Why Everyone Should Write
Everyone should write. This is one of my deepest held beliefs. Through writing, you can create new opportunities, develop a greater clarity of thought, and navigate your way through the world. Writing is a way where we can take the unstructured thoughts in our head and turn them into something tangible. Something other people can read at any time from anywhere.
The internet has changed the way we think about writing. In the past, we used to have to go to a library to read the works of experts. Or go to a university to study a topic and receive great reading materials. Or read the daily newspaper. But now we can read expert insights from anywhere in the world. We are no longer constrained by the types of content we can consume because everything we can imagine has been written about on the internet somewhere. Writing on the internet allows people to share their perspectives and their way of thinking about the world with anyone who is interested in listening. And if you have something to say, writing it down can be the best way to get it in the hands of other people.
Writing is a way you can practice your skills in your mental gym. You can write down about the ideas you have, synthesize new ones, and figure out how to best articulate your ideas so you can present them eloquently to those who would be interested in hearing them. The truth is that some of the most impactful people in the world were also writers. Great entrepreneurs have written about their experiences; leaders have written books; intellectuals have shared their ideas through the written medium. Why? Because writing is a great way to share ideas. And that concept applies to everyone, even if they are not professional writers.
Writing can change your life.
Writing can change your life. The internet has created a repository of human knowledge unlike anything we have seen. We can learn new things, meet experts, and make good friends through the internet. And we also can build our reputation based on what we do on the internet. The proliferation of social media and writing platforms has made it easy for anyone to share their perspective of the world. Now, anyone who has something interesting to say can share their thoughts with an audience of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions.
There are a few ways in which writing can change your life. The first is that writing can help you gain more comprehension over your ideas. It can be difficult for you to focus on a topic for more than a few seconds without being distracted by another thought or something else you have to do. But when you sit down and write, the only thing you have to worry about is what you are going to say. The only things you are focused on are the topic you are writing about, and actually writing. Your mind has not moved over to the fact you have an urgent email you need to send. You are not distracted by the meeting you have tomorrow which you want to skip. You are focused on the words and letting them flow.
Writing on paper — or, online — can allow you to organize all of your thoughts on a subject in one place. You no longer need to rely on your mind to make connections between ideas you have already had — and risk forgetting those ideas — because there is now a record of your past thoughts. A record you can read at any time; that represents the way you were thinking at the time you wrote your ideas down.
This also makes it easier for us to learn new concepts. When we are learning something new, it can be tempting to utilize the same techniques we were taught in high school — take notes, and try to memorize as much as possible. But we often overlook the power of writing in helping us develop our knowledge. If we are writing, we are able to think about an idea in-depth. We are able to reinforce the knowledge we currently have. Investors learn new things by researching and implementing new investment strategies, businesspeople learn new things by trying them out in a live environment. Writers do the same thing, too.
Writing can be uncomfortable, and at times inconvenient. Some of my best ideas come when I am away from my computer, and sometimes I don’t have a notebook to take a note of that idea. But that doesn’t matter. If I have a good idea, I will likely remember it. My best ideas are developed when I am outside doing something. Or working on a meaningful task. My mind thinks about something and asks “could this be a good article?” When you are writing, you will have to get used to the fact sometimes ideas come at random times. That’s why you should never stress too much about having no ideas. They will come naturally, if you let them come to you.
Writing can also be uncomfortable because you have to actually think through the logic of your ideas. You have to stare directly at the holes. And the mistakes you have made. And the mental models and biases which have impaired your thinking. This is a boon in the sense that by seeing all of your thoughts, you are more likely to recognize that you have been biased or that there is a mistake in your thinking. And this means you know you need to do more thinking about that idea before you share it. But when you are just starting, it can be difficult for you to internalize the fact that some of your ideas will be bad. The way I like to think about it is that every writer has bad ideas. Every good writer knows this, and waits until they have a great idea to share their thoughts. But they will still write about the bad ideas anyway, just to practice.
Writing is also a good way to build an asset. One way to develop a personal competitive advantage is to build an asset — something that generates capital over time. By publishing your writing, you are able to make your thoughts available to anyone who encounters them on the internet. People who like your work may reach out and give you a compliment. Or they may reach out to ask for your thoughts on something else. You will be able to expand your network and more people will start to come to you — all because you started writing. Indeed, because people can read your work at any time and from anywhere, your writing can generate capital even while you sleep.
If you publish content frequently, more people will discover your work and reach out to you. And this will compound over time. The more people read your work, the more likely they will be to share it. Writing is also a good asset because what you write about will be unique to you. Nobody else will have the same perspective of the world as you. And this means you can escape competition. People can only compete by copying, and good writing is based on an individual’s personal thoughts. Do your own thing, and build your writing asset over time. You will quickly start to see more opportunities open up to you.
The best advice I have for getting started is to just write something now. Don’t worry about sentence structure or editing or anything else. Just take a moment to write about something you enjoy. If you like thinking about college, write about that. If you are a chef, write about one of your experiences in the kitchen. Write in a journal. A blog. A book. Anything you want. As soon as you start to show up, you will experience the benefits of writing. I also recommend publishing your work online so that other people can read your work, which will increase your access to new opportunities.
How should I get started?
To get started, take down some notes about something you know about. That way you will be less likely to experience writer’s block — you can’t hit a wall when you have notes of inspiration. Then write like you talk. And write in a simple tone. Don’t add long words to make your writing impressive, just communicate like you would if you were talking to a friend. After you have written something you like, publish it online. Start a blog or a website where you share some of your essays or articles. And share those articles with as many people as possible. As you continue to write new articles, people will start to read more of your work.
Also, you should write about something where you have a unique perspective. There are more articles written online each day than you could read in a lifetime. But a lot of it is news, and low-quality content. Many articles and essays are also just repetition of previous ideas. But those who are able to write about their own thoughts and share their unique way of thinking can acquire an audience quickly. Because, after all, most people would prefer to read a great article than a news update. You should invest time in your work and take great pride in what you write about. That doesn’t mean you should obsess over the quality, but rather spend time creating something you want to call your own.
One of the best skills you can have in the modern economy is to be good at writing. Everyone has to write at some point in their job. The best people write not because they have to, but because they have something to say that they want to share with the world.