…and what you’ll learn too if you start.
Every time I look back at the 1st article I wrote for Rabbut, I cringe a little. If you’re thinking it’s just a bunch of misspellings and petty little grammar mistakes, hoho…no, that’s just scratching the surface. To be honest, I actually wished my writing started that way, because my biggest problem was what I wrote did not make ANY sense.
Give it to a 5th grader, and I swear they’ll crinkle up their forehead, struggling to patch all the pieces together. Yup I know, that’s how horrible my writing was. But despite that, I still wrote. Not because I was obligated to for work, but because I wanted to be better. I wanted to prove to everyone that I could lay out the most clustered of thoughts onto paper that wouldn’t leave people with a confused look.
For that, I challenged myself to write every single day — whether I was mentally strained after work, traveling out of town, or even sitting on the toilet. If I forgot my laptop, I made sure I wrote on my phone. Like workouts, there was not a single day I skipped out on writing. And then one day, it suddenly hit me, like when FBIs finally track down on who the real serial killer is. Except in this case, the writing I’ve always dreamed to be proud of was right there, infront of the screen. It took me a couple extra seconds to realize it was actually my work!
The lesson I’m here to give you?
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” -Benjamin Franklin
Because if you keep pushing yourself, you’ll eventually become that extraordinary writer you’ve always wanted to be. I’m not quite there yet, but let me share what I’ve learned based on the countless hours I spent writing and re-writing (i.e. starting from scratch). At the very end, you’ll have a clearer scope on how blogging can (cross out can) will improve the way you write and can surprisingly change your mindset too.
1. Writing is tough, but anyone can be an extraordinary writer (if you keep at it)
It’s hard work. Even the most brilliant of minds don’t get their first sentences right on the first attempt, or even the third. So don’t feel bad if you think you’re not getting the right words down. The trick is to be persistent, even when you know that people are going to criticize your work, tell you it’s absolute shit, and that you need to start all over again. Yes, it’s a bullet shot to the heart, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
“Nothing happens until somebody feels something.”
It’s good to feel bad sometimes, because usually that will push you to do better next time. Let me ask you this, would you rather go through that same unpleasant experience? Or would you give 100% effort to wow people and gain their newfound respect for you? It’s a no-brainer. As long as you give it your all, you’ll reach a point where you can write something absolutely incredible and be proud of your work.
2. You write better if you read more
Ask the most respectable writer what they do, and 9 out of 10 times they’ll list ‘reading.’ You see, when you read other people’s context, you not only absorb new knowledge, but you also discover new styles of writing that you’ve never been exposed to. That will allow you to bridge your writing foundation with theirs, which in most cases will help you craft a healthy mix of unique content. So the more you read, the more developed your writing becomes.
3. You discover your true voice
There’s a quote I distinctly remember from one prominent blogger I know, Brittany Berger: trying to be someone you’re not is the quickest way to take the fun out of blogging. This is (still) something I have been struggling from the very beginning. What I did was plagiarize 90% of someone’s content, twisted a few words here and there, and called it mine. I regret it now.
What I realized was that people like to read something from the heart, not from copy-edit-paste. It makes a huge difference in how you stand out from the mediocre bunch who prioritize quantity over quality. I mean, how often do you come across a wonderful piece that’s informative, yet packed with personality? Not often, which is why you should always keep this in mind, ‘write the way you talk.’ Because at the end of the day, people will notice. You’ll start to shine out and be comfortable the way you are. Let yourself go and your voice will be heard louder.
4. You think more for others
Writing is not a one-way street. If you’re writing just for yourself, you might as well stick with the old-fashioned diary or go back to Xanga (which no longer exists for people to write out their thoughts). It’d break the true meaning of blogging, which is all about sharing what you write.
Before, I only wrote to my satisfaction. But little did I know, that was the wrong approach to take. All it sounded like was a rant, a one-sided argument, with no appreciation for others and what they could get out of it. After realizing I was getting no positive feedback or constructive comments, I started tweaking my mentality to consider others.
What value would they get from my writing?
This is a question I’d always ask myself when brainstorming topics. Because when people read blogs, they expect to get something from it, whether that’s learning a productive lesson or being entertained. If they like you enough to read more, it’s more motivation for you to keep writing great content. Try asking yourself that question — it’ll drastically boost the value of your work.
5. It clarifies your mind
I hate to admit this, but I’m one of those types that take 5 minutes to jot down one good sentence. And that’s because my mind is scattered with fragments of thoughts in which I try to piece together to write something that’s clear. But let me tell you, if you take some time out of your day to write freely, and by freely I mean write whatever you’re thinking no matter how random it is, your mind will start organizing thoughts better.
Think of your mind as a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. In time, you’ll gradually be able to connect your thoughts better, faster. Just let your thoughts flow, don’t stop.
Practice Makes Perfect
No one can become an awe-inspiring writer overnight. It takes strict discipline, dedication, most importantly, the willingness to become a better writer. It took me 6 hard months to realize how much my writing has changed and what I could be. But as long as you stick with a rock-solid goal and push yourself every day to be the person you strive to grow into, I promise you, you’ll make it.