I hit an important milestone this week. About 100,000 people have read the writings on this website. I couldn’t hope for that kind of scale when I decided to write one article every weekday. It’s a pretty exciting thought to have thousands of people engaging with ideas coming straight out of your mind. It made me wonder: would I keep on writing if no one ever read my words? And the answer is yes. Which brings me to an interesting question: why I write in the first place.
Sure, I write because I enjoy the process. I have always loved writing, and I finally reached a level where I can write comfortably in English even though it’s not my native language, which feels nice. Plus, writing feels essential to my mental gym routine. And yes, I write to build a business. Content is one of the most powerful ways to build an audience at scale while keeping things human. But, the more I write, the more I realise that writing is much more than all of that to me.
Writing is a way to create meaning.
Writing allows us to craft our own world, to untangle our thoughts, to design our own mental models, to make sense of our lives. Writing lets us turn fluttering thoughts into little vessels that may take a life of their own once outside our minds.
“Writing to me means thinking, digging, pondering, creating, shattering. It means getting at the meaning of all things; it means reaching climaxes; it means moral and spiritual and physical life all in one. Writing implies manual labor, a strain on one’s conscience and an exercise of the mind. My life flows into ink and I am pleased.”Anaïs Nin, Diarist & Novelist.
In a world that’s so unpredictable, writing is the only thing I feel I have complete control over—not the kind of anxious and illusory control we think we have when we’re scared, the kind of liberating control one may experience when practicing a craft.
I sometimes write fast, as if my thoughts were flowing straight from my mind onto the keyboard; and sometimes I can stay stuck on a word for a very long time, because no word seems to capture exactly what I have in mind or because my thoughts are so confused that I can’t express them.
Writing is a mind-expanding, enlightening experience. You get to create deep connections with people from all around the world. You educate yourself and others. And in the process, you may find yourself. In the middle of thousand of words and pages all linked together, you start to see patterns emerging—patterns that will tell you more about your mind than any book written by someone else.
If you’ve been thinking about writing, do it. If you already write, keep at it. It’s one of the few crafts that do not require any special tool or investment. Just time, passion, and dedication. Commit to it and you will start finding new meanings where there was none before.
“We write to lure and enchant and console others. We write to serenade our lovers. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely.”Anaïs Nin, Diarist & Novelist.
p.s. To celebrate 2,000 subscribers and 100,000 readers, I decided to launch the Maker Mind newsletter on Product Hunt today. I would love your support and feedback. I’m also hosting an AMA. Thank you!
Anne-Laure Le Cunff
I’m an ex-Googler, entrepreneur, and part-time neuroscience student at King’s College. If you found this article useful, subscribe to my weekly newsletter about productivity, creativity, and learning.