Since I began blogging, I've received many kind comments. Fortunately, my audience is not yet large enough nor is my content rage-inducing enough to generate a flood of spiteful feedback. When I start getting that, then I'll know I've made it to the big time.
I recently wrote about The Evolution of Less, and shortly after received a notable comment from one of my readers. It was kind, with praise for my writing ability; but it also suggested that I consider re-framing some of what I write, adopting more of a reader perspective for an article or two, and expanding beyond the scope of my most common topics.
It’s true – my articles thus far have focused almost exclusively on intentional living and of course, minimalism.
The reader was suggesting that branching out and writing about other things would be helpful if my goal is to convince people to think differently and create meaningful engagement.
When I first started publishing I may have taken offence. However, this suggestion wasn’t wrong, entirely. Still, those comments had me suddenly contemplating if "engagement" was actually my goal at all. Clearly, my style so far has obviously created that impression.
Am I really hoping to change world views or am I actually just seeking validation of my own perspectives?
So I posed myself that million-dollar question: Why exactly DO I write?
Why do I invest time, effort and money in a blog site? Why do I agonize over a folder full of 200 blog-starters only to release those that reflect the very best of me?
What’s the whole point?
And so I self-reflected. After all, I know for certain that my blogs are ripe with opinions that reflect my thoughts, my feelings, and my advice for a life well-lived. So perhaps being tested to analyze my own motives is a reasonable ask.
I will spare you the details of the gruesome process and give you the straight goods, the four reasons why I write, and maybe everyone should, too.
Once upon a time, my ruminations began as voice recordings on the long daily commute to my former job; the “dream” job I left in pursuit of a better happier life. They were a means of verbalizing my thoughts so that I could play them back later. These recordings slowly turned into unpublished written recaps.
Even before I started kevingreenwood.ca and made my blogs public, these journals were most definitely my own personal therapy. My first published blog touched on this, suggesting that “Writing is a Mirror”; a kind of reflection of one’s soul.
Mark Manson also wrote a great article about “how to get better” with research on journaling and meditation and their relative effectiveness for self-improvement, compared to, say, actual professional therapy.
“The value of therapy isn’t the therapy… It’s the context. It’s the environment. Journaling… helps us convert what is usually the subject of our consciousness into the object of our consciousness…there is something mysteriously powerful about verbalizing your thoughts and feelings; it somehow causes them to lose their power over you.” – Mark Manson
I can’t begin to describe how calming and therapeutic the sheer act of writing is for me – even if some of my verbal rants never, ever see the light of day.
#2: Keeping it Real
Writing things down is one thing.
Publishing a blog kind of makes shit real.
Of course, I may not have a million readers or followers, or even a thousand; but what I can tell you is that my closest family and friends are among those most likely to read my posts. There’s no hiding from reality then. Once you let your thoughts out there, they’re real, and un-retractable. Relinquishing your inner-most contemplations can be loaded with both fear and freedom. I'm finding more of the latter with each and every release.
Nothing in my writing is a lie – it’s the god’s honest truth. If there’s ever a lie to be found, it’s only in that maybe I held back, that I didn’t bare absolutely everything.
The blog helps me keep it real – both to myself and to those around me.
#3: A Single Influence
All waves start with a ripple.
I have opinions. They’re mine, and I don’t want or need anyone else’s approval. But I do believe in the values behind them. So, if someone else re-examines their own values, after reading mine, well then perhaps that makes me feel good. Perhaps one tiny thing in just one person's life will improve.
Yes, I seek a minimalist life. This is why I write so much about it. No, I don’t need everyone to be a minimalist like me. But again, if a reader one day finds additional peace and contentment by pursuing one, some or all of the things I write about, that’s a bonus, and it’ll make me smile.
Like many of the changes we need to make in the world, we all need to start with ourselves; from within. And while that’s the primary goal of my journey, if I can even inspire one person, just one, to go through the same process of reflection, that’s an enormous win.
#4: The Personal Push
When I started this article, I already knew that the concept of therapy was my number one reason for writing. But this last pillar is something I unwrapped in the process of my introspection. I’m not sure that I ever really contemplated it before now.
Creating a life of minimalism and intentionality is, like many endeavours, filled with ebbs and flows, ups and downs, highs and lows. Like so many of life undertakings, we don’t easily leap from peak to peak, we predictably hit the valley floors along the way as well.
Writing keeps me on the path; it's my own personal push.
It keeps me moving forward whenever, and inevitably, my momentum slows. Writing keeps my most central thoughts at the forefront, and keeps me moving in the direction of my deepest values.
Writing keeps me focused on those things that can be easily forgotten when faced with the challenging and distracting realities of day-to-day life.
Still, Challenge Accepted.
I will say, without question, my writing will always, and naturally, gravitate toward those deepest values that we've spent time defining, and have decided will be our life's rudder. The values that had me leave the dream job, the values that minimalism embodies, and the values that help me understand what my legacy will be when life ends.