As on request from Brian :)
I've been writing for quite a long time now, I think 10+ years, but who's counting? I wrote for myself most years and I didn't have to care what I would write. I didn't have to care about anyone reading what I wrote. I would pen down my bothersome, negative thoughts. For example, how can I get girls to like me? Or what can I do if I feel offended? Or why can't I do X or Y. Many of these questions are posted on Reddit, which didn't exist back then (I feel so old now 😂).
Mind you, they weren't stories. They were investigations of my mind. This was huge! It helped me so much with my personal development. I tried to be as honest as possible. People lie to themselves all the time - (re)enforcing their reality. Unknowingly I wanted to unravel reality and expose myself, to myself.
In 2014 I started blogging when I started travelling in Asia. I had to overcome the fear of exposing my mind to others. And a promise to fulfil. The first post was hard, but it became easier the more I posted. In the beginning I would spend too much time making it all perfect. I advise to always read your own stories and perhaps read them again and maybe another time (3rd time right now). But avoid spending countless hours of oversaturated analysation driven by fear.
Slowly I overcame invisible boundaries. I stopped over-bearing, over-caring and just write, as honest as possible. Just like I did when I wrote to myself. Soon I heard that my readers loved it. I learned people love honesty.
I love writing about my adventures. I had a lot of adventures when traveling alone and I would write down all the details. I relived them myself. But often when I re-read it, I noticed it was such a drag. Some stories I removed over 50% of its content and the stories became more concise and powerful.
After my trip I wanted to continue writing. I would now publicly write about the issues in my mind. I also tried writing more creative, almost poetic pieces for the plain joy of it. It feels like writing a song I suppose.
That was a completely new challenge. The money was motivating for sure. But in truth, the personal challenge of it was most exhilarating. Can I really do this? It was like the first time I started writing in public: the same fears looped back into my life. And my mind never told me: You will lose a thousand dollars!
The first few drafts of my book are about anxiety. I was studying and mind-mapping and thinking of all these shortcuts writers use. Until I became relaxed and my instincts would just run with the story. So I'm still not sure if all this stuff helped. Maybe it did help me become more relaxed.
The biggest lesson was to just write. Trust my unconsciousness to come up with stuff. Now I understood why books can be so personal.
To sum up all experiences and learnings:
- I learned to analyse myself
- Go past my invisible boundaries
- People love honesty, especially honesty that not a lot of people dare saying
- Writing skills: conciseness, re-reading, using powerful / creative words
- Writing a book: commitment, overcoming fears and trusting your gut
All these things made me into a different and better person.
Now go and write!