I started writing daily in 2015. Since then, I published over 600 articles and wrote 8 books. I easily wrote more than a million words. There are many things I have learned from writing.
Here are 12 of my most important insights.
- Writing is rewarding. The act of writing is the most rewarding intellectual process I can think of. You have a bunch of thoughts in your mind where no one can see them. With writing, you make those thoughts real. You bring them to the real world. It helps you become more self-aware. And the process of releasing your thoughts into the real world just feels good.
- If you do something every day, you can make good money from it. This is something I underestimated. When I started, I thought, “I love writing so I’m going to become a professional writer. And I don’t care if I don’t make much money.” But as the years went by, I started making good money. If you do something daily, you get better. And opportunities will present themselves. Never underestimate the power of diligent work!
- Write short and write long. Short pieces like articles give you an instant high. But they don’t give you the true feeling of accomplishment that a book gives.
- Write every day. Make writing a daily ritual, regardless of how busy you are or what day of the week it is. Be it a blog post, a journal entry, or a chapter of your new book, write something every day. Starting new writing projects keeps the process exciting. I don’t have a writing target. I just want to make sure I write something daily.
- Simplicity wins. There are probably a million writers who are more prolific than me. But in my opinion, it’s better to write in a simple way rather than a very intellectual, pretentious, or academic way. Most writing is too stiff and uninviting. Nobody wants to read something that seems like a show-off of intellectual prowess.
- Brevity also matters. Everything can be made shorter, which makes it easier to read. Always review your writing and question the necessity of each sentence. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, consider eliminating it. My next book, The Stoic Path to Wealth, was about 75K words when I finished the first draft. Then, I cut it down to 60K. My editor then challenged me to bring it down to 50K. It became 10X more readable after all the cuts.
- Write with purpose. I’ve always been a pragmatic guy. Why do you write? What’s the purpose? Why should someone read your stuff? Always keep your reader’s perspective in mind. It’s not always about you.
- Tools don’t matter as much. People often waste time searching for the perfect writing tool. The truth is, you can write with anything as long as you have a keyboard and a will to express your thoughts.
- Reading is a part of writing. I probably read at least ten times more than I write. Reading a variety of content—books, online magazines, blogs—fuels my creative process.
- When people count on you, you show up. Having an audience who expects your writing can be a great motivator. It creates a sense of responsibility, preventing procrastination. Before I started blogging, no one really expected me to write anything. Now, I have a whole community waiting for my words. I think this is the biggest reason why I still publish weekly articles.
- The fear doesn’t go away. Look, writing is scary. Whether you write online or an email to a stranger. You always fear that people might not respond or worse, think you suck. And that will always stay, no matter how successful you are. So it’s better to recognize the fear and write anyway.
- Comparison is the death of creativity. If you want to pursue anything creatively or build a business, it’s tempting to look at your competitors. You might get jealous and think, “I can do that!” Then despair later when you feel you don’t get the success you’re “supposed” to have. It’s not a productive or healthy thought process. It’s better to focus on simply improving your writing.
There is one other big thing I learned from all these years of writing.
It is about being original. To not look to other people too much and pave my own path instead. Writing taught me to focus on creating something I think people will find valuable.
After all, if you want to do anything worthwhile in the world, you have to do it differently than others.
No one is looking for another clone of a well-known person.
If there’s only one thing you’ll leave this post with, it’s this: Think about how you can be unique in your life. Stop trying to please people. Stop trying to be like other people.