An article by Jason S. Sullivan, 01/01/19 (updated 05/30/19).
This article first appeared on LinkedIn.
My first article
Here it is. You’re reading the first article written by Jason S. Sullivan. I have dreamt about doing this for years. No joke – years! I’ve always wanted to do this. I never had to guts to do it. Until now.
Let me stop for a second and tell you something about me. I like writing. More than that, I want to be a professional writer. It took 35 years, but I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up.
Why did I decide to write my first article? Why, after all these years, did I do this? Because I wanted to share my story with you. I wanted to inspire you to do the same. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. And, above all, I wanted to take a step out of my comfort zone and a step closer to my dreams.
Writing is a way to express yourself
Writing, at any level, in any form, can be a great way to express yourself. It can also help you work through a variety of things – Ideas. Problems. Solutions. Feelings. Decisions. Strategies.
Unsure what to do or the next step to take? Write it down. Get it out of your mind. It’s easier to think through something when your mind is clear. Writing helps clear your mind. It’s a tangible way to see your thoughts. See your thoughts – think about that for a second.
Any type of writing can be helpful. Journaling. Blogging. Process mapping. Creative writing. Essays. Articles. Find something that works for you. Hell, create a new genre for yourself!
Start writing…one word at a time
So, what is my biggest writing tip? Are you ready? Get ready now. Here it is. “Start writing.” That’s it. Anticlimactic, I know. But, that’s the secret. It is that simple. And yes, it’s easier said than done. Believe me.
Look. All writers have one thing in common – they write one word at a time. Whether you’re a first-timer or a professional – it’s one word at a time. That’s it. That’s how the story goes, amigos.
I get it. The blank page is intimidating. For me, it’s the desire to be perfect. And, the expectation that you have to create something from nothing. And, the pressure around grammar, spelling, and “those other things.” It doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t overthink it. Have some fun with it! To paraphrase that cheesy saying, “Dance like there’s nobody watching”…
“Write like there’s nobody reading.”
Well, there’s some truth to that. Cheesy or not.
Know your audience – even if it’s yourself
You want to know your audience. That’s Writing 101. But, if the audience is yourself – if you’re your own audience – write something that you would want to read. You know what you like better than anyone. Write an article or story that interests you. Or excites you. Or inspires you. There’s a good chance that others can connect with it and would want to read it.
Write like there is no one reading
Here’s my example of “write like there’s no one reading.” It’s Halloween 2018. I’m tinkering around with a short story. You know how Halloween is. It’s on the darker side of the holiday wheel. With ghosts and goblins flying around, my creative writing started to get a little dark. The story was a little spooky – nothing outrageous, I swear! – but this darker thought would be a perfect twist. It made the story better.
I stopped for a second, put down my pen, and thought, “Oh, I can’t write that. What if someone reads it? They’ll think I’m a weirdo.”
Something clicked inside me. I pushed on. I picked up my pen and wrote it down. And you know what? It felt great! Liberating! Therapeutic! Exciting! And, above all, fun as hell. I worried for no reason. The world didn’t end. In fact, my world improved. That Halloween short story wouldn’t be the same if I censored myself.
Since then, I try to let my writing flow. “Whatever the pen writes, it writes.” That was a big moment in my writing journey. It’s one that I’ll never forget.
I expect this to be my first article of many. Maybe this wasn’t a “traditional” article. Good. I’ll create a new kind of article that I want to read.
I wrote my first article for me.
Don’t be a “liker” – you know, people who “like” things and go about their day. Anyone can do that. I challenge you to take action. Post a comment. Share the article with a friend – or 10 friends! Spread the word. Start a conversation. Better yet – write YOUR first article. Give the world a page from YOUR story. I’d love to read it.
Anyone can do it
Writing on LinkedIn is easy. Anyone can write an article on LinkedIn. Anyone. I did it. I’d love to see you do it. Write something for yourself. Write like there’s no one reading – and then, have the courage to share it with others so they can read it! It’s an amazing feeling.
To Mr. Daniel Roth, Editor-in-Chief at LinkedIn, your LinkedIn Learning course inspired me to do this. I realize that you may never read this article, but cheers!
About the author – Jason S. Sullivan is an aspiring writer. Connect with Jason on LinkedIn!