1. You owe it to yourself to live a life that is driven by self-exploration rather than self-doubt.
2. As Joan Didion once said, "Writing is the only way I can make sense of what I think." It's cathartic. It's healthy. It's fun.
3. When you were a kid, did you do your favorite hobbies for validation alone? I thought as much.
4. You'll regret it if you don't. Writing, in whatever form, is your own personal progress report. There's nothing I love more than curling up with tea and reading back over my past, error-riddled posts. It's an indescribable connection that you simply can't get from a photo or memory alone. Think of it as the only true insight your future self has into you, as you are today. Blog for yourself and the rest will follow.
5. We've all heard that voice. You know the one, right? "Nobody cares. Give. It. Up." Remember that everyone feels self-doubt. A friend of mine is a full-time blogger with a large following and opportunities to boot. But she too has days when she feels like quitting it all and becoming another anonymous 9-5er. It takes courage to put yourself out there. Thrive on that, don't run from it.
6. If I hadn't exited my comfort zone and written, albeit pretty badly, when I was younger, there is no way in hell I'd be where I am today career-wise. And FYI, my posts never went viral, nor did I have thousands of followers.
7. During the interview process for my current job (managing TripAdvisor's team of copywriters), I showed my future boss pieces I'd written both in and outside of work. It's important to have things to talk about beyond your CV. And it's something I'll be looking for when I bring any new copywriters into my team. The extra mile work. The 'I did it because I wanted to, not because I had to' kind of hustle. That's the stuff that makes you stand out and, ultimately, get hired.
8. Seriously though. If you want to progress in any creative-related industry, you best believe your name will be Googled before your interview. Make it worth their while.
9. You know you're good. I know you're good. Please stop hiding.
10. The only way to get better -- whether it's for fun or your career -- is practice. Whether 10 or 1,000 people are listening is irrelevant. Writing is an investment in your future and your potential.
11. On that note, if we wish to grow as well-rounded, interesting people, we need fulfillment, personal projects and non-profit pursuits away from the office.
12. Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the concept of "creative entitlement" in her brilliant book, Big Magic. In short, your own reasons to create are reason enough. Do whatever brings you to life. Follow your own fascinations. Create whatever causes you to feel alive. The rest will take care of itself.
13. If you're serious about living a more creative life, you should never stop writing -- no matter what the outcome and no matter how deep your anxieties and insecurities may be.
14. The moment you stop worrying over stats is the moment your work will start improving.
15. Retweets, favorites and shares are arbitrary and the wrong reasons to create. This is your work, not an overly-filtered selfie. You should be doing it because you love it. When you look back on your writing in 5, 10, 15 years' time, you won't be obsessing over page views, you'll just be glad you did it. Trust me.
There's never been a better time to contribute to the conversation. I'm excited to hear your voice in the mix.
This post was originally featured on my blog.