The Unexpected Benefits of Writing

Some surprising things I’ve discovered during my first three months of writing.

When I first started writing on Medium back at the end of August, I thought it was just going to be a casual hobby. People have always told me that I have a way with words. I thought, what better way to express myself than by using a platform where anyone is allowed to publish anything? I had no clue that it was merely the beginning of a journey I sorely needed to undertake.

As I write this, I have just completed my third full month of writing. I initially expected to write a handful of articles about things I enjoy or have firsthand experience with and move on with my life. Maybe earn a little pocket change while I was at it. When I undertake new hobbies, I usually get bored pretty quickly, after all. I was not prepared for the unexpected discoveries I would gain along the way.

But as I sit here, reflecting on my writing journey, I realize that I have obtained so much more than just a place to voice my thoughts.

This is what writing on Medium has given me so far:

Rekindled Passion

It has been a long time since I felt truly passionate about something. I used to have many different loves (singing, playing guitar, books, and yes, even writing), but my passion for all of them has dwindled somewhere along the way.

When I chose to give this whole Medium thing a shot, something unexpected happened. I fell in love again. Suddenly, I had all of these ideas flowing through my mind. I had a zillion topics I wanted to write about — to the point that I didn’t even know where to begin.

The urge to write was suddenly all-consuming. I would come home from work each day, bursting with excitement to sit down and put my creative brain into action. I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to have that kind of passion for something. It was like a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Usually, when I begin a new hobby, I’ll be super into it for a few weeks, and then my excitement fizzles out, and I end up quitting. So far, that has not happened with writing. I still feel inspired continuously. I’m consistently coming up with new ideas for articles. I have a lot to say, and I don’t anticipate that changing any time soon.

I couldn’t be happier that I’ve found something to ignite that spark within me.

A New Perspective

One of the most incredible things I have gained from writing these last few months is the ability to shift my perspective. I’ve always been decent at keeping an open mind and trying to see things through other people’s eyes — except when it comes to myself.

I’ve struggled with low self-esteem and self-confidence for years. I always considered myself a rather average human being. The thought of anyone being interested in any aspect of my life was downright laughable to me. However, when I pause to consider the articles I’ve written about my life experiences, as well as possible future pieces, I realize that perhaps my perception of myself has been distorted all along.

I think everyone underestimates the impact of self-reflection. Writing has enabled me to open that Pandora’s Box that I never wanted to deal with before. It has allowed me to see myself from an outsider’s perspective, and it made me realize that I do have a lot of fascinating information to share with people.

A lot of my experiences aren’t all that common. Perhaps I can provide a unique perspective on specific issues, and maybe it will even aid someone else who is struggling with the same problems.

Every once in a while, take the time to look at yourself from a new angle. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Self-Confidence

When I first started writing on Medium, I’ll admit that I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew that I had numerous thoughts I wanted to share with the world. I began by self-publishing everything and hoping people would give my work a chance.

To my surprise, my articles started getting people’s attention. A couple of publications reached out to me, asking if I would consider becoming a writer and posting my stories with them.

I started thinking, “maybe I’m not half bad at this whole writing thing.” After those first few successes, I decided to try branching out from self-publishing. I sought publications that focused on distributing articles related to the topics I wanted to write about, and that might be the right fit for me. I inquired about becoming a writer with several of them. Each time a pub accepted one of my articles, it gave me a little shot of confidence.

My most significant self-confidence boost came about a week ago. I finally wrote an article to submit to The Ascent — and it got accepted! I was shocked by this turn of events. I was fully expecting them to reject me on my first try. It feels fantastic to know that one of the bigger pubs believes my writing is decent enough to publish and share with their followers.

I think maybe I’m starting to believe that I can do this. That is a massive step for me.

Improved Writing Skills

Over the last three months, I have learned a lot about writing in general, and I feel like my writing skills have improved as a result. Practice makes perfect, as they say. The more I write, the more I learn. It’s a never-ending cycle.

That’s not to say that it has been easy. Writing is challenging — at least if you want to write high-quality pieces. I’m slowly learning my style and tweaking things as I discover more about my ultimate writing goals.

I hope to hone my craft even further in the future. It can only get better from here, right?

A New Mantra

Along with improving my writing skills, I’ve also been modifying my editing process. It took me a bit, but I’ve finally settled on a new mantra for myself — “Write now. Edit later.” It’s that simple.

The first draft will likely always be crap, but that’s okay. Just get it out. Let all the thoughts flow and get it down on paper. Then, I can take the time afterward to edit and re-edit to my heart’s content.

At this point, I feel like I probably spend more time editing a single piece than I ever do writing one. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I’m not sure I’ll ever finish editing an article and say there’s no more room for improvement. But there’s nothing wrong with that. In my opinion, too many people believe in quantity over quality when it comes to writing articles. You’d be amazed how much you can improve a piece just by spending a little extra time tweaking it during the editing process.

Having said that, I’m going to repeat myself here: WRITE NOW. EDIT LATER! You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

A Therapeutic Outlet

One of the most important things I’ve gained on this writing journey is a safe place to voice my thoughts. Especially this year, with the pandemic taking over so much of our lives, I needed an outlet to save my sanity. Writing allows me to work through the dark and twisty thoughts that sometimes overwhelm my brain. It lets me have a voice when I can’t bring myself to say certain things out loud.

Simply put, writing is very cathartic.

Sharing my work also helps with mental turmoil because it sparks conversations. So many times, I’ve had people read one of my articles and offer such positive feedback. I’ve even had people express that my writing has helped them deal with something in their own lives. I can’t think of a higher compliment for a writer.

Writing can be therapeutic for both the author and the reading audience. I’m so glad I decided to venture down this road.

Final Thoughts

When I first decided to try my hand at writing again, I was expecting to share my thoughts, improve my writing skills along the way, and hopefully earn some pocket change. I did not anticipate discovering any added benefits from this process. I certainly wasn’t expecting it to have any effect on my actual life outside of writing.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that my self-confidence is improving, and I’ve gained a new perspective on my life in general. I’m so grateful that I found Medium. It has provided me the opportunity to learn and grow, both as a writer and as a human being.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading, sharing, and commenting on my work. It helps more than you probably realize. I look forward to continuing my writing journey for many months and years to come, and I hope you’ll continue to join me on this adventure.

Written by

I am a 38 year old dreamer who is living with Scoliosis. I’m an avid reader and a total nerd at heart. I like to share my thoughts on things.

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