Ray Bradbury once said that “you must stay drunk on writing so that reality cannot destroy you.”
Some of you may have perked up at the idea that a famous writer has endorsed writing blog posts while smashed on gin and tonics.
What this really reveals is something important about how useful writing is in our lives.
It is not just for those who do it professionally and it’s not only for those who want to write books.
Writing has the power for us all to regain a hint of control amidst the chaos of reality.
For more than ten years, I’ve called myself an illustrator. But secretly, I‘ve been a writer all along.
It has helped me in many ways, and it can help you too.
1. You Will Figure Out Your Voice
Writing and sharing it publicly has allowed me to develop a voice while avoiding the need to comb my hair for YouTube videos.
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
– William Faulkner
Writing allows you to become better at formulating ideas over time, and to communicate with more prowess.
Most importantly, it will help you work out what reverberates with you and others, which you can speak about more confidently anywhere.
I’ve found personally that I love writing about making an impact with our creative skills. Some people, I’ve found, even enjoy reading it! But my voice and my passion on this has grown through writing lots, based on personal experience.
The cool thing is you can read over what you write and order your words so that people think you’re really clever.
I’m pretty sucky at speaking my words. I’m much better at sharing ideas through written words.
Many shy artists are daunted by the idea of appearing in front of a camera. People rave about the importance of producing videos and podcasting for marketing. They are effective, but writing has its place, and it can lead to video and audio if you choose to go there.
The written word, in my view, will continue to be the most enduring form of media many decades into the future, leaving a legacy for those that contribute words that aren’t only about what they had for brunch.
Video ages like cheese; writing like a fine chardonnay.
2. You Will Attract People
There is no shortage of talented people producing incredible things.
To be noticed in the clamouring rush of production, you need an advantage that goes further than sharing the art itself.
“Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.”
– Anne McCaffrey
Writing about your art, the process, your experiences, how others benefitted from it and even teaching others your own skills, creates context.
People need to see that you are not only a creative but also a leader, in your own unique way. You are someone who thinks about where your work fits into the world and is willing to tell people about it.
Creating work for clients and buyers is no longer just about the finished product.
It is a process of understanding what they need, helping them get what they want, and showing them that you are a real life thinking human.
Writing shows them that you understand this.
Telling stories, and building context around your work will get into people’s heads and attract them to you. This will encourage people to follow you and want to work with you.
What you write outside of your creative work can also be directed to courses, books and teaching, that can possibly make you rich, but will strengthen your image as a leader.
3. You Will Feel Better
Whether you share your words in public or you keep them bound in a leather book with a heart-shaped key hole, writing is one of the best sources of self-therapy I’ve come across.
“Writing is its own reward.”
– Henry Miller
When I put my thoughts to paper, I can feel the discharge of the energy that clings to them.
Writing takes you out of your head, into the physical world and helps you think more rationally about things like how much you want to throttle that troll on a Facebook comment.
If I get frustrated about anything, I will dump them (the words, not the troll) onto paper, write out the solutions, and I always feel better.
I use personal and work-related qualms as sources for new blog posts that I can share, helping others in the process — also therapeutic.
4. You Will Be More Creative
My decision to write every day has been my single most potent source of ongoing creativity. It has seeped into all other areas of my life.
“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.”
– Terry Pratchett
Optimal creativity needs clarity and motivation.
Writing gives you both because it is a process of laying down and ordering your ideas, which is stimulating.
If you paint pictures, for example, I challenge you to begin writing out thoughts about your art, even if it is a jumbled, unedited mess.
This will help you think and gives you energy that can be transferred to painting.
Writing regularly about your experiences and what is charging you emotionally, builds a personal manual you can refer to over time to help track your growth and spur new creative projects, including written pieces.
“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
– Robert Benchley
You might be worried that your writing will be ignored and your time wasted.
It can take time and piles of tumbleweed before more than two people read each of your articles. But it will come if you keep doing it.
Writing about your own frustrations in a way that is helpful to you and others is the best starting point.
Use what I call the ‘no-traction’ phase to write for yourself and practice in the dark if few are reading it.
Use it to smooth out your ideas, release pent up emotion, and more than anything…
ENJOY doing it.