50 Personal Observations From 1 Year Of Writing
It’s insane how much can happen in one year.
*Looks at Pandemic and Biden election*
For many people, this year has been one of the most life-changing moments of our human lives. Perhaps, life-defining for some. It’s a year that has forced us all to live differently.
It’s also the first year that I took my online writing seriously and became committed to this internet journey.
Contrary to the advice of many popular writers, I didn’t write every single day. However, I found great success and happiness in sharing my love for wordplay with the wider world.
Without a doubt, it’s been an incredible experience. As well as being a digital writer, I also experiment with video editing and graphic design while working a day job as an active duty US military member.
Now with that out of the way…
Here are my personal observations, reflections, and lessons learned from not writing during this time period of my life:
- Cohabitating with your girlfriend is a huge adjustment and should not be taken lightly. To be perfectly honest, I took it lightly…and well it required some self-exploration and mistake fixing.
- Taking a break from writing feels really nice. There is this sweet release from the expectation to constantly create more content. Sometimes, it just feels nice to switch off and just enjoy life.
- On that note, expectations really are the enemy of everything. The constant expectation, from myself, that I should be writing something…ANYTHING, is as harmful as not writing anything at all. Both of these thought patterns contribute to becoming your own worst enemy.
- No…seriously. Make time for your girlfriend or girlfriend will give you evil eyes.
- As a results-oriented person, not creating or striving for something more is a real killer to the mood. Learning to reconcile that with my relationship is my latest challenge.
- Yes, taking a break from writing doesn’t make you a bad writer. We all get burned out from time to time. Just search the numerous “take a break from pandemic” articles that are currently flooding the internet.
- On the flip side, you can’t call yourself a good writer if you don’t actually write anything. By definition, a writer…well, writes. If you’re not writing anything, are you really a writer? (A wise question that I may not be qualified to answer). People constantly ask for the secret formula that will lead them to become the next great writer. However, there is no secret crabby patty formula. Just write!
- I watched Tiger King during this time. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!
- There is no shame in taking a break. Yes, it may slow you down from becoming the next top writer but honestly, it can wait. The truth is you’re no good to anyone if you’re mentally broken. Creativity can wait. Recharge those batteries, find new inspiration, then return to battle.
- “The best way to measure your passion is simply asking would you do it for free? If money is your motivation, then it’s not really your passion.” — Radio personality, Lenard Larry McKelvey “Charlamagne Tha God”
- I have an insanely strong disdain for listicles. Personally, it’s the “easy mode” of the writer’s world. Why come up with a creative title with a fleshed-out, detailed piece when I can tell you 5 steps to do something you have already been told how to do by 10 other people?
- On that note, I do accept that there is a time and place for a listicle. If I created this article with a well-thought-out story, this might as well become the basis for my own book. Listicles are very effective in getting to the point and setting the reader’s expectations. Admittedly, it’s much faster to create a listicle than a detailed piece that requires real mental thought.
- Actually, writing my own book would be an exceptional challenge that I would love to focus on. *writes down on To-Do list*
- There are so many popular writers that write about how much money they make on here. I admit it — your humble-bragging is low-key (or maybe high-key) boring.
- Is it more important to write for money or maintain the artistic quality of your writing? This is a question that writers much greater than myself have pondered endlessly. Personally, I’m a believer in “what you put into this world is what you get back”. If you create good quality content, I’m positive the right opportunities will come.
- Money is the root of all evil — but it sure is nice to have a lot of it.
- Love is a drug, and once you’re hooked, it’s easy to forget about your favorite habits. For example, staying true to my goal of a consistent, goal-oriented lifestyle.
- Having a healthy relationship is nice. Not perfect, but incredibly nice. That is all.
- Living in a pandemic world is weird. A simple grocery run is feeling more like an episode of The Walking Dead. It’s weird.
- “Allow the fire inside you to burn brighter than the fire around you.” I found that quote from a video game and it’s still more inspirational than most of today’s celebrities.
- Being a writer with an emphasis on being vulnerable is surprisingly hard. On one hand, I want to be open with everyone…
- …on the other hand, I wonder where the fine limit with being too vulnerable is. How much do you share before you overshare? Is oversharing a weakness or a strength? Many great writers seem to write effortlessly about their personal lives with extremely admirable courage and their following seems very receptive to this approach. So, I’ll say the latter.
- During this time, I decided to re-read many of my older articles. As a 27-year-old maturing in an increasingly complex world, it’s nice to witness my own personal growth through my words. An underrated benefit of the writer’s lifestyle.
- Writing every day is hard. It’s supremely hard. Not because you lack drive or skill, but simply maintaining that personal spark to keep going, even when you don’t feel like it. No matter how much you want to do something, the mind has limits. Your mental state can become just as exhausted as your physical body if you allow it.
- I love work. The simple gratification of meaningful work combined with periodic progress is a high that cannot be matched. I often find this high through many avenues and writing is one of them. Taking a break when you crave that high is debilitating. It’s hard to just enjoy the day when you’re mind is racing with new thoughts and creativity.
- Learn to find new inspiration. When you’re constantly writing every day, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to water down your content and take the path of least resistance. I admit it — I’m guilty of it as well. Taking a step back and finding new ideas is invigorating for both your writing and your self-care.
- I don’t have a large following or make craploads of money from my writing. However, I enjoy my own words. My love affair with writing is sparked by my joy of reading, not the chase for greater glory.
- I talk way too much. It’s a blessing and a curse. It also leads me to write about many things that aren’t under a specific niche. Niche writing is quite effective in audience building, but the creative limits it creates are a hazard.
- You’re more than a writer — you’re also a marketer, producer, and PR guy. It doesn’t matter how good your writing is if no one can find it. I just realized that during this break. I probably shot my writing goals in the foot due to a lack of self-promotion during my time as a writer. Live and learn.
- “You can become your best ally…or your worst enemy. It’s all up to you.” A good friend of mine told me this upon reading my work.
- As someone with night owl tendencies, I do my best writing at night. It’s during that time my brain truly activates and the magic happens. It can also lead to numerous grammar mistakes and incomplete ideas due to sleep exhaustion. Long story short: get rest. Sleep is important.
- Night-Owl tendencies are also counterproductive when your girlfriend is trying to sleep and resist the urge to, understandably, strangle me to sleep.
- I’m as sarcastic as I am serious. Whether or not I do a good job displaying that within my wordplay, I have no idea. However, adding humor when possible goes a long way to connecting with your readers and showing some level of authenticity.
- Being a smartass can lead to high-quality storytelling and charming your audience with fun wordsmithing.
- It can also lead to a pissed off girlfriend.
- Journaling is one of the most enriching aspects of my life and forgetting to do so in the past 3 weeks, it has given me a new appreciation for the art of cataloging my thoughts. There is extreme value in the documentation and have the ability to conduct a personal self-audit of my own psychology. Journaling can become a great tool for finding new content and improving mental health.
- Sometimes you don’t create your audience — your audience creates you. Your words and the people that support you are tied to each other more than you realize.
- Staying at home is shockingly healthy and I really appreciate this quarantine time. Being forced to sit with my problems and reflect upon myself is precious time that I will miss when all of this is over.
- Editors are the MVPs for many writers. They don’t always get praise, but their watchful eye and experience are highly underrated. If you can afford to do so, hire an editor. I re-read my old articles and let’s just say, having a second pair of eyes is advantageous, to say the least. I’m thankful for editors like Zuva or Joe Duncan that are there to improve my writing habits.
- “All of humanity’s problems stem from the inability to sit quietly in a room alone” Blaise Pascal, perhaps the most appropriate quote for this period of our lives.
- A recurring theme throughout much of my writing is anxiety and how it has affected me. At some point, I realized I’m way more confident than I have given myself credit for, and probably, longer than I knew.
- Your words have power. Whether they are written or spoken, somebody somewhere is listening.
- Many writers have a voice in their head that persistently reminds them that they're not good enough— better known as “Imposter Syndrome”. It will say that you’re wasting my time as a writer because you’re not making a crapload of money or amassed a huge following.
- You should also have another, more powerful voice, that will tell the previous voice to shut the hell up and keep chasing your goals.
- I’m currently writing this at 2 am. Either I have the hustle and drive of a winner or I’m simply an insomniac that needs to sleep. Not sure yet.
- I wonder how many people will actually read any of this.
- Actually, it doesn’t matter because this was personally insightful and I had a blast while I was writing this. The first priority is to write for yourself. You have to love your writing before anyone else does.
- You may never be a successful writer. You may never have the “side hustle that allowed me to quit my job” success story that thousands, or even, millions of writers chase after with ambition and dollar signs in their eyes. Most likely, you will probably be another regular person living a regular life like many regular humans. Honestly, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to be the next Ayodeji Awosika, Tim Denning, Zulie Rane, Shannon Ashley, Tom Kuegler, Genius Turner, or any other mind-boggling writing success story. If you obtain that level of success, then fantastic! Hats off to ya and pat yourself on the back. You earned it! However, the chance of that success is starkly low.
- On the positive side, you’re doing something most of the world population does not do — live a passionate life. You chose to do the work and create art out of nothing. You’re using your words to inspire someone, somewhere. Even if you’re broke, lacking a viral success, and life is terrible, your words live on to inspire someone else. Most of all, if you keep fighting and persevere, your day will come. Success isn’t objective, but subjective. What makes one person happy will vary from another person. Find your definition of happiness and stop worrying so much about superficial numbers. They found their happiness — go find your own path.
50. “No matter where life takes me next, you’ll find me with a smile.”
— Singer, Songwriter Mac Miller
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Dayon Cotton is Active Duty US Navy and Freelance Writer. I write dope articles about social issues, life lessons, and advice on how to live a better life.