Whether or not you have a goal of writing books or starting a blog, there are several reasons why anyone can benefit from a daily writing habit.
Writing forces you to reflect, observe, and think more critically. It gives you access to your thoughts and in turn the ability to become the author of your own story. It provides you with traits and skills that have a positive impact on every other area of your life.
Whether you want to lose weight, learn an instrument, or become a master of your craft, discipline is non-negotiable. Writing every day forces you to develop discipline. It teaches how to show up and work on something that doesn't have an immediate payoff.
- If you want to build a company, you learn to put forth effort without an immediate payoff.
- If you want to make a living as an artist or build a career in the arts, you have to put in A LOT of effort without an immediate payoff.
The ability to work on something every single day without an immediate payoff is something that you can apply to multiple areas of your life.
Habits are the compound interest of self improvement. One positive habit leads to another, and another until you become the next best version of yourself.
The beauty of a daily writing habit is that it doesn't require a lot of money or resources. All you need is pen and paper or a laptop. It can serve as the foundation for a lifelong creative practice.
My daily writing habit led to a ripple effect of reading 100 books a year, a meditation practice, and an 8-step system that helped me to write 100's of articles and 2 books.
By learning to change your habits, you can become the architect of your destiny.
When you take consistent actions, you build momentum. When you build momentum, you go from being an object in motion to an unstoppable force.
If you make a consistent daily effort on something, progress is inevitable. When you make visible progress, your motivation skyrockets. You enter a virtuous cycle of consistent actions, visible progress, and momentum.
4. Insights and Breakthroughs
Nothing in my life has led to so many insights, breakthroughs, and “aha” moments as a daily writing habit. It's led to creative projects, content for keynotes, books, and product ideas.
Nobody has a shortage of ideas. We lack the discipline to capture them. And unless you capture your ideas, you'll never capitalize on them. Writing every day is a simple way to capture them.
5. Healing from Trauma
We create the narrative of our lives through the stories we create about our experiences. We're the only species with the capacity to pause between stimulus and response. And we can make a deliberate decision about how we interpret an experience.
Left to its own devices, the mind will make up bullshit stories that damage our self worth and decrease our confidence. We can mitigate this by getting thoughts out of our head and onto a blank page.
James Pennebaker conducted an experiment with two groups of people who had undergone traumatic experiences. The group that wrote about their experience found meaning in their trauma and healed faster.
Whether someone has broken your heart, you've lost your job, or you've lost someone you love, writing can be a pathway to healing. As I jokingly say, Chicago has a multi-decade recording career fueled by nothing but heartbreak.
People believe that Okinawans are the oldest living people in the world because they have what the Japanese call “Ikigai”, which means “a reason to get up in the morning”.
When I was in my 20's, I used to dread Sundays. I was usually hungover, and dreading my commute to Santa Clara at a job I hated. But a daily writing habit changed that. There's not one day of the week when I don't look forward to the next morning. I now have Ikigai. My first 3 hours of the day are one of my favorite parts of it.
7. A Growth Mindset
When you write every day, it's inevitable that you will get better at it. You start to see that your current skill level isn't fixed. And a growth mindset is critical to becoming successful in every area of your life.
If you've ever experienced the joy of being so immersed in something that you lose track of time and the world around you fades, you know how good it feels to be in flow. It's why authors write more books, entrepreneurs start more companies, and artists make more art.
In flow, the activity becomes its own reward. A daily writing habit is one of the fastest pathways to leading what Steven Kotler calls “an extremely high flow life”.
I don't know how it will all turn out, but I know this for sure. Flow matters to me.
9. Deep Work
Cal Newport defines deep work as the ability to focus on a cognitively demanding task for an extended period of time. He also cites it as an essential skill for performing at an elite level.
A daily writing habit is deep work. Attention is the currency of achievement. If you can increase your attention span and develop the skill of doing deep work you can become a peak performer in every other area of your life.
10. Keystones and Ripples
In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg observed a pattern amongst people who developed a new positive habit. It changed their behavior in other areas of their life.
For example, let's say you start going to the gym. You like how you look and feel. So you start eating healthy. Then your self image changes and you become more confident.
A daily writing habit works the same way. You have no idea what it will lead to, but I can't think that anything but good things will come from it.
12. Accomplishments and Rewards
The ROI on my writing habit outside of my book deal has been tens of thousands of dollars. Writing 1,000 words a day changed my life so much that I decided to start writing 2,000 words a day to see where it might lead.
13. A Body of Work
A body of work is more valuable than a resume because it's transferrable and it’s yours. Even if you get laid off or fired from your job, you can take it with you. It's an opportunity to demonstrate tangible evidence of what you say you know how to do. Writing daily is one of the easiest ways to start building your body of work.
Writing every day has been the gift that keeps on giving. It's done so much for my life that I think anybody, regardless of their goals in life, can benefit from it. A day spent writing is time well spent. A life spent writing, is a life well lived.