6 Ways Writing Changed My Life (and Why I Would Be a Lesser Man Without It)

persuasion

When I write a book I write a book for myself; the reaction is up to the reader. It’s not my business whether people like or dislike it.
- Paulo Coelho

If you ask masters how they first started their craft, they will all point to love. They loved what they were doing. Or they did what they did for those they loved. As for me, I fall in the latter group.

I began writing for a girl. She like what I wrote, so I kept on writing to make her happy. But over time, our love (more like lust) grew cold and we drifted apart. Since my reason for writing is no longer there, I wrote less and less. Eventually, we went our separate ways. She pursued international modeling. I pursued a career in business.

Even though I lost my muse, little did I know at the time, the act of writing ignited a spark in my soul. There were nights when I just had to write; I could not sleep if I did not commit my words onto digital paper.

It took six years from the time we parted ways for me to write consistently. I found my muse again — one which will never leave: myself. I don’t write for anyone else, but myself.

I am fortunate to have stumbled across such a worthwhile habit. Writing regularly benefits me greatly. “How?” you ask. Well, here 6 ways writing has made me into a better man, and how it may help you too …

1. Writing Sharpens Your Mind

When you write, you commit your words to public scrutiny. If you don’t wanna look stupid, you better make sure you know what you’re talking about. You better make sure you got your facts straight. You better structure your thoughts in a way that makes sense to others. In the process of doing these, you will sharpen your mind.

To write well, it is better to know more than less. And the more you know, the better you are able to respond to any given scenario.

If you follow my works, you know that I love to vilify the big business of higher education. So let’s take student loans and turn that negative situation into something positive.

You just graduated from colleges and are drowning in federally-provided school debt. After 6 months of bumming around at home, unable to find a job, you realized you’ve been hoodwinked. But now it is too late. You’re stuck with a mortgage-sized debt without any way of repaying it.

In your desperation, you began writing about your plight. You read the experiences of others who are going through the same thing as you. You stumble across Alex Ding, and he advises you to always be in control.

What’s the worst that can happen if you try to seize your destiny? You have always wanted to do your own thing and didn’t have the guts to do it until your back was against the wall. You’re willing do whatever people needed done. So you decide to take matters into your own hand and start an odd-jobs business.

Business is small at first. On average, you make $10 a day (which beats your previous record of $0 a day), but you see potential for growth. After a month, you find out that you’re good at odd-jobs and your reputation spreads around the neighborhood — you’re the go-to guy to get things done.

A few months into your new venture, you get a phone call from a company you interviewed with. You applied for a financial analyst job right out of college. You’re not too fond of the work, but you only applied because all your classmates did. The big guys from the company wanna hire you. They’ll give you a respectable starting salary of $50,000 a year. But they will expect you to work hard for it — 60 to 80 hours a week.

You don’t have enough time for both your business and the job. You gotta choose: your small, but growing business or a “safe” job. Which will you choose?

Most people would take the job. They think it is what successful people do. That is what their parents and teachers would have done. Plus, they don’t wanna default on the loan.

However, you choose not to take the student loan into account when making your decision.

As you wrote more and more about your loan, your inability to pay it, and your business venture, you stumble across information about loan repayment programs: Income Based Repayment and Pay As You Earn. Your repayment amount is based upon your income. Since you didn’t not make too much (yet), you were able to pay nothing towards the loan and still stay out of default.

If you pursue your business and if it fails, you continue to pay nothing without repercussions.

But if you take the job solely for the money, you are reduced to indentured servanthood, because 55% – 80% of the money goes to someone else:

  • 40% to the government

  • 10% – 15% to the banks (to pay back school loans)

  • 5% – 25% to transportation & room for the job (expenses you would not have if it wasn’t for the job)

So instead of seeing the situation as a risky venture versus a safe job, you see the situation as growing your own business (and your own reputation) versus spending 60 – 80 hours a week, doing something you couldn’t care less about, for a net pay of $10,000 – $20,000+ a year (after taxes, loan repayments, and work expenses).

Personally, I would choose my own business.

Before writing regularly, I saw what other people saw. But now, I see what other people can’t. If you can base your decisions on reality, rather than what “higher ups” want you to see (i.e. smokes and mirrors), you can take advantage of the situation, instead of being taken advantage of.

2. Writing Helps You Communicate Better

Is it a surprise that as you write more and more, you get better and better at writing? I don’t mean to brag, but I am a better writer than 99% of the world. That is because I write more than 99% of the world. In my years of writing, I have learned how to write headlines that demand attention. I have learned how to make boring topics interesting. I have learned how to create stories that will absolutely shock you.

(In the future, I will delve writing techniques, especially copywriting and storytelling, and teach you how to write well. But techniques can only bring you so far. The basis of good writing is the underlying idea, fueled by your creativity and knowledge.)

Writing does not just hone my writing skills. It also hones my speaking skills. Basically, it makes me better with words and turned me into word smith. A master sword smith.

If you can communicate well, whether through written or spoken words, you will get more of what you want. Martin Luther King, Jr. became who he is not just because of his convictions, but also because of his mastery with words.

3. Writing Grows Your Soul

Originally, I wanted the subheader to say, “Writing Instills Honesty and Bravery.” But honesty and bravery only applies to those who write honestly and bravely.

Writing is a reflection of your soul. If you are timid and insecure, your words will reflect that. If you are honest and brave, your words will reflect that too.

It is easy to be bland, politically-correct, and safe. If you take the safe and easy route, don’t expect to be braver than most people. Most people are safe and easy. But if you take the hard route and write down truth, even when doing so makes you bleed, you’ll grow in boldness.

When you bare your soul to the world …

When you reveal who you truly are (instead of revealing a politically-correct, clean-cut image of what others think you should be) …

Expect critics. Expect spectators. Expect naysayers.

When they arrive, keep on pushing through and your convictions will grow stronger. Fight for your writings, and you will grow your soul. And that is precisely how writing will promote truth and courage.

Don’t expect the same if you give up your writing at the slightest hint of criticism.

4. Writing Turns You into a Renaissance Man

When you first begin writing, you will realize how little you know. If you are serious about developing your craft and if you wanna create something worth reading, you have to seek out knowledge. I don’t know of a good writer who did not read voraciously. All good writers read a whole lot.

Because I write about many different things, from medicine to business to technology to politics, I read about many different fields. As I know more and more, I realize how everything is interconnected. As in The Renaissance (an era of immense creativities and innovations) when you have an intersection of knowledge and culture, you’ll have an explosion of art — something unique and original — created by mashing old concepts in novel ways.

You too can create art. And above all, as you know more and more and become a Renaissance Man, you can see what most people can’t — truth.

5. Writing Makes You Money

Yes, it is true. Writing can make you rich. It brings external rewards — money, fame, and power (to change people’s minds). But let’s focus on money, because everyone wants it and because it is measurable.

Stephen King is worth $400 million. Oliver Stone, the creator of Scarface, is worth $50 million. Dan Kennedy makes over $1 million a year. Jon Morrow made $500,000 in 2012.

I chose these examples because they highlight the different ways you can make big bucks from writing.

King as a fiction writer. Stone as a screenwriter. Kennedy as a marketer / copywriter. And Morrow as the creator / owner of a popular site.

(I want you to pay special attention to Jon Morrow. Here’s a guy with spinal muscular atrophy (type I). He couldn’t move from his neck down. He’s not supposed to live past 10 years. And yet, he’s done more and made more money in his 30 years than most able-bodied men in their lifetimes — all through his command of the word.)

The bottom line is that if you can educate, entertain, and inspire through your words, you can make good money.

Just so you don’t think that making money from writing is reserved for those on top of the pyramid, I personally make money from selling my books. I started a bit more than 1 year ago and have made money ever since the very first day. To this day, sales are still going strong.

But more than making money, I am learning so much about business. This will help me down the road when I start my medical practice. (Again, do you see how everything is interconnected?)

I just started. Imagine what will happen 5 years, 10 years, 20 years down the road. I can only imagine, but it will be spectacular.

6. Writing Makes You Immortal

One of my favorite books is The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli — written 500 years ago. It is safe to say that Machiavelli is long dead. But even from his grave, he continues to teach me … and many others. He has shaped people in history. He shapes people presently. And he will shape people in the future.

Look at the major religions. All of them are rooted in some kind of holy book. Why? Because great works endure forever.

If you produce great works, if you do great things, you will be remembered forever. This is especially true for great writing. Immortality is within your grasp … one word at a time.

As Benjamin Franklin said …

If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.

But I ask, “Why not do both?”

Comments

  1. POWERFUL WORDS ALEX!
    I love this post! Writing is a lost art these days as less and less people actually would pick up a pen and paper and write anything. There are so many people who cannot do that and those that do write tend to be a different lot.

    For me writing started when i was a wee lad in school! I remember how excited i would get when the teacher would ask us to write a composition about whatever and remembered how the students would suck their teeth at it. I would just smile as it was very easy for me to put word to paper.

    Once i would start writing my mind would drift off and close myself from the world and the only allowed in my brain were my thoughts on the matter. First page, second page, third page so on and so on i wrote. Usually by the end of the class i would have written 10 or more pages front to back while everyone only wrote a paragraph or two.

    Looking back i wished i could have stayed into writing by this time i could have probably be a lot more of a writer than i’am now.

    Alex! Keep doing what you are doing and you will go far!

    Oh, You said you wrote some books interested in knowing what they are!

    Peace

    • J, your post brings me back to my younger days! We would have creative writing sessions first thing in the morning and I enjoyed that more than anything in class. My teacher noticed that and had always encouraged me to write, maybe she saw my hidden potential at the time.

      Anyways, now let us write! And let us write well!

    • Alex Ding says:

      Thanks a lot, hermano!

      I remember when the teachers asked us to write essay, I would actually groan in agony. Haha … It’s funny how much things changed since.

      I did write some books, but they are geared for future doctors. I plan on writing a book for this site. It will be awesome. I think I’ll be done with the book by the beginning of summer. Now I just gotta get started with writing the darn thing.

  2. A brother, its stuff like this that keeps me coming back. I too was like you. I wrote out of infatuation and novelty for female fans. Trivial they were, but now my writing has taken a new turn and Now, I write for our fellow men. Btw, link me up to your books; happy to do a review or see the glory of your words.

    Till next time, keep this up A.

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey, bro! I’m pleased that you keep on coming back to check my work.

      You keep up with your powerful writing.

      I did not write a book for powerful men yet. The books I wrote were for future doctors. But I plan on writing a book for this site pretty soon. It’ll be awesome. When I finish, I’ll let you know so you can check it out!

  3. An intercourse with great minds like you alex is always uplifting. I am a type that don’t fancy writing may be because of rules academics imposes on our writing style. You must flow a particular format for your work to be valid. Nevertheless, this post is a kick on the ass for me to dive in head first into writing now I have graduated from college. Thank you for igniting the spark in me through your words. By God’s grace and determination, I will continue to fan the flame until it becomes a burning (conflagirating) fire. Thanks a lot man.

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Justus,

      I’m not sure I would use the word “intercourse,” but I aim to expand the mind.

      You mentioned academic rules and whatnot. But lemme ask you something. When have you read an academic textbook or academic journal that just captures your interest through the way it speaks directly to you? Never. A lot of academic writing is based on archaic rules and archaic text.

      Throw down the rules and write directly to the heart of the person you want to reach.

      • Rules are just a form of control! Why do that? We already have so many rules to follow in the outside world no need to allow it in your writing Justus!

        From what i have read in your comment i think you have what it takes to put words on paper and making your ideas flow so that people like us can understand. Write from the heart and the rest will follow!

        Peace!

  4. The Prince is on my desk right now. A girl came over and I pointed out to her that it was over 500 years old.

    Quick question. How do you structure your thoughts when you write? Copious editing from free-flow, outline before then fill in the blanks, or something else?

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey Sean,

      My writing takes many steps.

      First, I am inspired by a great idea. I quickly jot down my thoughts on Notepad.

      Second, I make a quick outline of what I want to cover.

      Third, I flesh out the article. I may sidetrack a bit to do a bit more research, to make sure my facts are correct.

      Fourth, I copy and paste the whole thing onto Word. I correct whatever errors Word find.

      Fifth, I read the whole thing again and edit.

      Sixth, I copy and paste the article onto WordPress. Then I read through it and format it.

      A good article could take 4 hours for me, from start to finish. I’ll write about this in detail in the future.

  5. Yea this was pretty great man. I didn’t realize how much writing had an effect on society until you talked about it here.

  6. I’m glad that I love writing.

    When I was in college, I had a final exam. During the English writing test, I wrote passionately and when I was about to submit the paper, I felt as if I was losing a really important part of me.

    It’s interesting how writing which is just the act of putting words onto something can be more valuable than other things which we deem as ‘valuable’.

    Thanks for the reminders on the greatness of writing, Alex.

    • Alex Ding says:

      My pleasure, Wan.

      I really think there is something magical about taking a string of letters and words and combine it into something valuable. Keep up your writing!

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