How The Words We Write For Ourselves Can Change Us

Aaron Burden
Aaron Burden

“There’s this other side you get to and you don’t get there very often. Where while you’re writing, you speak so much of your truth, you’re even learning from it.” – John Mayer

Writing and learning are inseparably linked. They go hand-in-hand in the process of discovering your writing voice and your identity. As someone who puts forth a positive, encouraging message, the self-improvement style I write to lends to a personal desire to learn.

Writers will often tell you how writing for them is therapeutic. Writing is their proverbial moment of zen. The time spent staring at an electronic screen or alone, with their notebook and pen, is where they get in the zone. Writing is where they can be themselves and let their true colors shine.

I experience those feelings, too. But what I crave the most are the opportunities to learn and discover more about myself, as I write.

I write about self-improvement for a reason. Mostly, because I view myself as a work-in-progress, even while maintaining the confidence that I’m a man of accomplishment. I want to live each day with a self-improving mindset, conscious of my personal development, character and impact on others. I endeavor to live my life mindful of my thoughts and the consequences of my actions. Big-picture, I have a very strategic approach to my writing and the impact I want to leave on this world. Yet, I’m a total wonk when it comes to studying the tactical side of living a virtuous life.

Great Writing Should Stimulate Thought

I love the process of writing a post. I love everything from the original idea, to the ideas gathered along the way, to dropping in the right adjectives that pack a punch. I relish putting together the structure and prose for my upcoming book. I even enjoy following through with editing’ my writing, stepping away after a period of time to clear my mind, so I can focus on sentence structure and syntax.

The aggregate of our thoughts and ideas that our brains process and convert into output through speech and writing, represent the distillation of our very unique, personal experience. Each one of us has a brain that interprets, synthesizes and spits out information that we can choose to share- or not- with those around us.

The greatest writers are the ones who force us to think, who stimulate our emotions, edifying us and leading us to greater plains of thought. Great writing gives me the chills. It evokes imagery of places we’ve been or ones yet seen. Inspiration, imagination, dynamic creativity — that is what great writing will do for your mind.

Ideas for great writing — genius writing, I dare say — come through the ether and seem to magically appear in our minds. Some ideas are divinely inspired. Some are from the accumulation of experiences of the day or week. Others, from years ago. Thoughts, words, sights, smells and sounds leave impressions on our subconscious mind and in our memories, begging to be revealed for a time yet known.

Learning From The Words We Write

I believe great writing is also self-edifying, if you will, because it teaches us more about ourselves, no matter the genre. The self-improving writer — one who writes Sci-Fi or comic books — is one who is always looking to refine her craft. The writing itself can take the writer to new heights of creative writing. There, she will earnestly work to improve vocabulary, verb-tense and to wordsmith like Mark Twain. She will research a character, setting or plot theme and learn an abundance of history, personality traits or geography.

Moments of genius, while rare, can manifest through our thoughts, who we surround ourselves with and the immersion of our minds into our passions; the discovery of our life’s pursuits. Love plays a big part in this. Love, for a significant other, is often the primary object of many writers’ works. But love can come in many forms. Love manifests itself through passion for a particular cause and for achievement on a meaningful, personal level.

Love can come through the desire to change our lot in life to better the lives of our family and loves ones. Our immersion into our passions brings forth our purpose in life, a destiny that God has inextricably linked to our calling. Here, we will grow in greater love for Him and one another. That is the genius that begins with just a thought.

The emotion of love brings out, and develops, the artistic and the aesthetic nature of man. It leaves its impress upon one’s very soul.” Napoleon Hill

When we think of writing for ourselves, we demystify the writing process, because we alleviate any pressure of writing for others. Each post that I write is intended for an audience, yet I editorially approve in my mind- and in proofreading- what I’d want to read only for myself. I read and re-read my posts before and after I publish. I can assure you, at this stage and probably forever, I am my own toughest critic, because while I write for you, the reader, in many respects, my writing is also for the liberation of my soul- who I really am.

I make an effort through contemplation and action to get to the core of who I really am. I explore what I want and hope to learn, what I desire to reveal and share with myself- and you. I hope my message touches you and, that you find pieces of me in your own life. The end goal is a product that I endlessly hope is edifying, satisfying and entertaining for you. So, while my writing is to help others, it’s also to help myself.

Write From The Heart

There’s a reason I, along with many others, choose to write for public consumption. We want others to see our words. Plain and simple. Otherwise, we’d only write words for ourselves. Some people write for attention, others to share a message, others to make money. Hopefully, as you write, no matter what stage you’re at in your career- or what your objective is- you’re doing so intentionally, with passion and purpose.

For those of us who venture to turn blogging into a career through book writing, essay writing for major publications or articles in industry or academia, I encourage you to always write from the heart. Do so without concern for approval. While the public will ultimately consume your work, and hopefully en masse, you’ll be much happier with your finished product in so many ways. Writing for yourself in many ways is more genuine- more real. There’s no veneer because you’re not trying to prove anything to anyone other than the most important person- yourself. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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