How Everybody Should Start Writing Online

Why everybody should start an online home and how to overcome the writer’s block

Photo by Nick Morrison

With society’s precariously quick takeoff in the online sphere, your presence in the cyber landscape will become more salient than ever as we step foot into the future. With this in mind, it is indisputably crucial to grow your online presence, not only to increase the odds of being seen and heard in the modern sea of attention warfare, but also to improve credibility in the eyes of future employers and prospective clients. Building a strong online presence is not only a clever alternative to making bland conventional CVs, it elevates a sense of social proof, which possesses superior value density compared to the all-too-common trophies and certificates.

Think about it from the lens of a graphic designer or a photographer, who have ditched the idea of conventional resumés for a long time now, preferring the more modernistic portfolio websites. A photographer boasting a strong online portfolio will leave a stronger mark in the eyes of potential clients than one who’s stuck with the more traditional option — that is an almost intuitively natural consideration. The same can practically be accomplished by individuals from each scope of industry — only we switch the sleek portfolio websites for a neat professional blog, and the HD photographs for flowing, sexy semantics. I’m sure there are people from your niche who could appreciate some extra value / insight from you. Creators from every line of work in this day and age should follow the steps of our digital brothers and sisters and start building an online house.

Logistically, writing online has never been easier. You can take out your phone right now, start writing a short story, and within seconds upload that excerpt for the entire world to enjoy on a free platform such as Twitter, Facebook, or Medium. Now that we’ve established that point, it’s time to get down to tasking part of the job: the actual process of putting your thoughts on a blank virtual canvas. This can be a daunting assignment, guaranteed to even leave you paralyzed in your own jumbled thoughts, not knowing where to begin. If you’ve ever attempted writing on a more consistent basis, you probably know the feeling I’m talking about. In writing vocabulary, it’s called the writer’s block.

The writer’s block, as its name suggests, is a figurative obstacle that essentially describes the mental obstacle writers face when they can’t seem to put their thoughts into words, as if an actual concrete block was standing in between their thoughts and their ability to produce linguistically flowing words.

Sometimes, they even fail to unearth the parts of their brain that allows them to form logically sound narratives. In short, they’re stuck. Since I started my food blog two years ago, events like these are not only commonplace, they prevail. It’s come to a point where I feel the writer’s block every time I decide to start writing.

Recently, I came across an insightful podcast episode between famous author Tim Ferriss and author-physicist Safi Bahcall. In the hour-long interview, Safi discussed about the difficulties he faced in publishing his first book ‘Loonshots’, which naturally ran tangents on the topic of the writer’s block. Safi ended by sharing nuggets on how he personally got over this seemingly undefeatable mental boulder.

He called the method quite comfortably, to write FBR. FBR stands for Fast, Bad, and wRong.

Write fast, write bad, and write wrong. Terrible style, terrible grammar, terrible word choice, wrong facts, and that liberates you. That liberates you to follow the narrative thread and just keep going and going with it. And don’t stop and backtrack, because every time you stop, it’s like a car going down the highway — it’s easy to stop, but then you have to spend all this fuel to get back up to speed, and you might not get there. You discover that start writing, and start pulling on that narrative thread, it’s really surprising where it goes. But only if you go fast. Not if you go slow.

The thing is, I thought the writer’s block was something personally unique to me, I never imagined it to be something so prevalent in the writer’s sphere, and so naturally I have never actively searched for a solution. However, Safi’s insightful gems struck me — it felt like he was talking directly addressing my issue. In writing my next article, I gave this method a shot. Needless to say, it worked wonders.

Do take into account that I make very simple, concise drafts before pouring out the words for an article just to get a birds-eye directive to what the narrative thread of the story will be, but once that’s done, I remember to go all-out FBR. I give myself the freedom to write with terrible English, woefully backed-up facts, and most importantly, I write with immense speed and ease. After writing the first scripted draft of the soon-to-be published article, I simply close it and then treat myself with an Oreo or two. I’ll then revisit that article the next day, but besides the one or two outliers, I’m often amused at how polished my articles already are to begin with, to a point where I barely have to edit anything besides the occasional syntactic errors.

Final note

Writing for an online audience, although logistically easy, is a very difficult thing to master and pull off consistently. You’ll spend a great deal of time sitting like a lemon in front of your laptop (or your notepad, for the classic few of you). In moments like these, implementing techniques like FBR may be the difference between pulling through the trough of writer’s block or fall flat in the deadly embrace of surrenderance.

My final two cents: give it a shot. It’s not rocket-science, it’s easy, but most of all, it’s a low risk investment that I know for a fact will help any writer pull through the writer’s homonym of an influenza — annoying, widespread, and productively-deterrent. Alas, the solution is to remember to write Fast, Bad, and Wrong.

Written by

Junior doctor, writer, photographer, and part-time social media strategist. Receive weekly updates from me ⤵

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