Having a personal blog — to write your own thoughts and show it to others — is frightening.
Especially when you have a relatively introverted personality. The image of strangers reading the peculiar perspectives that you have, or how profoundly you care about things that others find laughably unimportant, may at times make you feel naked and exposed.
But with the encouragement from family and closest friends, I eventually gathered enough courage to start. The courage springs from these personal realisations:
Writing is a brilliant laboratory for self-education
Most often, ideas visit us in vague fragments. Writing allows us to capture those fragments, and then assemble them into a structure that is coherent (at least to ourself).
Through writing, strands of thoughts are created, destroyed and reforged by reason and imagination. It benefits us in two ways:
- It deepens our understanding of the topic. It also triggers related ideas that wouldn’t have occurred to us otherwise. So, if you are a student, when you’re not sure whether you understand something, instead of re-reading it, try writing everything down.
- It sharpens our critical and creative faculties. You’d be surprised at how many ideas that seem so right in our head turn out to be the opposite once we write them down. Writing also encourages us to look things up, either to verify what we wrote or to examine opposing views. And of course, there are those delightful moments when we creatively discover connections between ideas that we had never noticed before.
Writing transforms our random thoughts into something useful and — if we’re lucky — beautiful.
Writing can impact someone’s life without you knowing it
There are points in life when we feel like we’ve fallen into a dark hole.
I had one of those years ago. I felt that I wasn’t smart enough to do a PhD, my family was in deep financial trouble, and my personal relationship imploded from within. I disappointed and hurt kind people, and felt like a complete failure at so many levels.
Fortunately, my coping mechanism was reading. During that period, I read far more than I normally did. I neglected my study. I didn’t eat properly. I just lied on my bed, reading, mostly to fight off dangerous thoughts that I was having.
(Important: In retrospect, keeping it from others was dangerous. If you notice signs of depression in yourself, please reach out for support. Sincerely seeking help is not a weakness.)
Over time, I crawled out of that dark hole.
Here’s the important point: it wasn’t one book by one legendary author that saved me. I was helped collectively by professionally-written books and online articles, but also by amateur blog posts and thoughtful anonymous comments.
I was helped by those who decided to write down what they’ve learned about life.
True, I may not be very good at writing. But I hope, by keep doing it, something I write will one day help someone, somewhere, even if I don’t know about it.
I believe, to write something that matters, it doesn’t begin with being a great writer, it begins with a sincere desire to impact others.