I remember hearing Seth Godin say on a podcast that he thinks everyone should start a blog and write on it every day. In 2017 he wrote his 7,000th post, which he said added up to 37 full-length books. When asked for advice on becoming a better designer, he said to write every day.
Last year I got on a kick of reading Annie Dillard. I enjoyed her style. She would take her observations and weave them in throughout her essays. This is a section I grabbed Total Eclipse that shows her using a tiny detail of her day to make a deeper point.
I lay in bed and looked at the painting on the hotel room wall. It was a print of a detailed and lifelike painting of a smiling clown’s head, made out of vegetables. It was a painting of the sort which you do not intend to look at, and which, alas, you never forget. Some tasteless fate presses it upon you; it becomes part of the complex interior junk you carry with you wherever you go.
A couple of years ago I picked up a habit called the Morning Pages. The goal of the practice is to write three pages of an uninterrupted stream of consciousness as a way to help cultivate creativity. The ideas is that we can use it to silence the inner critic and give space to ourselves to deal with life.
This practice has helped me become an observer to my own life when I’ve been dealing depression. Rather than identifying with the experience, I became someone taking note of what was happening and making time to process it. The more I did this, the more I was able to better handle my struggles.
Writing every every day changes your perspective. It makes you into an observer of the details of life and a commentator on what you see and experience. I think this is why Godin says writing makes you a better a designer. I think it’s why Dillard could paint pictures with her essays. And I think it’s why it can help deal with the challenges of life even it’s something private you never share.