a few times to survey some things on my own and it’s been a wonderful process. The act of writing to myself, and for myself, really allows me to explore my thoughts until their conclusions. This is especially true of stuff I’m not really comfortable sharing with others for whatever reason.
This includes topics like:
- Failures that I don’t feel great sharing with others
- Ideas that aren’t fully fleshed out
- Questions about faith, a higher power, and otherworldly things
- Stuff that’s just plain hard to talk about
- Things I am afraid of
When you’re writing for an audience and knowing that others are going to (hopefully) read what you’re saying, you tend to edit things. You try to make your writing consumable, relatable, and for other people.
This is a good thing, however. There are a number of folks who have written on the idea that you shouldn’t write just for yourself, but for your audience. This is especially true if you’re trying to develop writing as a career for others or trying to create a collection of fans of your writing.
There are a ton of articles out there on the benefits of keeping a journal. There are psychological benefits, behavioral benefits, and more. While I haven’t kept a journal, necessarily every day, I’ve been spending more time listening to myself, writing down what I have to say, and reflecting upon it.
This process has allowed me to find my voice, have a voice, and discover that what I have to say is important enough to be acknowledged and written about just as much as the other stuff I publish here on Medium.
Writing comes in many different forms so exploring them is probably a good thing
When developing a writing practice, there’s nothing saying it must be of a particular type. In the last 14 days I’ve written a bunch of different types of content.
- Personal reflections on failures
- My experiences with sobriety
- A restaurant review
- Quotes from a book
- Journal entries
- 28 pages of text for a business plan
Each of the types of writing has brought me separate kinds of joy. They’ve also brought me different types of challenges and engaged my brain in different ways as well.
The daily haikus give me some time for wordsmithing with a given form.
Discussing personal experiences has been cathartic and allowed me to thoughtfully reflect on many things.
Trying my hand at writing a restaurant review provided me a whole different kind of writing and enjoyment I’d never tried before.
Heck, I even wrote some poetry that was meant for spoken word. Writing for the sake of performance is something I haven’t done since my 20s when I got my theatre degree and was a professional actor. That felt wonderful as well.
I’m not sure what, if any, type of writing is necessarily my favorite or “my calling” yet. But I’m glad that I’m trying a bunch of different kinds to see what feels right and to help me find my voice again by stretching it across a variety of publishing pursuits.
Getting words out of your head and into the world feels great
Even when I write things that aren’t meant for other people, there’s a sense of release that occurs when you manifest thoughts into the real world. This is especially true when I’ve taken time to write in cursive on the physical page, or when I’ve played around on the typewriter.
As someone who constantly has ideas, reflections, thoughts, and observations, my head is swimming with words. These include new business ideas, quotes, images, improvements, reminders, poems, songs, and more.
Taking the time to put these words into a medium where they can live means that my head is less crowded. I find myself falling asleep easier, concentrating easier, and much more able to perform mindfulness and meditation than before.
I also find it easier to read and have room for more “stuff” to go up there throughout the day. When I’m not so busy noodling over what I’d like to say, and instead just saying it I get more time and space for new ideas.
You never know who will enjoy what you have to say
I’ve received a ton of feedback from a number of different sources for my writing. I’ve shared it with my professional network on LinkedIn, with my social network on Facebook, and with family and friends.
The feedback from others has been amazing.
Additionally, I’ve received good feedback from folks here on Medium. 20% of what I’ve written so far has been picked up for further distribution and I’ve gained some followers, comments, invitations for publishing, and more.
When I stopped writing for so long, I wasn’t sure whether or not people would care what I had to say anymore. I had lost my mojo and I wasn’t sure if I was going to find it again.
Thanks to just committing to the experiment of trying to develop a writing habit, I’ve discovered that I still do have the ability to move others. I’ve been thanked, clapped, commented, and reshared.
Knowing that your voice still matters means a lot.
But you’ll never know until you speak up and try.
Day 14 of 60 for developing a writing habit.
Day 13 of 60 for developing a writing habit:
Day 18 of 60 for developing a writing habit: