So you want to make a name for yourself—how do you do it?
If you want to make a name for yourself, write daily.
— Sean McCabe (@seanwes) May 25, 2014
The benefits of writing are tremendous:
- Writing helps you remember.
- Writing clears your mind.
- Writing influences your speaking and the way you talk.
- Writing solidifies your own ideas in your head.
- Writing helps you be more articulate.
- Writing is how you find your voice.
- Writing teaches yourself while it teaches others.
Writing is where everything starts. Don’t like to write? It doesn’t matter. Even the great writers don’t always enjoy writing. Don’t have anything to say? It also doesn’t matter:
You don’t write because you have something to say. You write to find out what you have to say.
You’re not always going to know what you have to say until you start writing. How do you start writing? Start writing about literally anything. You can even start writing a story about how you’re having trouble thinking of what to say, or talking about the distractions that are tempting you to stop writing.
Use writing for:
- Sharing your process
- Teaching a skill
- Curating resources
- Telling a story
- Chronicling growth
- Sharing an experience
- Covering news
- Reviewing products or services
- Interviewing peers or industry leaders
If you’re having trouble thinking of the right way to write something, write it the wrong way. Purposefully write something the way it should not be to get it out of your head. It will often lead you to discovering the right way to say it.
Early Wake, Daily Write
This begs the question, “If it all starts with writing, why not structure our day around this model?” In other words, why not also start our day with writing as the very first thing we do?
Your mind is doing a lot of work for you while you’re sleeping. It’s processing things for you. Yes, you’ll be groggy for the first 15 minutes after you wake up, that’s normal. But right when you wake up is the best time to do the most important work of your day. This is where you can take the fullest advantage of the work your mind has done for you while you slept.
The best time to do the most important work of your day is right when you wake up.
Mental clarity comes from the charge of sleep. This clarity is something that must be preserved and protected with utmost care. This charge must be used on the most important thing right when you wake up. Produce, don’t consume. When you spend your first moments consuming by either checking email or notifications, you squander that precious charge of sleep. You waste the work your brain did for you during your sleep.
Sure, there are plenty of books, articles, and studies on the vast number of successful people who wake up early, but let’s set social proof aside for a moment. If you believe that you are more productive at night, then prove it to yourself. If you are disciplined enough to regularly set aside time late at night to write, log your output. Keep track daily of how many words you write.
Then commit to Early Wake, Daily Write, and similarly log your output. Note the time you woke, the number of words you wrote, and the topic you wrote on, and compare the results with your night owl output.
You’ll likely be surprised by the results.
You may never like waking up early. But it’s not about enjoyment. No one ever likes leaving a place of warmth and sleep. It’s not about enjoying waking up early: You do it because you like who you are when you do.