A Month of Writing Everyday — Here’s What I’ve Learned
Starting January 1st, I’ve written every day. So far I love it, and I’ve learned so much about myself, the craft of writing, and life in general. More than a month later here’s what I learned.
Writing isn’t easy
At first, I thought it was because I wasn’t good at it. No. Writing, especially good writing, is difficult for nearly everyone (besides Stephen King) . Even many successful writers have a hard time writing.
But boy is it rewarding.
From my experience, writing is analogous to running. Running sucks, it’s all kinds of painful, but once you endure that pain and hit runner’s high, it’s a feeling like no other.
Every word, every sentence, must be intentional.
This is how you write clearly. Not only write clearly but this has helped me talk more clearly as well.
Eliminate anything with no use, and watch your writing — and your speech — declutter.
The essence of writing is rewriting
Nobody writes a perfect first draft.
This is obvious to me in retrospect but I used to think that the best writers would create their best work on the first go. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Writing is rewriting. The first draft is going to look like shit, but it’s meant to flesh out all your ideas. Then we begin to rewrite, and with every rewrite, it begins to take shape. My favorite part is when it comes out better than you imagined it.
Building a second brain
The art of non-fiction writing is coming up with interesting ideas and explaining them clearly.
When I first started writing, I would sit down, brainstorm on the spot and write whatever I’m feeling. I still do this from time to time, but now I learned the importance of having a proper note-taking system. Having a note-taking system is like having a “second brain”. Now, I’m not confined to the limits of my brain.
I write ideas whenever I get them. I’m constantly brainstorming and I write all my ideas down.
I don’t get writer’s block because I have a backlog of over 300 ideas and counting I can turn to at any time.
There are infinite things to write about
At first, I was intimidated by the prospect of writing every day. Will I have enough ideas? Over 40 posts later, this has not been a concern at all.
There’s no shortage of things to write about. There’s thousands of different subjects, millions of books written about everything, and so many interesting people now and throughout history.
A prerequisite to writing a daily blog is curiosity. As long as I’m curious, I can write for a million years and not run out of things to write about it.
Write for an audience of one
Ultimately the product that any writer has to see is not the subject being written about, but who he or she is. - On Writing Well, William Zissner
This is a core principle for any writer. At the end of the day, I write for myself and whatever is most true to me. I see my writing as an extension of me.
Often times, I have no idea how a piece is going to turn out. But for whatever reason, I feel inclined to write about it. I trust that feeling and just start writing and oftentimes, it leads me to a great place.
This is how I wrote my Dear Kobe piece. That day I just wrote, I wrote whatever I was feeling, I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. Eventually, as I kept rewriting, it started to take form and it turned out a lot better than I was first envisioned.
Many people’s advice for starting anything is you just have to go. It’s overplayed, it’s obvious, but it’s damn true.
Just Go, is an ironic phrase. Counterintuitively, it’s the easiest thing to do, yet the most difficult.
The War of Art calls this the resistance, the resistance stops you from doing what you were meant to do. By eliciting fear, causing procrastinating, etc.
Before starting this blog, I felt this too. But the best way to cure it is to face it head-on, and go.
 A funny interview between George RR Martin and Stephen King where Martin asks King, “How the fuck do you write so many books so fast?”.
 I didn’t take Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain course but this point was inspired by him.