On writing (and blogging)

Thoughts on Writing

If I look at the return, per word, for the specialized car articles versus my bestselling books, the return per word on car articles is much greater than anything else I have written.  Now, plenty of people would argue that the social value of my writing on autism and neurodiversity has brought far more to the world.  I agree, and I’m proud of that, but it does not change the fact there would never have been a Look Me in the Eye if I had not first built a business that gave me the freedom to take the time to write on autism.

If you are someone who dreams of making money from writing, there is an important lesson here.  It is incredibly hard to write a book, get an agent to read it, and get a publisher to buy and publish it. Once it comes out the odds of having a bestseller are tiny.  Real financial success is so rare.

Why do I continually blog? Well, it has helped me develop many insights! I make zero money out of writing here. There’s no subscription/premium locked up content here. It represents a brain dump of ideas. However, its helped me in the following:

  • I scan hundreds of sources everyday to filter content.
  • My reading (and hence my retention) has gone up.
  • I can skim through rapidly to understand the content and context.
  • Based on these, I can choose to blog or designate specific command chains on my browser (Vivaldi) to share content with others without breaking the cognitive flow.
  • I can research rapidly on any given topic.
  • I can assimilate arguments in my favour.
  • These represent a “brain-dump” which I can process in the background, and that comes out in my long-form writing.
  • Much of it is contemporary understanding of the events.
  • I have learned to manage my time efficiently and effectively.

Here’s what the author concludes:

Sometimes success in writing isn’t what you think it is. Writing is what got me where I am, but not in most direct manner. 

Writing is tough. I learned this the hard way. I used to point out the obvious flaws in the arguments of the writers (“journalists”), but I realised anyone doing it for a living will have a constrained view, as the opinions are not solely of the author. Few organisations give the lateral freedom to explore issues in depth. Even fewer make you think. When exposed to a multitude of ideas, you can easily spot the flotsam. I link to “reputable” news sources here-most of them paywalled, but with enough context copied out to advance my arguments (and understanding). Writing helps you get a macro view of issues, and you can easily zoom in to specifics. Start writing and don’t bother if anyone reads it or not. You can’t become a superstar overnight, but it will reward you in many ways, you never thought it was possible.

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