My journey to discover writing as my life-long passion has been a long, wild one.
I remembered taking no interest in writing at high school. The only thing I wrote was a couple of literature essays. I would never imagine myself to be a writer. To me, writing was a sacred job, reserved only to very creative or intelligent individuals. Besides, I’ve got many other dreams.
As a small child, I dreamt of being a school teacher. I would play games with kids in the neighborhood, pretending to be a teacher and marking their exercises. I also got good grades at school, so that consolidated my belief that I would one day become a teacher.
When I got a bit older, teaching no longer appealed to me. In my country, teachers don’t make a lot of money. I also thought teaching life is boring. You get stuck to one dull routine, teaching kids the old same things for decades.
So I decided to become an astronomer! Having watched a lot of TV shows and documentaries about space, I was mesmerized by the immense beauty of the universe. How fascinating it is to spend my life learning about them. But I wasn’t determined enough, of course. It doesn’t take me long to realize learning about space is more of an interest than a life-long pursuit or something I could make a living out of.
Being a travel agent would be more realistic then. I could travel to many distant lands, immerse myself in different cultures, and make friends worldwide. And again, I wasn’t passionate enough.
It wasn’t until college that I discovered my passion for writing. It started out more like a hobby. I would scribble some notes when I feel bored. I also read other people’s blogs and felt inspired to start my own.
I still remembered the first time I completed a blog post. It was effortless. I fleshed out the first draft in one go without much thinking. I just wrote whatever sprung up in my mind. And it felt wonderful.
From that day, I wrote more often. I wrote in the morning after breakfast. I wrote on the bus and at night before bed. Sometimes life got the better of me and I stopped writing altogether. But I always find my way to come back to it. Because writing has grown to be something I can’t live without it.
Here are the top 10 ways writing improved my life.
Writing helps me to express myself
I’m not a very popular kid at school. I don’t say much in get-togethers. I don’t often hang out with friends. I’m that kid who sits at the corner, listens to everyone closely but rarely contributes to the conversations. Their interests aren’t mind.
Having no one to confide my thinking in, I turn to writing. It gives me the chance to express what I really think, talk about lessons that I learn during the day, things that bother me, that I wish to change, or that I believe can help others. Writing allows me to flesh these all out without shame.
Whenever I write, I feel like the weight on my shoulder is lifted. My body gets recharged. I can feel sure of myself again.
Writing saves me from a boring life
My life used to be a repeat: wake up, go to school, do my homework, binge-watch TV or surf the net until dark. I just didn’t know what else better to do.
As writing becomes my daily routine, I start to read more books, learn new skills, make new friends, travel more often, etc. Because that’s the only way I can get ideas to write about. So in a sense, writing helps me live a more interesting life.
This is true for most writers. Writers don’t live boring lives.
Writing defines me
If you don’t write, I don’t know what else to do. An egoistic statement, I know. Some people will laugh this off and say: if you don’t write, just do something else.
But writing is my calling. If I can’t write, I’m not sure if my life is still worthwhile living. Yes, I can just move on with another passion. But it won’t bring me the same joy that writing does.
I don’t know if I’m a good writer or ever a good one. But I know this: If I stop writing now, a large part of me would die with it.
Writing makes me grateful of life
Being a writer forces me to pay more attention to the world around me. Instead of taking everything for granted, I begin to appreciate all the goods that show up in my life: wonderful friends, supporting family, blazing trees in the sun, a lovely flower, the chipping bird, etc.
As I realize how fortunate it is to be part of this beautiful world, I stop thinking negatively and blame others for my misfortune.
Instead, I try to live my life more consciously, to make every second of living count. I spend less time watching TV and Youtube to focus on creating and providing value.
Writing helps me think
Lazy thinker. All you need to know is only one click away. What’s the point of sleeping over a problem or taking long walks to think up a solution?
Writing forces me to think. Reflect upon what happens to me during the day. Talk about how I feel, how the event affects me, what I learn about. Writing helps me improve critical thinking. See things from different angles. I have to disagree with others. It teaches me not to take a problem lightly.
When you freewrite, you’re still thinking. It’s when your subconscious mind is at work. Most of the time, what you write is just a bundle of thoughts. Other times, a complete picture starts to emerge from jigsaw pieces with all the answers you need.
Writing opens my eyes to the world
Writing helps me realize how much I don’t know. I have to look for ideas to write about. Read, see, feel, observe more. Get exposed to new concepts. Grow as a person. Keep me humble. An ignorant person is someone who thinks he knows it all. So he stops learning, taking in new knowledge.
One thing that writers do more than anything else (but writing) is reading. Stephen king: read a lot, write a lot. The more I write, the more I love to read. Not just for the grammar or vocabulary, but to know and understand the lives of the past men. Old stories can move me so much. Picture the scene clearly. Hear each character speaking directly to me. Prompt me to read more and learn more. I feel blessed.
Writing teaches me to accept who I am
I used to feel ashamed being an introvert. I’m lousy at having conversations with other people. Avoid partying, ignore acquaintances on the street, I’m kind of an anti-social. There’s a lot about me that I hate about—my body, social skills, etc. I’m always afraid of judgment.
Ever since I started writing, things have started to change. I become bolder and more confident. More relaxed at expressing my ideas. Love myself more. Realize that I don’t need anyone’s approval. I can be happy just by myself, doing the things that I love. Doesn’t mean cutting off my social networks completely. But I can live everyday happily, knowing that I don’t have to be loved by anyone. And if someone ignores or abandons me, I’ll be fine. Because I already have the best companion in the world, myself.
Writing slows me down
I was always on the go. Squeeze everything into my to-do list. My day is packed with activities. Dive into working right after waking up. Study. Study more. Read. Read more. Watch TV. Surf the web. I was chasing deadlines instead of living my life.
An important lesson that writing teaches me. I don’t have to pay attention to everything, just a few things that matter.
Write in the morning. Read. Take a walk (or meditate or think). Chat with friends. Read. Go to bed. I am no longer in a rush, jumping from one task to another. I do one task at a time, slowly but surely and the utmost focus. When I write, I write without switching to phones or checking emails. That is what I feel most proud about myself.
Starting a writing habit is a lot easier than you think. 3 helpful tips to get you started:
1. Set aside a time for writing
Schedule a time specifically for writing. In the early morning or late evening. Write for as long as you like: 30 minutes, one hour or a few hours. But during this time, you have to do one thing: write. You can’t surf the net, scroll Facebook or check emails every few minutes.
2. Write what you know
Anyone who survived childhood can write a novel about his life. You don’t need to make a full study of a subject to start writing. Just write about what you already know. Life experience, daily lessons, places that you’ve travelled to, your hobbies. What you know may be helpful for others. Write to one person who is on the brink of despair and depression. Give him hope. Inspire him. Give advice that shakes his world. .
3. Write from an idea pool
When you write a lot, you’ll struggle to get ideas at some point. One way to solve it is to create a bucket of writing ideas. As you go through the day, jot down in a notebook any idea that crosses your mind. When it’s time to write, take an idea from this bucket and expand it. Save you a lot of time looking around for ideas. Avoid writer’s block.