Writing is a skill, and while most people know the basics, I took it to the next level by writing every single day for the last few months (okay, maybe there were a few days I didn’t, but I can assure you it was almost every day!).
Truth is, I actually didn’t get serious about writing until a few years ago. Sure, I dabbled in the art here and there, but I began to gravitate towards learning the complexity of the English language once I entered college. I found myself drawn to piecing apart sentence structures and evaluating the flow throughout everything I read.
They say you can’t get better at something without consistent practice, so here’s what writing every single day taught me.
1. How to Put my Thoughts into Words
Writing is hard. Sometimes I know what I want to say, but I learned there’s a huge difference between verbal and written communication. Whenever I speak, I’ve found my words flow naturally and I don’t have time to filter much out; my real, genuine feelings will show based on my tone and expression.
However, writing is different. You probably have no idea what I look like or what kind of mood I’m in when writing this unless you know me really well. Same goes for whenever you read someone else’s work on the internet.
Think about it: have you ever received a text where the tone feels impossible to discern?
That’s why I learned to take great care in the sentences I write, from the adjectives I choose to the tense shifts. I want my writing to evoke the feelings I want to convey, whether that’s a sense of professionalism, happiness, or even cheesy nonsense.
2. Yes, I do have time to write!
I stopped making excuses. I used to have a million errands to run and always told myself “I’ll start just after this one last video” like twenty times.
There is time to write, but if you want to do it like me, you must be passionate. I learned I needed to put my mind, body, and soul into honing my craft. I figure for any skill I’m interested in, if I’m not willing to put in the time, then I don’t really care for it.
If you want to learn something, stop checking your social media tea and start improving immediately. Trust me, you’ll have way more fun developing your own skills than reading the same-old complaining comment sections. Whenever I think about all the time I wasted watching non-educational videos and scrolling through forums, I wish I could’ve put my time back into learning writing (or some other more productive hobby). I’m not saying it’s bad to enjoy these things once in a while, but think about your goals and where you want to be in the next five years. Then, cut out all the distractions that prohibit you from reaching your goal. I always strive to put at least an hour minimum into writing, and I’ve found I have plenty of time for friends and other activities, too.
On the positive, there’s no better day than today to put down your phone and start honing your craft! If you want to learn more about writing or some other hobby, you can begin by starting right after you finish this post. Personally, I’ve found shoving my phone into a drawer or putting it out of reach helps me to keep my focus.
3. Using Programs as a crutch hinders my voice
I’m sure most people reading this know that companies sell programs that give suggestions and other information as you write.
However, these programs didn’t help me improve whatsoever, and they certainly didn’t help me identify more complex sentence structures. I learned how to write better by searching for sources about grammar, punctuation, and tenses. I sought out examples of different works over my career and improved to keep my writing on par. It’s amazing how much my writing changed the more I became aware of how the English language works.
Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have spellcheck for proofreading (I know I do); just don’t use programs that auto-generate suggestions. I know I’m creative, and oftentimes these programs don’t know what they’re talking about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve misspelled words or sent the wrong message in an e-mail because some software believed it knew what I wanted to say!
4. I shouldn’t be afraid to put my work out there
Believe it or not, there was once a time when I was afraid to start blogging on my own. I consistently believed that I wasn’t good enough, or that my skill wasn’t up to par with the pros.
However, never putting my work on the internet or sharing it with others can be equated to fearing the nonexistent monster under the bed. There’s so many people out there that were willing to guide me in the right direction when I showed them my work.
Yes, I did make mistakes; that’s natural to learning any craft. If you’re considering starting a blog or working with writing in any capacity, I suggest starting today. You’ll be amazed at how much positive encouragement and feedback you can find within your network.
5. Writing is Awesome!
Writing is amazing. I can make myself laugh, cry, or both in the same piece. I’ve enjoyed researching and creating blog posts throughout my career because I love the challenge of exposing myself to new information.
Exercising the side of my brain that loves to process information is great. I’ll never stop writing, and hopefully I’ll always keep learning as I continue on my journey.