It’s currently 8:21 in the morning on New Year’s Eve.
My 6ft 4inch frame is packed far too tightly in a seat that is far too small. I put the tray in front of me down but my knees come up so far that it doesn’t lay flat. To my right is a woman nodding in and out of a nap as her movie begins and to my left is a young man playing an iPhone game.
I’m running on fourish hours of sleep as a modest thought crosses my mind,
“I should probably take a nap”
It quickly passes though, and I continue to type away on the uneven surface. Some of these words may never be seen by another person; they may never accumulate views, make money, or be used for anything of tangible value.
But I don’t really care. Why?
Let me tell you.
It All Started With One Article
Since taking my writing a little more seriously in September 2018, I have:
- Reached 100,000 monthly views of my work on Medium
- Written for multiple publications
- Started my own publication
- Achieved top writer status in culture, health, entrepreneurship, creativity, inspiration, productivity, and finance
- Created a personal website to display my portfolio of work
- Connected with dozens of other brilliant professionals who evolved my perception of what a “career” means
Essentially, I have built modest credibility to count writing as a side hustle.
More importantly, over the course of 463 days, I have published 141 times and drafted 465 more. That means 606 times I decided to be creative instead of mindlessly watching basketball. It’s 606 times I connected with an audience instead of scrolling through Instagram.
All of that started with a simple Medium post.
The thing about writing is that it keeps you honest. And the thing about writing in public is that it keeps you really honest.
606 times writing in public has acted as a journal entry for me to expand upon who I am and get comfortable being uncomfortable. All of these little moments have given me a self-introspection on where I was at every point in my life. By default, this has made me a far better person.
I can look back at each post and remember how I felt during that time, where I went wrong (or right), and improve.
How Has Writing in Public Helped Me Personally?
Writing in public allowed me to refine my voice and develop a style that is unique to me. I look back at my first couple of posts and see a noticeable shift in language and flow. Plus, because you are constantly posting in public, it is difficult to be fake and concurrently build a real personal brand.
Writing in public directly led to a promotion at work. After my boss saw the first article I published, he pulled me into the office and said, “Hey, this is great. Can you start doing more stuff like this for us?” I have since been appointed as the Content Marketing Supervisor for our brands.
Writing in public gave me a stable source of income, which in turn motivated me to test out different opportunities I never would have thought of. Graduating from college put me on a one-track mindset to live like everyone else. Get a job, work 9–5, and slowly move up the corporate ladder until you retire.
Writing changed that perception. I started a book, tested freelancing, and have aspirations to build my own media platform down the line.
Essentially, writing in public has been a giant crash course on developing creativity, an entrepreneurial spirit, and putting your work out there for other people to read.
I See Things Differently Now
There is a sense of calmness in our noisy, chaotic world knowing that everything I want is on the other side of hard work. I no longer feel stuck in a job with firsthand knowledge that you can reap the benefits of creative work and art if you’re willing to put yourself out there.
This understanding has made me a better person- and a far more successful one.
It’s now 11:56 AM and my plane is about to land. To my left, the man is still staring at his phone. To my right, the woman’s movie credits roll across the screen as she yawns.
Here I am, sitting awkwardly in the middle. Writing.