You should write.
Regardless of your self-perceived skill or experience, you should absolutely write stuff and stick it on the Internet. This is what I have been doing for more than a decade. Every single day since 2005 - without exception, I have posted a thought or an idea or an observation to the Internet in the form of a blog post.
Many remarkable things have happened as a result of this.
- I am quite certain that it has made me a better writer.
- It has connected me with people from all over the world.
- I have made friends as a result of my writing.
- It has created an archive of my life and my thoughts that I reference constantly and with great zeal.
- I have been offered jobs and landed writing gigs as a result of my writing.
My blog posts were also excerpted, misquoted, and presented out of context by a lunatic or a small group of lunatics in attempt to destroy my life and the lives of others, but that was a unicorn. An "impossible-to-believe of act of insanity" in the words of one attorney. A one-in-a-million disaster that could only happen to me.
It also resulted in a Moth story that won me a GrandSLAM championship and ended up being heard on the Moth Radio Hour by millions of Americans. Listeners reach out to me all the time about the story. It's become a story that the victims of hate-mongering, prejudice, and cowardly anonymous attacks listen to for solace, hope, and inspiration.
So it wasn't all bad.
Then there are the bizarre, the unexpected, and the unbelievable things that have happened as a result of writing stiuff and sticking it on the Internet.
Here are just a few:
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post advising Hillary Clinton to take certain strategic steps in her next two debates with Donald Trump. That post made it into the hands of a senior staffer on the Clinton campaign and was passed around. I don't know if Clinton herself read it, but I like to pretend that she did.
I have yet to be offered a speech writing job, but I haven't given up hope.
In June of 2010, a wrote a post about the Blackstone Valley sniper. When I was a child, a pair of men spent almost two years firing bullets into windows in my hometown and the adjacent towns, forcing us to turn out our lights at night and crawl under the picture window as we passed through the living room. We lived in fear for a long time. There was a total of eleven shootings from 1986-1987 (in addition to acts of arson and burglaries), and though no one was killed, four people were wounded in the attacks.
The two men guilty of the shootings were sentenced to prison in 1989 and were released on probation in 2008.
Five years after writing that post, the girlfriend of one of the shooters saw the post and wrote to me, complaining about my disparaging remarks about her boyfriend, who was turning his life around.
It was an interesting exchange of ideas.
In April of 2011, I wrote about my desire to become a professional best man. I declared myself ready and able if anyone needed my services.
Since I wrote that post, four grooms and one bride have attempted to hire me (scheduling prevented those bookings from happening), and a fifth groom actually hired me for his wedding but cancelled later on.
I've also been contacted by three different reality television producers about the possibility of doing a show in which I would be a professional best man at a series of weddings. None of these shows came to fruition.
In 2015, comedian Kevin hart wrote to me upon the release of his film The Wedding Ringer, in which he plays a professional best man. He acknowledged that it was my idea first.
In 2012, I wrote about my desire to find my first library book. I recalled a few details about the book - the color of the cover and a few details about the plot - but nothing terribly specific.
Two years later a reader correctly identified the book. It now sits on my bookshelf.
One day later, I was informed that she is 94 years old and still going strong.
By the end of that day, I had been given her home address by a reader. I sent her a letter last week telling her how much she meant to me and how I think about her every time I tie my shoes.
I'm waiting to hear back.