There are very few things I can recommend that you do with absolute and complete certainty that I am right.
I recommend that you make a budget for your wedding.
I recommend that you moisturize your skin even if you feel like you already have oily skin.
I recommend that you do not get into 5K worth of credit card debt your first year out of college.
And I recommend that you start a blog and keep that blog for ten years of your life.
Was it worth it?
That’s a question that comes up with surprising frequency as I’ve shared with people that I’m closing shop on 20-Nothings…in its current form. (I reserve the right to decide I can’t handle stopping and become the LCD Soundsystem of bloggers).
The answer is yes. It was worth it. It was so worth it that I think it is among the very few things that all people should try to do, aspiring career writers or not. Here – in 10 reasons for the 10 years of your life you’ll spend writing your blog – is why.
10. There will come a point in your mid-30s when details from your early 20s, late 20s, and early 30s will become fuzzy. You’ll think to yourself, what was the last name of the hot actor that I cast in my very first one-act play for the sole purpose of trying to make out with him at the cast party AND THEN DID JUST THAT? Or, Jesus Christ how did I ever leave my entire life behind and move to Los Angeles and what the fuck was I feeling on the day that I moved? If you keep a written record, you don’t have to remember. You can reserve all that space in your mind for learning how to use the robots that will shortly take over our lives.
9. There is no better training for writers than writing. I don’t care what The Columbia School of Journalism says in their high gloss info brochure. Writers get better by writing, a lot. Malcolm Gladwell claims you need 10,000 hours to become a real expert. So if you take your 10 years of blog writing and divide it out that’s 1,000 hours per year or 2.7 hours per day (tad more in the one leap year you’ll hit). I never blogged for 2.7 hours per day. On average I logged more like 6 hours per week BUT because of my blog I became a full-time writer, which takes up way more than 2.7 hours of my day. Therefore it is because of this blog that I became an official expert in writing, according to Malcolm Gladwell. I am an expert in one other thing and that is how many accessories you should add to any given outfit, so this writing expertise is a real win.
8. When you reveal yourself to people through your writing they respond. Sometimes those responses are challenging, and that’s good. Sometimes those responses are loving, and that’s good. Sometimes those responses are shocking, and that’s the best. But writing with vulnerability leads to more personal connection. Yes, it starts with you behind the safety of a URL, but it never stops there. You will grow closer to people in your life because of your blog. That is a fact, and a great one.
7. When you commit to keeping up a blog for 1 then 2 then 5 then 7 then 10 years of your life there will be times when it is very, very hard. You’ll feel blocked. You’ll feel dumb. You’ll feel insignificant. You’ll feel like you’re screaming into the void. You’ll piss people off. You’ll want to quit. You’ll plan to quit. And then, you’ll find a way to keep going. And that discovery of what it takes for you to find that way to keep going is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
6. Sometimes you get free shit from companies and that is very exciting, especially when that free shit is travel. Thank you, again, Turkish Airlines!
5. It is not out of the realm of possibility that you will end up meeting your husband as a direct result of your blogging. I did.
4. I – and many other writers – find that it’s very hard to lie to yourself on the page. You can lie to yourself in your head and often out loud but when you go to type that lie out it’s harder. I don’t know why. Probably science? Because of this probably scientific fact, writing helps you better understand yourself. You sit down. You think. You translate those thoughts into writing. And if there’s anything you’re not quite sure of – or more likely something you’ve been telling yourself you were sure of but now realize you’re not – it will feel weird/wrong to write it down and send it out into the world. And so you’ll have to figure out how to make it right. And by right I mean truthful.
3. I think it’s really important to be a little bit proud of yourself as often as possible. That can come in many forms, but I’d like to recommend the form of completing a writing goal X days per week. Like exercising or meditating or learning to cook, it has myriad additional benefits (see items 10 through this one). Unlike literally all of those other things, you can prove it. You can tell people that you exercised or meditated or are learning to cook. There could be some evidence of all those facts. But that evidence can’t top a website filled with every single blog post you’ve ever written. If you’re going to keep a blog for 10 years the least you should be able to do is brag about it.
2. There is a chance that all this experience you’ve gained from all these years of blogging will lead you to an opportunity to teach. Writing Pad gave me that opportunity, and it has been an incredibly gratifying experiences.
1. I don’t know, and neither do you. I don’t know what’s going to happen for you if you start a blog and keep it for ten years. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I always dreamed of becoming a full-time writer, but when I started this blog I didn’t know that would take the form of television and film writing and require a move to LA. I discovered that I loved writing dialogue through the writing of this blog. And then things fell into place from there and beyond through a series of events that all stemmed from this blog. And all of that could have gone in a completely different direction if not for so many details that are part of this specific journey.
So do it for the opportunity to look back and say look at what this did.
Do it for all the quiet mornings or nights or snuck-in hours at the office where you got to turn off the world and spend time with yourself.
Do it for the writer out there wondering if they can do it, too.
Or do it for me.
I’ve received a lot of gifts as a result of keeping this blog for ten years. But I would love one (or one hundred) more in the form of you getting your own version of this pretty magical journey.
Good luck. And keep me (blog) posted.