In February, 2014 , a group of 200+ stuck and busy creators started a 30-day writing challenge, in which we wanted to see what would happen if we made of writing one of our top priorities every day, instead of just an option you leave for when everything quiets down and you have a minute. We wanted to test if honoring our passion and starting our day with the early use of our creative superpowers would affect the following:
– Our level of satisfaction with life (Does it make us come alive and feel more optimistic about our lives?)
– Our mood and disposition through the rest of the day (Does it improve our overall mood and help us handle the rest of our tasks with less complaints?)
– Our well-being, if it makes us feel better physically. (Do the mental and emotional benefits of honoring our passion also extend to the body?)
– Our productivity (Does it increase? Do we experience less distractions — less need for mind-less mental snacks — if we nourish our creativity first thing in the morning?)
– Our curiosity, perspective, imagination and critical thinking. (Does this practice open new doors in our mind? Does our mind expand in ways we couldn’t foresee or believe before?
Although some of these aspects are easier to notice than others, after 30 days of interaction, sharing, inspiration and working hard to fit this time into an already busy schedule, most of us can confirm that putting our passion first is one of the most healing and empowering favors we’ve done to ourselves. And one we’d like to keep extending beyond these 30 days.
It has been confirmed by countless studies — but even more so, by our own hearts — that one of the chief causes of dissatisfaction with life is a sense of powerlessness and misalignment with your purpose, of being scripted out of your own life-movie, of feeling like you are a secondary character in someone else’s book, rather than the brilliant author of your destiny.
But what if you had the key to your own prison cell? And what if all you really needed to break yourself free is to understand that only you have the power to do so? To me, there is no greater wonder than the fact that all you need to (re)create your life is already inside you and that the more you discover and explore yourself, the more your world and field of action expand.
The most proactive truth about life is not that “it goes on,” but that as it goes on, we can go up.
The fact that each one of us is a unique irreplaceable creature that has never happened before and will never happen again, and we each possess, in our blueprint the map and supernatural ability to figure ourselves out and make ourselves thrive is nothing short of astonishing. Greatest Wonder #2 would be that in doing that, we awaken others through the most potent and contagious virus ever discovered: Inspiration.
So here is how writing — one of the most powerful tools for creativity — can help you be the key and door to you, and WHY YOU SHOULD WRITE YOURSELF ALIVE EVERY DAMN DAY:
1. Self-Discovery. You are a multi-dimensional creature. Writing can provide a dimension you can’t experience through any other medium since it is the most perceivable, fast, clear and efficient way to switch from subject / the observer (I) to object / the observed (me), without interrupting the ongoing conversation with oneself. In writing and consequently reading yourself, you often discover aspects of your character, personality and even trauma or hidden memories you didn’t know you had.
2. Reflection. It serves as a mirror and a BS-proof shield. It points out your strengths and weaknesses and helps you become more aware of your incoherence and your brilliancy. It is not an exact mirror because there’s no such thing as exact when it comes to human nature and the issues of the heart. But it is pretty accurate in showing you both, your highs and lows, truths and lies. Transparency with self is a humbling and yet empowering experience.
3. Meditation. It helps you detox your mind and cleanse your spirit. It holds space so you can let go of what no longer works for you, release your demons, accumulated heartache, disappointments and loss. It helps you dig through all your chatter, so you can finally reach the truth that often hides at the bottom, in your rawest and most tender territory.
4. Imagination. It reactivates your empty or worn-out imagination and helps you create a new script for your story. There is a certain freedom you allow yourself on paper (or screen) that you can’t take in the “real” world. Mostly, the freedom of making mistakes. This freedom — characteristic of our childish soul — is taken away from us as we grow by Dream Thieves disguised as seriousness, but writing gives it back. It allows our imagination to be crazy enough to dream up a new reality and not afraid to mess it up because see, it’s “just writing…” Smart stardust mind.
5. Action. When you write, you do. You start giving body to your thoughts and imagination, even if this body begins with words. In writing about life, you start creating it. Writing will leave footsteps that your mind will later follow, leading to experiences, habits, lifestyles and finally, a lifetime.
Nothing is real to us unless we acknowledge it first. And since we, homo creative sapiens are also easily distracted by all the neon lights flashed in our face, writing keeps us focused and helps us turn our loose thoughts, ideas, dreams and plans into action — if only, by letting us take the first step — that of expressing them.
So the question is not why write, but how can you not write?
Although, aside from the life-savers writing can throw us and its proven benefits in our messy and beautiful human experience, the truth is, most of us who are in a complicated relationship with writing don’t do it for any of the above reasons. We certainly don’t stop to think and consider the why before “sitting down at a typewriter and bleeding.” We do it because writing won’t let us be unless we let it happen to us.
As Benjamin Disraeli put it, “Life is too short to be little.”
So why not let it grow a thousand times its regular size through your words, and why not write yourself alive, and if not every damn day, then when, and if not you, who?
Bonus – 10 essential BOOKS ABOUT WRITING that will help you master your craft.
*Note: Some of these titles are more specifically about Fiction or Poetry, but the knowledge, training and insight they contain applies to all genres. I wholeheartedly recommend that if you are serious about writing and you haven’t had any formal training, you devour and enjoy at least 3 titles on this list. You’ll thank me later.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: OUR NEXT FREE 30-DAY CHALLENGE IS HAPPENING ON AUGUST 1-30, 2014. GET YOUR FINGERS READY TO BLEED. SIGN UP HERE FOR NEWS & UPDATES AND JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP (IF YOU HAVEN’T).
LOOKING FORWARDING TO SHARING THESE MAGICAL 30 DAYS OF WRITING WITH YOU.
P.S. I’d love to know how writing saves YOUR life.
If you participated in our 30 Days of Writing or are currently doing or planning to do the challenge, please let me know in the comments how it has impacted you or what convinced you to do it.
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