Being Noah Tesfaye #52: How Writing for a Year Changed My Life.

52 weeks ago, I embarked on a journey.

Just a few days prior, I was complaining along with my friend about how much we hated the fact that we never got the chance to write as often as we wanted. We were always occupied with in-class writing, that everything we would do was always for a grade. We wanted the chance to just write about whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. This friend suggested that I start writing a blog. I had my domain name thanks to my dad saving it for me, and I re-configured it to become this: the blog.

52 weeks ago, I told myself I would try to write every single week for a year. Whether I was in the country or not, whether I was struggling in that moment of time, whether I was sleep-deprived, I told myself I needed to write. I didn’t know at the time why I needed to write, but I just had that inkling to just do it.

Every single Saturday, as I’m doing right now, I sit down in a coffee shop, block off two hours, and don’t do anything but just sit with myself, alone, and write. Whatever comes to me is what ends up coming onto the blog. Some weeks, that idea came throughout the week. Other times, I would sit for three hours in a coffee shop mindlessly surfing through news articles until I found the right thing to write about. But either way, the process would remain the same. I would go Medium, now Highland 2, open a blank document, and just write into a white screen.

When I started the blog, I felt as though I didn’t really know who I was as a person. I knew I physically existed, or at least maybe, shout out to AP Lit;). But I didn’t know what my purpose was, what the point of working so hard aimlessly at school if I didn’t know what I was striving towards. I wanted so bad to have that calling that I felt was necessary towards me achieving some accomplishment greater than my own. But, I told myself that if I just talked to myself, if I just wrote whatever I was thinking, maybe I’d begin to start piecing myself together.

And it worked.

From that very first piece on the point of diversity to most recently writing about my favorite coffee shops, I’ve discovered more about myself than I ever could just thinking without inaction. I’ve learned that I’m a more compassionate person if I always attempt to put myself in other people’s shoes. I’ve learned that I love writing more than almost any single activity in my life. This blog is, after all, the single reason why I began writing for my school paper and local paper because I became more confident in who I was. I’ve also discovered I have a passion for seeking out knowledge in ways I never knew were possible. From reparations to Justice Roberts to Malcolm X, I just want more than ever to learn in every part of my life. Writing the blog has allowed me to find new facts and narratives that I would have never been able to understand had I never written this blog.

Without a doubt, the clearest difference between the start and now is my writing skills. Practicing every single week, attempting to use language in random, unique ways for me has been eye-opening. It’s not just that through the blog that I love writing more, but I realize how much writing can do, and how much power words truly have. Especially when it comes to reading books now in English, I’m more apt in understanding more complex passages, and I pick up far more through a first read now than I could just a year ago. I value and admire my friends’ writing as well on a far deeper level. Without this blog, I would be a writer without the enthusiasm and desire to get better. But now, I’m an okay writer with the passion to take this skill to the maximum.

I also won’t go without saying that there’s a day coming up this week that’s also important for me and for a lot of other friends: November 1st. And I could not be honest with you and say how much writing this blog has helped me become ready for that whole process. I always thought before I started writing that it would be weird and very selfish to write about myself every week for a year, that this person/friend/peer who would do this is stuck up. But, in reality, this blog is selfish, and that’s okay. I wrote initially to find myself and what ended up happening was that I knew so much more about what I wanted, what I wanted to become, that it made this whole process more straightforward. How can you write about what you want if you don’t know who you truly are? I’m not saying I knew even 50% of what I want in life, but I don’t have the prose control or vocabulary to explain how much writing this blog has helped me with writing these essays. And even though I never started with that intention, it helped me so much that when it came to the summer, it was just like writing more blog posts for me.

I never had the intention of getting the blog to necessarily become the next big thing and become viral. But, I’ve been surprised that people will sometimes just come up to me or message me that they read and that they enjoy it. They appreciate the dialogue, the conversation that I try to kindle. Opening new topics amongst my peers is what makes me even more proud of the writing I’ve done this year. Thank you so much to everyone who’s read, swiped up on my Snaps, gone to my Instagram bio, or clicked the link on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks to you, this personal journey has become even more exciting than I ever imagined.

So what’s next? What’s the future? I said I’d write for a year, not thinking I’d make it this far, but here I am. The plan? To continue this journey. As I said, I still don’t really know yet who I am or what I truly want to do, but the plan is to just continue this blog until I get to that point. Who knows if that’s next week, or in three years, or twenty, but that is what’s next for this blog.

52 weeks ago, I chose to write a blog. And it changed my life. Write, even if you hate the idea of it, because, who knows, maybe it will change your life too.

Thank you so much for reading. I’ll see you all next week…

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