Clarity of thought is a superpower.
We can’t isolate our thoughts as tangibly as our words, so I put them on paper in order to face them.
I write to understand myself and to help navigate a rapidly evolving world, watering roots that will help bear fruits tomorrow.
And I share these words online because it forces me to sit down and write.
A second pair of eyes to cover my blind spots. An accountability partner.
I archive my writings so I have a journal to look back on. A reservoir of extracted thoughts, one that cannot be replicated without a rich history of contribution.
A vehicle for growth, in serendipitous ways that only continue to surprise.
I’ve noticed an evolution in my style and function of writing over these 100 weeks.
At first, I simply wanted the words to make sense. To be legible. I read aloud until I felt an itch, an inclination that there was a better word or sentence to be chosen.
Then, I wanted my writing to be clear and precise. I cut words and sentences where necessary. Alone, they made sense now. But together, they didn’t belong. I was giving the reader motion sickness.
I couldn’t help but break up my paragraphs next, creating more surface area to slow the skimming reader. Short sentences beat long, unreadable ones. In the words of Verlyn Klinkenborg, “how long is a good idea?”
I began to trust my own thoughts. My originality. I even shared what I once thought would never leave me. I once wrote about blue Moroccan paint. Do you think any external gate-keeper would have signed that off?
I began to formulate sticky ideas and “quotables”, so that you may just remember them.
I worked on conversational flow, reminding myself that real patronisation is the unnecessary decoration of words. The reader is always smart, they don’t need to be made felt that way.
I split myself into the writer and the reader. They’d wrestle on the page. Brittle sentences would collapse, forcing the writer to rebuild until new ones would remain standing.
In my quest to learn powerful, emotive writing, all fingers pointed to the art of storytelling. An invisible thread that pulls the reader along, quietly orchestrating a crescendo of emotion.
The final stage appeared to utilise all the lessons I had learnt whilst simultaneously breaking them: Poetry. A dance with words to music created between the lines.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” — Pablo Picasso.
There is no greater skill learnt from writing than the art of noticing.
To notice what you are noticing and trust that it is noteworthy, because of the sole reason that you, for some meaning or another, noticed it.
What you notice is a reflection of how you understand the world to be, and what greater gift is there to be a part of someone’s world?
So share with us what you notice, but not before you learn to share it with yourself.
Writing is inherently more selfish than selfless. It benefits the writer far more than it does the reader.
Finding like-minded internet friends, monetising your work and creating opportunities is great. But that comes from sharing, not writing.
Writing is a gift for the writer, first and foremost.
Waiting for inspiration is not the way of a creative, it’s the way of the amateur.
To be professional is to sit down and do the work.
Creatives worship this idea of ‘flow’, as if it isn’t simply a period of intense, uninterrupted focus.
They see it as divine contribution to their work, and everything created during that time as that which ought to be protected. So we protect those works and leave them unchallenged.
I’ve had to learn to drop this belief. You won’t always have ‘flow’, sometimes you’ll have fog. Do the work anyway.
Sitting down and thinking is the hard part. No one can teach you how to do it. You’ll have to learn for yourself.
Make the difficult processes easy and attractive. Automate where possible. Learn to kill your darlings.
It’s difficult to fathom a hundred pieces of work.
I’ve written from several countries.
I’ve written from my phone.
I’ve written after 12-hour shifts at the hospital.
I’ve written when I didn’t feel like it and when I thought I had nothing new to say.
I’ve written more complex works too, if you consider my video projects.
At times, I’ve had a full inbox of replies.
Other times, silence.
But I never wrote for applause.
I’ll continue to write stories, present ideas and notice my world publicly.
God willing, I’ll write for the next 100 weeks.
And as always, it’ll be a pleasure to have you by my side.
Several short sentences about writing — Verlyn Klinkenborg. For liberating me from the restraints of untrue thinking. My favourite read of 2021.
The Practice — Seth Godin. On doing the work, like a professional.
Show Your Work — Austin Kleon. For making me hit publish for the first time.
The War of Art — Steven Pressfield. In the struggle of fighting ‘resistance’.