Write more



September 2020

There are various benefits and reasons for writing. I'm going to focus on a few, primarily writing to learn and "show off."

First, let's define exactly what I mean with this type of writing. I'm talking about the type that purely focuses on your current and potential interests. This is writing designed to help you learn, so there's no requirement on the type of tone you need. Be as conversational as you want, as long as you're consistently writing.

"Well, why should I start doing this?" I'm glad you asked! I'm going to explain two benefits to you.

The first is that it'll help you learn. You will better understand concepts while increasing mental clarity. This comes with revising and editing what you write. While editing my work, I notice the bad wording and use of filler words like "just" or "like." I also use extra verbs, for example, I'll write "Writing starts to help you think better" rather than "Writing helps you think better." It reflects how I think and bleeds into how I speak. I'm not even close to being a good writer, but I'm already seeing progress simply by the decreasing amount of obvious errors I make.

When you think about a concept purely in your head, your brain tends to skip over critical connections because of its speed. So by writing and explaining a concept, even if only for yourself, you are forced to think through the concept in its entirety. You develop a deeper understanding of what you're learning. Clarifying those thoughts helps for just about everything. If you are stressed about something, start writing it out. Break down your problem and dissect it. We tend to bottle up our problems without clearly understanding what is causing us stress. To go meta, even with this post I'm forcing myself to think through why writing is beneficial rather than simply saying "it helps you learn better."

The second benefit I wanted to mention is that writing builds a portfolio for you. Initially, you may only write for yourself, which is perfectly fine. But as you increase your consistency and confidence, you should starting sharing what you learn online. Why? Because you'll be opening yourself up to feedback so you learn from varying perspectives, you'll be helping others learn since there are people who have less expertise than you, and you'll now have a public portfolio for people to look at. If you really admire someone on Twitter and they check your profile, they'll be more inclined to talk to you if they see an impressive account that tweets insightful content. It helps you build relationships with people you wouldn't have previously had access to.

"Alright well, how do I start?" Another great question! Here's how I break it down:

  • Find a simple way to start writing. I write on my laptop so I can quickly type and edit. I use Notion, but find whatever works for you even if it's just pen and paper.
  • Spend 5-10 minutes writing anything that comes in your head. No commitments, no nothing. Start by journaling about whatever you want.
  • After that, jot down topics that interest you. They could be things you already know a lot about or things you want to learn in the future. Include problems you have or topics you've often been thinking about. For instance, I've been thinking about how prevalent cycles are in our lives and how important it is to have opposites, like how happiness doesn't mean much without sadness. So I'll be writing about that soon.
  • Organize them based on priority. What do you want to learn more about? What is an easy topic to start learning and understanding?
  • Now's the time to commit. Commit yourself to 15 minutes of writing daily. I don't care how ignorant you are on a topic, spend time writing before reading up on it. You want to start acting first. If you want to learn about a topic you currently know nothing about, write everything you think could be true about a topic. Don't get stuck in the trap of reading about a topic first. The goal is to write.
  • Do this for a week, evaluate what you've accomplished, and continue. Try committing to two weeks of writing for 15 min per day. Results may not show up immediately, but that doesn't mean you should give up. Anything valuable takes time.
  • Once you find yourself writing more often, start editing and refining your thoughts. Be critical and find the flaws with the way you're thinking.
  • Finally, when you have enough confidence to put yourself out there, find a medium you like. Twitter is great because it forces you to cut the fluff out and simplify your thoughts. Create a blog or newsletter so you have a medium for long-form content as well. Both are beneficial. Create conversations with others to enhance your thought process. Just share publicly. You could also work on cold emailing. As your writing improves and you learn what works and what doesn't, you'll be more likely to get a response from interesting people.

This might take time to see progress for some. It may be easier for others, but if you start now, it'll be easier to reap the rewards later. If you see the value in writing, imagine how much improvement you would've seen if you started 3 years ago. Now imagine how much progress you'll make in 3 years. Start today and help your future self out a lot.

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by Amaan