Writing is an exercise, it is a muscle, it is a discipline.
If you can learn to write, if you can teach yourself the discipline it takes to sit down and stare at the blank page and THINK, then you can do anything.
You should start writing because it’s hard.
Most of the best things in life are hard to obtain. Writing is this way, it is hard to do, but if you do it, it makes you feel better. You will have accomplished something, even if it’s just the discipline of putting your butt in the seat, your hands on the keyboard and forcing yourself to think.
Always be suspicious of people who give advice on things they have not done.
I’m telling you to write because I learned I need to write. It is hard for me to write. I can come up with all the excuses in the world not to.
I was forced to write.
My sister made me do it.
I was crushed by an avalanche. I was in the hospital, hooked up to life support. I had broken every bone in my face. They cut a hole in my throat and inserted a tube to support my airway. Because of the trach and the fact that my jaw was wired shut, I could not talk. I could only communicate by writing with a Sharpie and a piece of paper on a clip board.
My Mom and my sister lived in the hospital during that time. My sister stayed in my hospital room, while Mom would sleep in a hotel room in a different part of the hospital. My sister would go to the hospital room occasionally to get away from me and rest for an hour or so.
My sister is a nurse practitioner. She knows her stuff. She looked out for my care while I was in the hospital. She would send updates to friends and family through the Caringbridge website she set up for me. This way she could update everyone without having to answer the many phone calls and text messages.
She got tired of writing the updates, she was already doing so many other things to related to my healthcare. She wanted me to write the updates.
At first I refused (I always have an excuse not to write), then because I appreciated everything my sister was doing for me, I decided I write a post on my Caringbridge webpage.
One of the first posts I did was at 2 am. I couldn’t sleep because of all the pain, I had no energy and wanted nothing more than sleep. So I started typing. I was crying the whole time but it felt good to do. That post might be the best thing I’ve ever written.
That first post came from a deep dark place. It was pure emotion. The act of writing made me feel better.
I started this blog to keep up the practice of writing.
When I tell you, “You should write”, I mean it. I am talking from experience.
People will always be drawn to good shit. It’s an innate part of humans. We like the good stuff.
Everyone knows a lot about something. Everyone is passionate about something. Everyone goes through hard times.
This is what you should start writing about. Write about what you know, write about what drives you, write about your hard times.
I’ve encouraged many people to write. Because I was insecure and didn’t feel like an authority figure I’d tell people to write even if they never share it with anyone.
Now I think I was wrong.
I think you should share your stories, even if they are traumatic and personal. If you want, you can write them under a fake name or anonymously, just get them out there. The internet is a beautiful thing.
Everyone can have a blog, everyone can put their work out there.
The expert knowledge that you have, the passion about a subject, the adversity you’ve faced, these stories can help other people out there in the vast world. But only if you do the work, then put it out there, the people that need to find it will.
Here are 6 examples of people that I’ve recommended to “Write That Down!”
I have a friend who is an executive at a major oil company. She grew up in the oil business. She has been all over the world working in the oil business. She is a smart and articulate woman I have a lot of respect for. She has always been there for me, including after the avalanche when I needed a lot of help.
She almost died. She had a major health scare that put her in the hospital shortly after her third failed marriage. She wasn’t feeling so good. I encouraged her to start writing.
This woman has repeatedly overcome adversity in her life. She has a lot of powerful stories that can help people. If she started a blog about her knowledge, passions, and emotions during adversity, it would attract a lot of people. She could positively impact a lot of people, especially women.
I want to read her stories.
I have a friend who was a successful CEO of a mid-sized company. He is a smart, polished dude, and one of the strongest athletes I’ve ever met. He got fired by the board of the company he ran. It was a shock.
He was thrown into adversity.
He’s a talented guy and I knew he would come through the ordeal stronger than he was before. I encouraged him to start writing. I knew it would make him feel better, and I knew he’d have some powerful stories to share. There are lessons to be learned from this man.
The world needs to hear what he has to say.
One of my friends is a talented chef in wine country. He’s one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever met. I hadn’t seen him for two years when I went to visit him in the hospital. His head was shaved, he had a large horseshoe shaped scar on his head, and his speech was slow. He had just had brain surgery for a cancer tumor.
He was surprised to see me. I was there for support, just to say hello. I wanted to listen, if he wanted to talk. After I listened for a while, I encouraged him to write about what he was going through. I told him how much writing on the Caringbridge website made me feel better.
I knew his stories could help a lot of people.
One of my best friends is a nurse. He has worked the night shift in ICU’s all across the country. He was a wrestler in high school and ever since then he has been interested in health and fitness. I view him as an authority figure on these topics.
If I ever have a health problem, I run it by him. If I ever have questions about fitness, I want to know my buddy’s opinion. I encouraged him to write a blog about what he knows. He’s the man, and he could help a lot of people, including himself, if he got his body of knowledge out there.
What did he tell me when I encouraged him to write?
He told me about all the ways he’s not an authority figure on these topics. Here was the man I know, knows more about this stuff than anyone else, telling me he doesn’t know his stuff.
I get it. I have my excuses too. Silly humans.
My other friend sells life insurance. He knows more about the benefits of life insurance than anyone else I know.
He realized that people getting close to retirement age have no idea how to best handle their retirement benefits. He created a seminar to teach people simple steps they could do to boost their retirement income. He was disappointed that he couldn’t reach more people with his seminar.
I encouraged him to start a blog. Once a week he should write a blog post about the good stuff he knows. The people who are looking for good honest information will find him. Then he told me how he always reads this one guy’s blog because he knows more about life insurance than anyone else and he learns a lot from that guy.
I said “See? Do that.” My buddy agreed it was a good idea.
But he never started writing a blog.
My Dad knows all about fixing computers, fixing printers, fixing crap around the house, RC planes, and fixing Chryslers.
I hate Chryslers because I grew up with my Dad and we were always fixing his broke down Chryslers.
But who cares?
Turns out there is a large sub-culture of people who love Chryslers for the same reason my Dad does, because they break down and then they get to fix them. My Dad would be an authority figure on this subject if he wrote about it. People would seek out his advice.
If Dad wrote about networking computers, fixing printers (PC load letter!), and building RC planes people would seek him out because he could help them solve their problems with these subjects.
I told Dad about this and he did his Dad thing, he just smiled and chuckled. Which is his way of saying there’s no way he’s going to consider what you just suggested. He probably doesn’t think he’s an authority figure on these topics.
I get it.
Writing is hard. You have to battle what Steven Pressfield calls “Resistance.” You have to battle the blank page, you have to battle yourself. You have to overcome fear of not being an authority on the subject you’re writing about.
It is a worthy endeavor. You will learn. You will help others.
You will become a source of light in the subject that you feel you are not an authority figure in. Everyone needs a good source of light to illuminate the path.
I don’t think anyone I’ve suggested to start writing has actually started writing. This is understandable. No one asked for my advice, but I gave it anyway.
That’s a No-No, never give advice if it isn’t asked for.