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Why Just Write Is The Best Advice You Don’t Listen To

The act of writing is a powerful tool for self-improvement.

By Michael NaylorPublished 19 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - May 2024
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Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Before the last 6 months, I hadn’t written anything that wasn’t for my job or university for a number of years.

I wanted to write more, I used to write all the time just for fun. I used to write poems and short stories that were just for me. I used to show them to certain members of my family but it was the process of writing them that I really enjoyed.

I loved to create a world and then discover it through the eyes of a character. This is probably why I like big open-world RPGs because I can explore these strange new worlds and interact with them through someone else's eyes.

As I read, watched, and played though so many different worlds I stopped writing my own. Nothing I could write was as good as what these professional writers could come up with. So I would wait until I had the perfect idea and then I would start.

Ideas would come to me still as they always had but I no longer wrote them down or experimented with them. So the ideas went as quickly as they had come with no trace of them ever having been thought.

At the start of this year, I was quite ill for some time. This led to me spending a lot of time basically housebound and on my own most of the time in the day. I have written a few articles on how journalling has helped me and this period is what helped me get into the habit of doing it every day.

I had expected journalling to help a little with mental health and clarity of thought. I had read enough about it so I knew what the research said. What I didn’t expect was for it to reawaken my desire to write fiction again.

Now that I was writing whatever came to mind. Those ideas that had been forgotten previously were now being preserved in ink on paper. And over a few weeks, I realized I had a story I wanted to write. The story might be awful (I think it's quite good so far though) but I am enjoying the journey of writing it just as I always did as a child.

I write my story on Saturdays. I dedicate at least a few hours every weekend just to writing it. As I get ideas through the week however I note them down. And if inspiration does strike I may expand them into a few paragraphs to explore the idea a little more.

In April I decided to start writing online. After some research, I chose to write on Medium. I haven't picked a niche yet, I know the advice from many is to do so, but honestly, I might not. I want to write something every day for the purpose of just getting better.

I have a good job, I enjoy my job (usually) so I do not see myself ever giving it up completely to write. Even if my wildest writing dreams came true I don't think I would fully walk away from teaching in some form. So niching down to create a business is not my goal.

That being said currently I am experimenting a lot with ways to be more productive. I am very much in the middle of a several-year-long quest for self-improvement. And this is an area I will be writing about a lot because it’s on my mind.

I am no longer waiting for the perfect story or the perfect article. I just write. I am still trying to improve and get better as I go of course but the main goal right now is to get words onto the page.

I saw a quote the other day

Perfectionism is procrastination hidden behind a mask

This perfectly summed up my experience. When I look back at all the excuses I have had not to write they all come back to the root causes of procrastination. Fear of failure or fear people will make fun of what I create.

If it is perfect I have nothing to fear but nothing is ever perfect. So if you are procrastinating, if you are scared of failing please just write. Even if for now it is just for yourself write something. Take that step, and don’t worry about how many people are reading it, or how much money you are making the journey is the goal.

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About the Creator

Michael Naylor

I am a Computer Science teacher in the UK with a variety of interests from education, making learning more accessible and self improvement to tech, gaming, and programming.

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Comments (10)

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  • Carol Townend3 days ago

    Hi. I am a writer who has been writing for years, and I never stick with one Niche. I was just like you when I took my writing into the public world, and then I learned trying to be perfect never pays. I just write now, whether its a fiction or a remembered experience. Some times, the thoughts in your head are the best things to write. I write better from the top of my head, and good luck!

  • Congrats on your top story.

  • Anna 7 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story! :)

  • Ariel Joseph14 days ago

    Wow, I really appreciate that quote, I'm about to throw that somewhere where I have to see it everyday.

  • Belle15 days ago

    I love this! I realized a bit ago that I used to write a LOT more as a teenager and even pre-teen, and although that was quite a long time ago and my brain was not nearly as developed (or even properly toned for creative writing), I had a lot less worries about the outcome of the work, and was eager to get started. I read a lot more too, which meant I had more inspiration. I think as I got older and I started developing heavier anxieties, I've put a lot of emphasis on planning rather than just doing, and honestly, even though planning can definitely pay off, I think it can be really discouraging. A piece of advice I got from a professor earlier this year was not to just write the essay. Mind vomit on your page and then go back and revise. It doesn't need to be perfect the first time. Citations? Don't worry about them. Insert them after. It doesn't have to be all one go. And I think that whole discussion applies to really any kind of creation we make. Prioritize doing, rather than overthinking to the point of not doing at all. <3 Great work, Michael. Thank you for your insights! And congratulations on top story!

  • L.C. Schäfer16 days ago

    You're telling me! Daily practise has helped me hugely.

  • Christy Munson16 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story! 🥳 I agree. Write, write, write. The writer's brain is a muscle and although it is acceptable to write from muscle memory when you must, it sure seems to me, if you love writing, stretch that muscle like you'd train a top athlete. Not to win prizes or recognition, but to do what you love. We're talking about two verbs - love, write. Action statements. Write to love. Love to write. The rest takes care of itself.

  • angela hepworth16 days ago

    This spoke to me so much, I couldn’t agree more! Congrats on TS!

  • Kay Husnick16 days ago

    Congrats on your Top Story! If you slip back into that procrastination, trying to free write and joining writing workshops might be helpful too. Even remote writing workshops have been so helpful for me.

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