A personal essay on writing
Write for the Sake of Writing
I feel like I’ve lost my voice and my original thoughts in trying to write for Medium. There was a reason I signed up to write for Medium. Actually, there were a few reasons.
Firstly, I love writing. I’ve always loved writing. In a previous life, I was a published writer. I wrote for magazines and newspapers. Writing is the only thing that ever gave me comfort. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that writing was a form of expression. I got so caught up in writing financial reports for work that I didn’t know how to write anything else. For the last year, I’ve been trying to bring back that expression. Medium seemed to be a good outlet for that.
Secondly, I had all these thoughts in my head that I felt would benefit people. I love thinking about problems and how to solve them. I’ve realized that I enjoy talking to people about issues they’re facing. Talking is a great way to sort out the crap in your head. Along the way, I realized I learned something too. I could use one person’s solution for another person’s problems. Giving advice seemed to become my thing. So why not write about it.
Finally, I felt like I could share some of my experiences and knowledge with the world. I love reading about people’s lives and what they’ve learned from it. I’ve spent over 15 years in the corporate world and that too in high finance. Maybe there was wisdom I could impart. It didn’t have to be topics that were brand new. It just had to be from my point of view.
Yet, as I started to write on Medium, I fell into a trap. A trap of trying to please. My Medium Homepage is constantly flooded with “how-to” articles, albeit helpful ones. I saw that this is what was popular. I saw that this is what was getting noticed. So, naturally I started to write articles mimicking those. I lost my perspective and I lost my voice.
I started to look for ideas that I thought would appeal to people instead of writing about what I knew. I became too invested but in the wrong things.
I just haven’t been happy at all about the direction my writing has taken. Sure, I want to be popular but not at the cost of losing myself. If I’m not happy about my writing, it will eventually sound forced. I can’t make up 300 listicles. I’m just not that person.
The best articles I ever wrote were the ones I wrote from my heart. Some of them got a bit of attention, some of them did not. But at least, I was satisfied with what I’d put out into the world.
The writers I admire most on Medium are the one who tell me their stories. They write about what they know. They write about their experiences and what they’ve learned. We’re all unique in our own way, and what better way to show than through our posts.
I want my writing to add some value to the world and I can’t do that if I don’t like what I’m writing. I feel absolutely no joy in trying to write articles on topics that don’t hit home with me.
The worst thing about this whole process is that I almost gave up on writing. It’s an obvious consequence. When you feel no passion for something anymore, you want to quit. The last few weeks I had a hundred good ideas. I trashed all of them because I didn’t think they were worthy. I’d made up some silly standard in my head of what may pass as marketable. I don’t know what I was thinking.
I never started my account on Medium to earn money. Money is a happy coincidence, if I can make some. I started my account to free my thoughts and that’s exactly what I want to do.
This is what happens when you lose sight of your goals. You don’t know where you’re going and you end up getting lost. You need to remind yourself of the “why”. It’s always important to take a step back and remember why you started something. We all get side-tracked. The only thing that can bring us back in line is reminding ourselves of the reasons we started doing something in the first place.
The bottom line is if you’re passionate about something, let that passion come through. Constantly remind yourself of why you started and what you want to achieve. You don’t need the world to always give you validation. Sometimes you need to write for yourself. You need to write because you want to. You need to write for the sake of writing.