Last Updated on March 31, 2021 by Rat Race Running
It’s been almost a year since the community quarantine began in the Philippines, and along with it was the 2020 Stock Market Crash.
During that time, it felt surreal how fast it happened and how my portfolio suffered almost 50% of “paper loss.”
Normally, I would do a long run to have time to think. However, that was not an option during that time.
With the lockdown also comes boredom, which gave way to the desire to do something, anything.
With not enough resources to spend my time, I decided to start writing again. At that point, it has been more than two years since I wrote anything on my blog. So it was a good thing that I still remembered the password.
A year later, I already published 54 posts and several articles on schedule.
It is still hard to believe that it’s already been that long, and I’ve become more consistent over time.
These are the 10 lessons I learned.
1. I love writing.
When I started writing in 2017, I never thought that I would grow to love it.
Initially, I did it because I was stressed and frustrated about so many things and just want an avenue to release them.
Writing became a way for me to express myself and share my ideas with others.
I may have lost more than 2 years of writing experience since my hiatus. Still, after coming back, I don’t see myself ever stop writing again.
2. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand.
Reading and writing are like breathing. You inhale by reading, and you exhale through writing.
The knowledge, insights, and wisdom that we gain from reading are processed and released in the form of written or spoken words, which I think is beautiful.
Though a novel is still out of sight, I hope that one day, I can write stories that will inspire others, just like how other writers inspired me.
3. I have so many things on my mind.
I love to think, but I don’t overthink. I just love processing the information I observed around my surroundings.
Reading different books and articles and my personal takes on various matters also constitutes my day-to-day.
So far, I have 122 drafts (and counting), mostly comprised of ambiguous titles or one-sentence paragraphs about different things. Hopefully, I can find more time to write them all into full-length articles.
I know others have their own thoughts that they want to share. So, I hope they also try writing.
4. Writing is very therapeutic.
There is something called writing therapy, which I usually do whenever I feel down.
I have several journals filled with what’s currently going on in my head, which I think became very helpful in keeping my sanity during the most stressful season of my life.
I write to transfer my stress into paper, which is only one among the many writing benefits.
5. There are always people who can relate to what I wrote.
When I write, I write mainly for myself. Just like what is said on my About page:
“This blog is a journal and a reminder that there is more to life than work.”Rat Race Running
But I believe that many of us have similarities, which became a way to connect with others.
That’s why I find it amazing when someone comments or sends compliments to my posts and sharing their own thought about the subject.
It is also surprising when a foreigner appreciates my posts since most of what I write were initially intended for the Filipino audience.
6. You are not always on your best self.
When I am writing, there were times when I am in the “state of flow,” and ideas just keep on coming. When that happens, I can finish an article within only one sitting.
My personal favorites were mostly written in a single sitting, like A Life-Changing Journey Through Quarterlife Crisis, Running the Rat Race, and Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years.
However, there are more times when I experience “writer’s block” and can’t even finish one good sentence.
When this happens, I just push through and complete the 100-word quota that I set for myself. Hoping that tomorrow will be better and ideas will flow smoother.
7. Always find ways to improve.
When I just started writing, I was very insecure. I don’t know many words and don’t even know how to make the subject and verb agree.
That insecurity was the reason why I never shared my posts on Facebook when I was just starting.
Before I can publish a post, I made sure that my sister (AKA my first editor) would read it first and make sure that I don’t sound too stupid.
She would always comment on how the article’s flow is not very smooth, or I am using too many passive voices, or it has too many run-on sentences.
Then I started reading a more comprehensive array of books. Aside from the Bible, which is the most essential book on my shelf, I also started reading grammar books, biographies, personal developments, children’s novels, legal thrillers, and so much more.
Grammarly also became my best friend when writing. Aside from checking for grammatical errors, it has also shown how to write clearly.
After using it for almost a year, I think I became more capable in writing.
As I was gaining more knowledge and experience, I also gained confidence.
Today, I no longer require my sister to check my grammar (because Grammarly does that for me). However, I still make sure that she is the first to read my articles and offer an outsider’s view of what I wrote.
8. Find your voice.
When I started writing, I was experimenting with how I would construct my sentences. I wanted to have my “own” voice.
From a writing seminar, I learned that it is important to understand the rules of writing and then break them.
As time goes by, I realized that I already found mine. I write as if I am just talking. This way, writing became more comfortable and less technical.
I also want to write in the language of the people and keep things simple, clear, and concise.
9. Write consistently and with no excuses.
I have one rule when it comes to blogging, I need to publish at least one article per week, and so far, I’ve been consistent.
I always have scheduled posts 4 – 5 weeks in advance, and I can always find a draft that sparks my current interest.
I have a 100-word per day goal, which is so small and very attainable.
These 100 words usually act as a starter because I can’t stop once I enter the state of flow.
10. Write for 1 hour, edit for 2 hours.
Writing is a systematic task that needs a step-by-step process.
When I write, my goal is not to write a great post during the first draft. Instead, my goal is to write as many words as possible and finish a “dirty” first draft. That process would typically take at least an hour.
However, editing is another story. I need to read, edit, re-read, and edit it again. I had also had to check my facts and consistency.
Depending on what particular topic I am writing, I would have to look at references that I can point to.
My rule of thumb is for every 1 hour of writing, I have to edit it for 2 hours.
When I read my older posts, I can see how much I improved. I can now use more words, write clearer, and connect with others better.
Though it has only been a year since I took writing seriously, I think writing is now more than just a hobby.
Writing became a part of my identity. Hopefully, this blog will be an agent of change for a better tomorrow.