What I’ve Learned From Writing Every Day for a Month
One month ago, I committed to blogging every day for a year, and I can confidently say — 31 days in — that I had no idea what I was doing. Committing to anything every day is difficult, but choosing to consistently write out your thoughts and feelings online is nearly impossible.
Every morning, I volunteer myself as tribute (by waking up at 7am), enter the Hunger Games (aka the writing process), take down the Games Master (by pumping out 500ish words), save the world (by hitting publish) and then wait until the next day when I have to do it all over again. Turning into a badass, three dimensional female heroine every day is surprisingly exhausting.
Writing has been a huge shift for me because I’ve never considered myself to be a ‘writer’. Other than a really embarrassing Tumblr from years ago that I pray no one ever finds, I’ve had very little writing experience. I took a few creative writing courses in high school, and I survived one terrible year of journalism school, but that’s it. I’m just a normal human with average writing skills.
Recently, I was forced to start writing because I launched an online business, Resilient One, with my friend Kristine. This has required us to create an online presence, both professionally and within our personal networks. We started a blog for Resilient One that we both agreed to write for at least once a month. The problem is, I was terrified of writing. I was dreading my turn to post something.
I wasn’t a writer.
But then one day, I read a blog post by Jonas Ellison that has changed writing for me forever. He talked about the benefits of writing, the power of finding you’re voice and the importance of creating something everyday. As I was reading, I felt myself responding to everything he was saying. I may not have been a writer, but I am a creator, and I was feeling dry.
Tired. Uninspired. Insecure.
Jonas challenged everyone at the end of his post to try blogging every day for one year. I decided to accept his offer, and although it’s been hard, it’s also been incredibly worth it.
After just one month of daily blogging, I’ve felt myself transform into a writer. I’m slowly becoming bolder and more willing to share my life with the world. I’m opening up in a new way through writing about my experiences. I’m finding my voice, both online and in real life. I’ve been asked to write for other publications and I’ve actually said yes. I’m not afraid to write anymore. I have things to say, and I believe that they are worth sharing. So here’s the best discovery of all:
I’m a writer.
I’ve learned a few other lessons over the last month that I want to share with you. Although writing every day is hard, I promise, the benefits drastically outweigh the challenges!
Writing makes the small moments in life your life significant.
I’ve found myself searching for things to write about each day, and I’ve realized that most of my conversations and experiences can be turned into life lessons to blog about. From conversing with servers at restaurants, to trolling small children, every interaction can be meaningful and significant if you think about it long enough.
Writing makes you a better consumer.
As I search for something to write about, I read with new eyes. I think about how what I’m reading could be applied to whatever life lesson I’ve learned that day. I have become better at knowing when to read on, and when to skip to something else. I’ve found it really helpful to begin my writing process by reading at least three other articles before starting my own. I read the news, other Medium articles or blog posts written by my friends. I’ve learned how to read life lessons that other people are writing about, and apply them to my own writing and experiences (for example, my article about deleting ‘Aspiring’ from your identity).
Writing makes you more willing to be vulnerable.
Every time you post something online, especially from your own perspective, you are placing yourself in an incredibly vulnerable position. I’ve found myself asking so many questions before I hit publish each morning: What if people don’t like what I have to say? What if they misinterpret what I shared? What if they criticize and critique my writing, or worse, me as a person?
Well, there was no need to wonder what if... ALL of those things happened to me over the last month, yet somehow, I’m still here writing. I’m still creating, publishing and putting my work out there for the universe to read. And I don’t regret it. I’ve been in a constant state of vulnerability over the last month, but I feel more creative and inspired than ever. I’m going to keep writing, regardless of the haters, because I believe that what I’m sharing is meaningful and worth writing, even if you don’t (Bye, Felicia).
Writing forces you to come up with better ideas.
I recently started doing the Focus Course created by Shawn Blanc — a 40 day course designed to help you have a more focused life through vision, goals, action plans, habits and a proper schedule. On one of the very first days, he talks about building up your ‘idea muscle’. He quotes James Altucher who wrote the book Choose Yourself where he explains this concept:
“What are the benefits of having a function idea muscle? You will become an idea machine. No matter what situation you are in, what problem you see in front of you, what problems your friends and colleagues have, you will have non-stop solutions for them. And when your idea muscle is at its peak-performance, your ideas will actually be good, which again means you will be able to create the life you want to lead.
I have found that exercising my idea muscle, and coming up with ideas every day has been helpful in my writing process. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t always know what I’m going to write about, but the very act of coming up with a few ideas helps me to figure it out and find the best one. Starting the day this way has improved my ideation, and helped me to come with better ideas at my job too. I’ve been able to think of more creative solutions to problems because I am consistently working out this muscle every single day.
Writing helps you process.
My friend Casey has had very long hair for the last 10 years. Last, week, she decided to chop it all off and get a long bob instead. I went to a coffee shop with her after she cut it, and we both spent some time drinking coffee (tea for me) and writing. She worked on a blog post about why she cut her hair, and after she published it, she looked at me and said, “I didn’t know how much I was feeling until I started writing about it.” I have felt that same feeling so many times. I didn’t realize the significance of what I was experiencing until I started writing about it. I didn’t realize that I had trouble connecting my emotions to my experiences until I started processing them through writing. This has been the greatest benefit of all.
Writing every day has not been easy, but so far, I am really enjoying the challenge. If you are like me and you don’t consider yourself a writer, but you enjoy writing and think that you might benefit from writing, I would encourage you to set yourself a writing goal, and then give it a try. Maybe you don’t want to commit to a whole year like I did. That’s totally fine. My friend Kristine decided to start writing around the same time as me and she chose to commit to one month.
Writing is a worthwhile endeavor that makes you better, and if nothing else, it’s a great way to document life lessons, experiences and build up a written body of work that embodies you.