This article is the follow-up of “10 Routines, Practices and Habits that changed my life (3)”.
“Writing is powerful. Writing is magic. Writing is gold.“
Reading is great, but there is a point where you need to shift. You need to shift from absorbing information and knowledge, to creating, producing, and offering it. This creates an energetic shift of abundance in you. Receiving is great, and you need to give too, for in giving, you shall receive. What you put in and offer others/the World/the Universe is what you will receive in return.
Writing helps you turn the switch on.
You can write for yourself, this is why I recommend you keep a Journal. I have been journaling for years, it is a mind expanding activity necessary for mental health. Writing your thoughts down helps you unclutter your mind, as they become manifest in the physical world (on paper). Sometimes, you don’t even need to read them again (I seldom read my journals). The same goes with notes taken during conferences or courses. Paradoxically, writing unclutters your mind while anchoring these ideas deeper into your subconscious.
The first form of writing is writing for yourself.
You can write your thoughts, fiction, poetry, non-fiction, it doesn’t matter, as long as you write.
You can also write for others. This is another step in the journey. What I found helpful was to write for myself first, for my own enjoyment, about a topic that matters the most to me in this moment. When that comes, the writing pours out automatically.
Later, you can edit, and then only offer it to the world. The more authentic and vulnerable your writing, the more it will resonate with others. The right people will find your writing, and connect with it. It is a good practice to let go of social expectations, and letting go of writing to please others. You can also write about topics that are subject of inquiry by your community.
How do you get into the habit of writing?
Make it a practice. Like any practice, it takes time and intention. It takes repetition, too:
- Book a time slot (or two) in your calendar every week. Keep it short for the beginning (it could be 30 minutes to start. If 30 minutes is too much, start with 15. If that is still too much, say that you will sit down, write a sentence, and then you are done for this session. Do the same during the next session.)
- Make sure in advance that you have everything ready: pen, paper, and/or laptop.
- Remove all distractions. Keep your phone on plane mode, no internet, lock up your cat (just kidding, your cat can be a healthy distraction… sometimes ! <3).
- Open your page, start writing. The first session is about writing what comes to your mind, without censoring yourself.
- If you are facing writer’s block, love it, and write about it !
Some of my articles started with:
“I don’t know why I don’t manage to write about X… but I’m gonna try anyways.”
On one instance, I was scared of writing a proposal for an academic seminar, so to take off the pressure, I started by writing something along the lines of:
“I am going to write the most imperfect, unprofessional and stupid academic proposal ever written.”
That killed the perfectionist in me, and then I wrote freely without being attached to the outcome.
- Set a limit. It can be a time limit, or a number of words you need to write.
- Once you reached that limit, acknowledge yourself, appreciate your work, and close your practice.
- Start again the following time.
It is important during the writing phase that you don’t do any research. Write from what is in your mind only. What I do is that I write, and when there is some information that I am unsure of, or that I need to research, I will write the letters “TK”. These letters are not found in words, so during my editing phase, I research all the “TKs” of my document, and do the research accordingly. That allows the analytical/critical part of my brain to stay muted during the creation phase, and to be more prolific. Otherwise, I get stuck in editing each sentence I write which blocks the whole process and would make me believe that writing is hard.
“Write drunk, edit sober.”
I love that. I don’t drink alcohol, but I love the idea of writing without censoring yourself, moving on to something else, and editing later (in my case, at least a day later).
You could have two writing slots a week to begin with, where you write during the first, and edit during the second.
Writing is powerful in the sense that it develops your sense of Self-Expression. Here are other ways to develop this quality in this article by positivepsychology.com.
It helps you find a way not only to exist in the world, but to create your world as well, from the inside-out.
One of the positive outcomes of writing, is that by doing so, you automatically become an author. Period.
No need to think about becoming an author, no need to be a NYT bestseller, just write. You become the author of your own life, and that is good enough.