The Incredible Impact 6 Years of Writing Has on Your Life
The lessons of my 6 years of continuous writing will leave you asking, “Maybe it’s writing that has been missing in my life all along?”
The simplest pursuits in life have more power than you may have considered. Writing is one of those pursuits.
In a world full of short posts, videos, and podcasts, writing can often be overlooked. You try it for a week, a month, or a year, then say, “Ahhh, it’s a waste of time.”
After six years of blogging, my beliefs about writing have changed, and they may help to shape your own and discover a simple art that you can practice if you choose.
Here is how writing has had an incredible impact on my life.
You Can Start From Nothing
I started writing from literally nothing. My best friend at the time told me not to bother writing because Wordpress websites were everywhere, and I’d be battling it out in a noisy crowd that had an advantage over me thanks to a ridiculous acronym called “SEO.”
I believed my friend and decided to write on a blog that wasn’t mine instead, which turned out to be the best decision I’d ever make.
That period of my life, in the beginning, was difficult. I hated myself; I was battling mental illness; I was broke; I was a cruel human being.
Everything was going against me, and I had nothing.
Looking back after six years, in some ways, having nothing is the best gift you can have as a human and even a writer.
You Don’t Need a Lot to Smile
When you start writing, you think you need a best-selling book, heaps of followers, and critical acclaim to succeed. I’m here to tell you that you don’t.
When you write for a prolonged period, there is so much more than the surface level temptations you see at the start. What makes me happiest as a writer is being able to smile because of what I have achieved.
Sacrificing the time, energy, and battles you have in your mind will make you smile; you just have to write for long enough to experience it.
Writing is as much for the audience as it is for you.
Every week I trawl through my list of experiences to see if there is a story or idea worth writing about. This habit has created forced reflection.
As I start to write the story in a particular way, the reflection process helps me see the lies I’m telling myself and when my ego may be getting in the way. You can journal, of course, but writing to an audience makes your thoughts come out differently.
You communicate differently when your writing is indexed in a search engine for the rest of your life, even if nobody ever reads it.
A Meaning for My Life
My life had no meaning for 30+ years. This reality caused me to make terrible career choices and drink huge amounts of alcohol to numb the pain. My love life was no better because it was always about me.
Writing changed all of that. Writing gave me meaning for my life, and it happened pretty quickly. It took one published story about toxic workplaces and hundreds of comments—each requiring a reply from me—to realize this idea that changed everything:
The meaning of my life is to serve people by writing about experiences and topics that have made a significant difference to me.
Your Thoughts Do Have Value
It’s easy to believe that your thoughts have no value.
I remember waking up thinking there was nothing remarkable about any of the realizations I was having in my life. “They’re normal, everyone has them, so be quiet,” I’d tell myself. But looking back after six years of writing, I realized this is all wrong. Our thoughts do have value.
It’s not what you say when you capture your thoughts, write them down, and hit publish. It’s your view of the world and the stories and experiences you add that have value.
Nobody has exactly the same experiences as you, and your view of the world is slightly different. That 0.004% difference in results equals ginormous amounts of value for the readers who choose to consume your work.
Time Alone With Your Thoughts
Your day can be noisy. There is so much going on, and time with your thoughts can be time you don’t have. Writing helps you win back that time.
Writing gives you the time to be alone with your thoughts, and it helps you realize, capture, and assess them in a unique way you can’t always do.
About half of my friends are a result of my writing. Many of my current friends started as readers, then followers, then the occasional type who’d send me a message, then at some point our paths would intersect in the form of a video call or live event.
The same is true for my mentors. The best two mentors I have were LinkedIn followers who messaged me because of strange ideas they discovered in my blog posts.
We spend too much time focusing on followers and not enough time focusing on the in-person relationships that truly impact our lives and make us feel more connected to humanity.
Kindness of Strangers
Starting out as a writer, I thought the biggest hurdle was going to be negative comments written by trolls/haters.
After six years, this is the least of my worries. What you realize after writing for a long time on the internet is that most people are kind.
Strangers don’t want to hurt you or steal from you or watch your kids bleed from their eyeballs. Actually, strangers are pretty kind and quite helpful.
Every day I’m reminded by that idea when I open an email from a reader and see their kindness intertwined in the words they write that form compliments, questions, and even form relationships.
You Can Overcome Anything
Writing consistently teaches you that you have more resilience than you think. When you take obstacles in your life and attempt to write about them, you start the recovery process.
Writing about your struggles leads you to think about them a little more, and that is the catalyst for everything that follows. I wrote about mental illness in the early days, and that led to my obsession to overcome it and help others do the same.
- Writing has helped me overcome a near-miss with cancer.
- Writing has helped me overcome mental illness.
- Writing has helped me heal from several bad breakups.
- Writing has helped me deal with losing my job and unemployment.
- Writing has helped me overcome many fears, like public speaking.
These outcomes are not unique to me. Writing can do the same for you if you give it a chance.
You Can Be Anything You Imagine
So here we are six years in. The biggest lesson writing has taught me is that we can be anything we imagine.
It never seemed possible that 30 million people would read something I wrote or that business leaders would quote me in their tweets or I’d rack up millions of views on a post about kindness. All of it seemed ridiculous.
What changes all of that is your imagination. If you can imagine your goal, you can see it. If you can see your goal, you work towards it. Thanks to six years of writing, my vision has changed and progressed.
Now I’m dreaming of giving a TED Talk, writing a book, being on the Tim Ferriss Show, sitting down with Dilbert creator Scott Adams, and helping more people through writing.
Writing teaches you to dream a little and, eventually, those goals come true if you’re patient enough and stick at it.
Imagine what writing can do for you and give it a shot.
If a mediocre Aussie from Kangaroo country can do it, the only question left to ask yourself is this:
“Maybe it’s writing that has been missing in my life all along?”