I never thought I’d write on a regular basis, let alone make money from it. To be honest, I thought I’d have nothing interesting to say.
But then in January, I figured it was time for me to improve my writing skills, so I decided to write once a day on Medium.com, with the sole purpose of improving my skills.
But Medium is not the only place I started to write on — I started journaling that same month.
Every morning I would write anything that came to mind in my journal. Being an entrepreneur, a lot of the stuff I would write about was different projects, but also self-reflection, goals, and more.
I never meant to continue with either going forward, but it had been too beneficial to stop.
Some people travel to get clarity. When I traveled around the world for a year with my wife, we both got the opposite result. We were so damn lost. Traveling opened up new opportunities we never knew we had, and suddenly we didn’t know what to do anymore.
Has this happened to anyone else?
It’s when I started writing both publicly and privately that everything aligned and managed to gain much-needed clarity, and ultimately freed my mind from overthinking things.
Yesterday, I saw my cousin I had not seen for 5 years. He’s had very rough patches during that time. He recently managed to get back on his feet and took matters in his own hands. I asked him how he did it, and he said something like that (translated from French):
“It’s simple, I let go of my thoughts — good or bad. I trusted my subconscious to guide me where I needed to go. Suddenly, and effortlessly, I started getting ahold of myself, made more money and started being happier.” — Cousin Denis
One way he let his mind go free was by starting to write a book.
See the pattern?
If you’ve got demons, why not try writing — publicly and privately?
And if you’re an introvert like Denis and me, writing is a fantastic way to express yourself. And everyone needs to express themselves. I’m not comfortable telling my story in a group, especially if I don’t know everyone in the group. But in writing, I tell my story all the time, and it’s strangely liberating.
I’m willing to bet a lot of the writers we read on Medium.com are introverts like me.
Now that we agree writing daily can help gain clarity and free up your mind, how do we actually do that?
Read on for some personal tips I learned from the past seven months of writing every day (on average), writing over 300 stories during that time!
1. Don’t force it
That’s crucial! It’s when you overthink it that words don’t flow. For this story, like 98% of the 300 stories I’ve written, I started with a blank page, not knowing — at all — what I would write about.
If words don’t flow, don’t force it.
Step back and forget about writing entirely. I mostly write as soon as I wake up. That’s when I have the most clarity and my mind isn’t cluttered by thoughts from the day. But occasionally, it just doesn’t flow. So I don’t force it. Then when I least expect it, ideas start flowing.
In Learning to Learn, on Coursera, Dr. Terrence Sejnowski claims that by letting your mind free by doing activities like jogging or simply taking a shower, your subconscious works for you and gives you a new perspective on things.
I’ve seen that time and again. Most of what I consider my “genius” ideas come from taking what I call a “thinking shower”.
Remember Denis’ story from above?
It’s when you don’t overthink and let your mind go free that you get the clarity you seek.
2. Medium is a safe haven
Again, a very important point.
I have yet to see someone make fun of a writer who’s opening up. On the contrary, readers relate more. Medium is a place where readers seek genuine stories, not an opportunity to troll.
No one laughed at me when I said I grew up in a very poor family, when I said I didn’t learn to ride a bicycle until I was 21, when I said I was afraid of heights or drowning, and more.
Because of that, I opened up more and more, and suddenly my confidence got a boost.
If you’ve got a problem or an addiction, Medium is the place to write about it.
3. The more vulnerable you are, the more liberating it is for you
These people inspired me and many others to improve our lives. When they started writing about their problems, they weren’t “big” like they are today. They became what they are today because they swallowed their pride and shared their genuine stories, and people love them for it.
Can you imagine how liberating that must be?
Finally letting out a “big secret” you have is the foundation of finally accepting yourself the way you are.
4. Journaling is not a dumb thing
I was sure journaling would be a dumb thing, but everyone was talking about it, so I gave it a try. Back in January, I bought a pen and paper, and tried journaling at the co-working space in Málaga. I filled a page in what seemed like 2 seconds. So I continued. After 30 minutes, I realized that I actually really needed this. I decided to go to the beach to see what would happen.
I journaled for 3 hours straight!
It’s insane the number of things you have on your mind without even realizing it. Needless to say, I was proven wrong — it worked. To this day, I still write in my journal almost on a daily basis. Whenever I need clarity, I go to it.
5. Writing daily teaches the power of habits
I can’t prove the following claim, but I found that the more good habits you form, the easier it gets. Once I integrated writing and exercising into my daily habits, other habits seemed to form easier and faster.
And the good thing about writing as a habit is that it’s “very easy” to do. You don’t need to go anywhere or have fancy equipment. You don’t need money either. If words don’t flow, just write about your day at the end of the day. You know what you did — or didn’t do — so no need to think much on it.
Once you write for one, two, three months, it will be second nature. Then you can focus on the next good habit!
Remember, don’t force it, don’t be afraid to share your vulnerabilities, journal, and write daily.
When you do all that, you’ll free your mind, gain clarity, boost your confidence and form great habits.
You can do this!
Thanks for reading, sharing and following! :)
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