This Is How I Learned To Love To Write, And Why I Love Learning To Write Better
If had known when I was a kid that I would learn to love to write, I still wouldn’t have paid much attention in English class. The good news is, my English teacher in high school was also my tennis coach, and I was pretty good at tennis, not English. I got through English thinking that there was no way I could be an English teacher, a writer, editor, literary agent, or nuclear rocket scientist, because I thought Algebra was irrelevant, too.
Somehow sitting in any box at any school was never my thing, but I always loved to learn. The love for reading and writing thing came along later. Naturally, as a kid, I loved to ride my bicycle, explore, play sports, ask lots of questions, break new rules as I learned them, then suffer the consequences, much like the day I decided to crayon the wall. Hey, that’s writing.
Was that a sign of a future love of writing? I don’t know, but the reaction I got from my mother was much like the one I got from my father the day I took his newly-strung, Jack Kramer tennis racket out of the cover, and proceeded to win the rock hitting contests until the strings were mysteriously useless. Good times! I was learning lots of new stuff.
“Typing Class, Dad? What, Are You Nuts?”
I’ll never forget the day my father “suggested” I take a typing class in high school. It was 1978, and I thought my dad was nuts. Nonetheless, I took the typing class, and little did I know that I would one day develop a massive love for writing. Like all sons, I learned much later how smart my dad was.
How did I learn to love to write? I don’t know. It just happened. I know I love to write because I get lost in writing. This means writing takes me to a timeless place. Ideas come to me faster than I can pound nine cups of coffee between 3 a.m and 7 a.m. every day, my favorite time of day to write. It’s as if words flow through me, but they are not of me.
I have a very active muse, or perhaps an infantry of muses because I am never short ideas or words. This is why I crave the help of better writers; to refine my trade as a wordsmith, and be a better writer. For example, let me ask other writers …
- Do you lose track of time when you write?
- How often does the quest for perfection get in your way of your writing?
- Do you ever find that you are your own worst enemy when ready to hit the “publish” link?
When I work with other writers, I learn a lot about writing. But because my team and I are busy writing new websites, landing pages, ebooks, articles, and more for our clients, we often don’t make time to talk about the head trash stuff that is the equalizer for the many joys of being a writer. For example, the war of art is real in my head, and it can ugly in my head at times, especially when I strive for perfection, take my first draft of 2,895 words to the desired word count of 750. Simple, not easy, at least not for me.
A Letter To The Editor
My writing career began when I was 13, before dad went crazy like a fox and made me take a typing class in high school. The year was 1974, and I was not happy about inflationary hamburger prices at the local ski area because high hamburger prices compelled my mother to pack me, my brother and sister a lunch. As much as we loved our mother, her lunch was never as good as a hamburger at Gunstock Ski area. I still don’t know why I was compelled to write to the editor of The Laconia Evening Citizen, other than to take a stand. Nobody told me back then that this might be a sign that I’d learn to love to play with words. I was just being me.
I needed to express myself from a young age. I had feelings that I needed to get out. I had tons of questions. My incessant questions displeased teachers, nuns, priests, relatives, parents, adults, and even my younger siblings. I had a way of being curious, and digging deep into everything. I needed to know what I needed to know. It’s still that way. I love to read, ask questions, watch documentaries, and learn. All of this helps be be a better writer.
Normally, my approach was to fly low, stay far under the parental radar, and carry out my mostly-innocent, adolescent adventures. I learned a valuable lesson about engagement and small town newspaper distribution. If you write a letter to the editor of a small town newspaper, and 99% of the people living in the small town read the same paper every day, the rotary phone will ring like crazy, and that will make your parents crazy, which will result in some serious whoop ass. It was 100% worth it!
Do What You Love, Love What You Do
I wondered often if it would be possible for this cliche to be true for me. It is, very much. I have built the small business and life of my dreams. Writing for fun and business is at the core of all this. Same for reading. I love to read as much as I love to write. Movies are just another form of writing, to me.
The reason I love learning to be a better writer is I believe I can reach more people, share my experience, failures, and real stories about how to get better at the games of business and life. After all, most of us allow the lines between work and life to blur, so why not make it my professional purpose to write, speak, teach and coach people to learn how to do what they love? If I can learn it, you can!
There are many benefits to writing. I’ve crossed the “half time” mark in life, and it’s clear as I lose more people I love to age, disease and misfortune, that writing is extremely therapeutic for me. One one hand, I can get my thoughts out of my head, edit, and share. Writing is therapeutic. Perhaps even more beneficial to me though now, is knowing that after hacking my way through hundreds of articles over the years, and writing so much, that I’m helping people. Being of service to others is the best therapy of all.
I love teaching, coaching and helping people get what they want. The same is true for my writing. I get tons of great feedback on my articles, and this reinforces me. I know I’m helping people when they clap on Medium, or send me an email because they loved one of my Business Journals articles. Same for the 120+ articles I hacked for LinkedIn, which now takes a distant second place to Medium as my favorite place to write. People like and sometimes share my work. When I am gone my family and friends will have access to a fairly large, digital collection of articles over the years.
I don’t talk or write much about the books I’ve co-written. They were not too fun to write because the publisher took a formulaic approach that killed most of the creative process involved. I paid to be in four books, and at the time, I figured being in books with famous people would be a great way to build my personal brand, more so than some stupid brochure nobody would value. The lame book investments paid off in more ways than one, but I wouldn’t go that route again because it would have been better to wait and produce a great book of my own. I’ve got that in the works, but work keeps getting in the way.
The Biggest Clue That I Love To Write
In 1990 I had a lame day job I didn’t like. I saw an ad for the new Mac and decided I had to have one. I maxed out a credit card when I added the cool carrying case, because as soon as I walked out of the computer store with my new computer, unboxed it for the first time, plugged it in, sat down, and dialed in the keyboard to lay my hands on it, I know three things.
- My father was a genius for making me take that typing class.
- I love to write. The more I write, the more I love it.
- I would get better at writing every day, and it was fun!
My wife was pissed I maxed out that credit card. But she also knows the joy I have for writing. It is a Saturday, and beautiful outside in Arizona. But here I am, writing.
I get to write most of every day. I write for fun, like this, and I write for work, because I run a small company with a guy named Harvey Mackay. Harvey is a great guy to have as my business partner, friend, and mentor because he’s written and sold more than 10 million books.
Now, in my spare time, beyond writing articles like this for my love of writing, I am working on my new book because Harvey will help me publish it and do it the right way.
What if my next book doesn’t sell squat, just like the other four I wrote that collect dust in my closet and garage? No big deal. Why?
I love to write, and being here at Medium is my #1 spot for learning to be a better writer. Thanks for being here and reading my work.
How does it get any better than this?