Erik Newhard

Why Am I Starting To Write Online?

Starting a blog is something I had considered for a while. I was interested in making money online, and when I googled how, blogging was always mentioned on the top lists. However, I didn’t want to put effort into a side-hustle that could take years to become profitable. So I never started. Until now.

This year I started taking a couple of online courses about personal knowledge management and writing that have shifted my mindset about content creation. I realized writing online has other amazing benefits besides bringing in cash:

  • Active Learning
  • Personal Growth
  • Human Connections

Active Learning

I am a lifelong learner. I love reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching videos on various self-improvement topics such as psychology, philosophy, and technology. I’ve consumed so much, but have trouble articulating these concepts when trying to explain them to other people. This is where writing comes in. Writing is thinking. True understanding comes from explaining concepts in my own words and making connections between different ideas.

I’m reminded of a poster that was in my high school math classroom, which showed different retention rates for what we read, hear, see, etc.

So one of my goals with this blog is to teach by sharing the things that I learn, and in the process, actively learn the content even better for myself.

Personal Growth

Learning in public also means that I can receive feedback. Since I don’t know everything about the topics that I’ll write about, I will make mistakes. So it’s important to have a space where I can be corrected. It’s not comfortable to be told when I’m wrong, but that’s required for growth.

“The longer we wait to share our work, the more disconnected we become from reality. We hide in our creative cave, sheltering our work from the very feedback it needs to improve.” —Salman

I also want to stop procrastination, and maintain consistency. Having an audience that is expecting me to produce on a schedule puts pressure on me to regularly put out content. I tend to give up on something when it doesn’t meet my perfectionist standards. But for writing, quality comes from quantity. I can’t expect to be good without practice. When someone starts developing a new skill, there is a learning curve. Every writer knows that writing is challenging, and there will always be room for improvement. Feedback accelerates this skill development.

Human Connections

Another big reason for writing online is to make friends. I recently moved from my hometown in Florida to Colorado, and don’t know anyone in the new location, besides family. It’s difficult to go out and meet people because of the pandemic. It’s becoming the norm to keep in contact with friends completely online. But what’s the best way to meet new people and make friends on the internet? By finding a group with similar interests. This could be through social media or online courses.

This year, I joined the Building A Second Brain and Write of Passage cohorts. I’ve met people from around the world who are interested in productivity, knowledge management, and information sharing. This is what prompted me to create this blog and start writing on Twitter. A personal website is like a business card and resume, where other people can come to learn what I do and how I think. Writing online will attract like-minded people who are also passionate about becoming a better person, and being less wrong in their thinking.

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So for me, writing online isn’t about the money. It’s a journey of self-discovery. As I learn in public, I will understand concepts better. I will grow as a person by getting out of my comfort zone, receive feedback, and develop self-discipline. In addition to that, I am bound to build serendipitous connections with other people. After I have an audience that I have built trust with, perhaps I can discover what their pain points are, and offer a product or service as a solution. But until then, I aim to add value to the world through words.