Why I Started Writing and You Should Too
4 reasons that inspired an unlikely writer to write
I am among the most unlikely person to start writing:
- Not a native English speaker.
- Have no experience writing, as an engineer who has probably written more codes than words.
- Nobody (well, maybe a few) is going to read what I write.
- Not an influencer, nor someone needing a portfolio. Even if a big following is magically granted, my blog will not help my career.
So why write? These are my 4 less common motivations, and they might inspire you to pick up a pen as well.
I Write for Myself
Before I started writing, I ask myself: “If nobody is ever going read what I write, is it worth it?” Surprisingly, the answer is often yes. Here are my top reasons:
- Personal Growth: writing is a way of thinking. As I write, I am reinforcing my knowledge. When I sometimes have difficulty writing, I am prompted to do more research and to think more thoroughly.
- Retirement Hobby: my goal in life is to never cease growing in some ways. For me, writing is the perfect hobby for when I am old and lack the energy to “change the world”.
- Fun: writing is fun if you pick only topics you are interested in and write what you want to write at your own pace.
Cherish the process of writing, not its end result.
There Is No Pressure
For me, writing is a hobby. My livelihood does not depend on it. Still, it can feel intimidating at first, thinking about putting a piece of content for the whole internet to read and comment on. I discard any hesitations by internalizing these facts:
- No Expectations: I do not expect to make money or become a famous writer.
- Complete Freedom: I can write about anything anytime. I do not have an audience, since I write for myself.
- No Judgement: it is not embarrassing to share because you are not demanding an audience. You can also write under a pseudonym.
Without pressure, I can truly enjoy writing. I write when sudden ideas pop into my mind or when I feel the urge to share my emotion. If someone happens to enjoy my work, I would be glad. If not, I am not disappointed.
I Write in My Own Style
Do you remember those SAT essays where you have to create arguments for topics you don’t care about under time pressure? Or those final papers that require a minimum amount of references to primary sources and a minimum word count? I hated them. Reading the old essays where I state the same argument forward and backward, and keep answering my own questions makes me cringe.
Writing is a drag if you must follow rules, but it can be heaven if you do it your way. Anyone can develop a style that is easy and enjoyable to write with.
Personally, I like to speed-read and enjoy short and focused articles. So I hope to develop a style that is:
- Concise: if an argument is self-explanatory, I will not add anything to explain it.
- Structured: I like to create structures with frequent use of headings, bullet points, and bold key phrases. Someone can get the gist of my article in a quick glance and decide if he/she wants to read more details.
I often like to think alone and random ideas pop into my mind. So I collect ideas and organize them with the Zettelkasten Method. Then, I group my ideas, organize them, and expand them. These sessions to organize thoughts are often therapeutical. Finally, when it comes to writing time, I know exactly what I am going to write.
Everyone Has a Niche to Write About
The first time I thought about writing a blog was when I was transitioning into a software engineering career. I taught myself into getting my dream job at Google. I experience so much along the journey that I wanted to write about them badly. But then I realize that there are many stories online about this career switch, and many more articles and boot camps teaching people how to code. Writing about it feels like pouring a cup of water into an ocean.
The same goes for many other topics I am interested in. I do not expect or crave a large following, but I do wish my contribution to be original and meaningful.
There are countless articles out there about finding your niche. The world is changing. There are always exciting new topics to explore. Personally, I have decided to write about personal development. I want to share the system I developed that helped me grow and overcome many obstacles.
Here are aspects to consider when evaluating if a topic is worth your time:
- Interest: the no-brainer most important reason. Surprisingly, people worry too much about readership and forget about what drives them in the first place.
- Uniqueness: do you have something original to contribute? In my case, I want to share methods that I developed and hope to inspire others.
- Potential: not necessarily the potential for the blog to succeed, but the potential for content within the topic. For me, I have countless ideas to write about. I will continue to perfect my system as I write, learn, and think.
These are the 4 reasons that inspired me to write. As I embark on this journey, I will receive more motivations to push me forward, and obstacles that deter me. I hope to carry on and share more insights in the future.