In this video, we're talking about how starting a blog and putting myself out there on the internet has completely changed my life and how it can do the same for you, hey friends, welcome back to the channel if you're new here my name is ali. I'M a doctor based in cambridge and around five years ago i made the plunge to putting myself out there and started my personal blog. So since basically my first year of university, i knew i wanted to start some kind of blog. I knew i wanted to start. Writing on the internet, but i had all of these fears around it that i just could never really quite get over like. Firstly, there was the fears around actually starting writing online in the first place, and it was things like you know what the hell am
I going to write about. Why would anyone read what i have to say? Surely, if my friends and family discover that i've got a personal blog, that i've been writing online they're going to make fun of me and they're going to think i'm a terrible person, and i had this real barrier towards writing anything which was that there was nothing That i was going to produce that was original. I was stuck on this thing of having to be original thinking that you know everything out. There has already already been written about i'm interested in tech, i kind of like productivity, but there's a zillion tech, blogs and productivity blogs and youtube channel like what the hell am. I, as a 20 year old medical student going to contribute towards this wider world, there was fear of perfectionism. You know what, if my, what, if my article sucks, what if people think it's awful what if my grammar is bad or even worse, what, if 10 20 years down the line, some employer, who wants to try and hire me as a doctor, sees the fact that I'Ve started a blog and is like wait a minute.
Why did you start a blog in 2012 or 2013, like i had all these like stupid fears in my mind and for a solid like four or five years. These fears stopped me from putting myself out there online. They stopped me from right from starting a blog from writing a single word, but then on the 2nd of january 2016. So, basically, five years ago, i discovered this book show your work by austin cleon, and this book single-handedly changed my life and it's actually the book that i have most gifted out of any other book that i've ever read. I keep multiple copies of this book in the house because often, if i'm talking to people and they come over - and they ask me for advice about anything at all - it's always around. Oh, my god, i'm scared to put myself out there and i just give them this book. It'S really short. It'S really easy to get through, and it was just completely groundbreaking for me and helping me get over these various fears that i had and actually taking the plunge into writing online, and one of the things i really like about this book is that it's really a Guide to self-promotion for people who absolutely hate the idea of self-promotion, like i used to think self-promotion was like a dirty thing and, oh, my god, ugh
If i put myself out there on the internet, what are people going to think, but the way he talks about it is that it's not it's not about self-promotion. It'S about showing your work. Now, if you imagine, for example, if you're watching me as a youtuber, you're, probably interested in the behind the scenes, what it's like being a youtuber and therefore, if i were to write about that on my blog, you know do a little like diary type thing where I'M like hey, so i'm filming this video, and this is what the script looks like, and this is what the finished product looks like, and these are kind of the notes that i made, and this is the thought processes and the diagrams that i make to get To the point of the finished product, that's actually quite interesting, and you know in the past, when the internet wasn't really a thing.
People couldn't really get a behind-the-scenes Look at other people's work. It would be like a writer would go into their cave and write a book and come out with a book or an artist would go into their cave and do a painting. But everyone wants to see how the painting is made. They want to see how the sausage is, proverbially created and so really starting. A blog is not about having to come up with hey
I need to write something interesting. It'S actually just about documenting the stuff that you're doing already now i was a medical student at the time, and so i could have very easily documented what life as a medical student was like and in fact that's what i started doing on my youtube channel. Like five years later, i was reading loads of books back in the day, and so i could have documented the books that i was reading and sort of sharing my thoughts about them and writing book reviews and in fact people often ask me what's what's like one Regret or that you have or what's one piece of advice you'd give to yourself 10 years ago, and my answer is always
I really wish i'd started a blog earlier and i wish i'd just been writing reviews of books that i'd read. I first read this five years ago, but i don't know what my thoughts and feelings were when i read this because i just didn't document them and it would be so interesting now to look back on. I don't know you know the four-hour work week which i wish i read at the age of 17 and how it changed me, but i don't have any of that and i really wish i had documented things on a personal blog as i was going throughout.
My life, the other big fear i had, was that this thing of i you know i need to be an expert, i'm not an expert on anything. Therefore, how can i possibly write about it and chapter? One of this book says you don't need to be a genius. You don't need to be an expert to share your process and to document your work and to show how you're learning stuff you can completely embrace the beginner's mindset. I'M a beginner, you know on youtube. I'M a beginner, i don't know anything about productivity, i'm just documenting the stuff that i'm learning and i'm like. Hey guys. You know here are some tips. I found helpful for me if you find them helpful. Maybe you know you'll enjoy watching this video or something like that, and so, if you're watching this right now thinking oh, but i'm not an expert in anything. I don't you know. Therefore, i can't write about it. Just like embrace being a beginner. Someone who is a beginner is often so much better at teaching other people who are beginners than someone who's. An expert c.s lewis calls this the curse of knowledge.
It'S like when you become so pro at something you forget what it was like to be a beginner at it and so like right now, i'm a total beginner at learning how to draw i'm trying to learn concept, art, i'm taking art lessons and i'm documenting my Process, thanks to austin clinton's book, show your work on instagram and twitter and stuff, and i'm even going to do like a little journey blog post on my website, because right now, i'm not at all an expert in art. My art absolutely sucks, i'm a total beginner, but if you're thinking of getting started in art, you might be interested to be like hey. How is a total beginner approaching this, and what does the progression look like from not being able to draw anything towards being able to draw things that look kind of nice, and so it really is all about showing your work. The other big worry that i had was that what are my friends and family going to think? If i start a blog and i've got my own domain at aliabda.com and that again was just stupid because a no one actually cares, like
We all think that other people are looking at us and judging us, but actually everyone is worried about their own life. No one cares. I have a video up there about how to tackle imposter syndrome and really, if you think about it, like let's say, you've got a friend right now or a cousin or a brother or something and they're thinking hey. I want to learn the piano and i'm going to write about my journey of trying to learn the piano. Would you really judge them for that? You probably wouldn't you'd, be like oh that's kind of cool. You wouldn't criticize them. You wouldn't judge them. You don't think they're an absolute freaking idiot for having the audacity to post online. You would think. Oh that's kind of cool. It'S cool that you're documenting your journey. I want to follow along, and so it's completely ridiculous.
How We all have this idea that hey other people are going to judge me, but if we imagine ourselves in those other people's position, we think yeah, i wouldn't judge anyone for starting a blog or for starting an instagram documenting their art journey. I think it's kind of cool, let's talk about how this has actually changed. My life now and there's kind of three main things i want to talk about. Firstly, is the idea of a serendipity vehicle. This is a term that my friend, david perrell has coined i'll link to his youtube channel and his writing course, which is very good down in the video description. The way you want to imagine it is imagine you're living in a village. The only people you interact with are the other people in your village and occasionally a train comes by and someone visits the village and you kind of have a chat to them and stuff
But like you're, really limiting the amount of people you could possibly have connections with you're limiting the amount of people. You can be friends with you're limiting the serendipity that can happen to you, because you've just you're just surrounded by this tiny village of people. Now imagine if you were the sort of person who you know once a month you took a trip to neighboring towns and you started meeting people and saying hello to people over there and you started connecting with people who are interested in the same stuff as you That just massively exponentially increases the interesting things that can happen to you.
It increases your surface area for serendipity and i really like the metaphor that david perrell uses about this, which is the idea of robots when you create and share an idea. Is you put your ideas on to the internet, which means that little robots can basically carry your ideas and they go to to do all around the world? And then there's people who are sitting from malaysia to mauritius to algeria who are scrolling the internet and they want to learn about whatever. It is that you have written about or created a video about. And when you're sleeping when you're out playing tennis with your friends. When you're on a walk on the river, you pay no charge and those robots are like little carrier pigeons that deliver your ideas to people all over the world and, what's amazing, is you can make something once and the robots will work for you for the rest Of your life, and so as they deliver your ideas to people serendipity happens.
You meet new people, they reach out to you. They want to give you money, they want to help you. They have a consulting project that they need. Your help with anything whatever it is, but why i like the word serendipity vehicle is what they can imagine with. The ideas that they share are beyond what you can possibly think of what they would want, and the things that end up entering your life are things that are out of the scope of your imagination and that you couldn't have dreamed up before and so really when It comes down to it when you're putting your ideas into the world you're, allowing yourself you're opening yourself up to get all of these really interesting connections.
You might make friends you might make business associates, you might even meet the person you marry because of the fact that you're putting yourself out there on the internet and you're moving from this tiny, tiny village to suddenly opening up your network to the entire world and That is amazing. Secondly, writing online has changed my life because it's really helped me get clarity over my own thoughts, and i realized this back in 2016, when my company 6med wasn't doing particularly well. We'Ve been doing really well for a few years and then our growth started to stagnate.
I had like all these thoughts and feelings around this and like feeling, sad and feeling annoyed that you know this company wasn't doing very well, and i had a real crisis of thinking like what the hell am i doing with my life. What am i doing with this company am, i am, i sort of letting this really good thing go to waste and i spent ages thinking about this, but it was only when i actually wrote a blog post about it about this kind of balance between time and Money which is kind of what it came down to it was when i wrote a blog post about it and wrote it publicly and published it on my blog. That helped me solidify and clarify my own thinking around it, and the cool thing is that, by putting myself out there, i connected with austin cleon, who wrote the book, because i sent him an email saying:
Thank you. This has changed my life and he actually came on an interview on my youtube channel a few months ago. This is what he had to say about this idea of clarifying your thinking. What is interesting about having a blog or some sort of daily project? Even if it's like, i post one thing to instagram every day, or you know just something little like that, having something that you have to do every day, you find out it's not that you Have something to say it's that you find out what you have to Say So that's so like writing. Every day some people say: oh well, you must have so much to say because you write every day, i'm like. Actually it's the opposite. I have more to say, because i sit down and write every day and i figure out what i'm thinking and what it actually is that i have to say so. Writing is actually not just a way of communicating with the world. It'S actually a way of communicating with yourself, because the simple act of sitting down in front of a keyboard for 45 minutes or pulling out your notebook for a half hour, whatever it is.
You are creating space in the day for you to kind of connect with up with, what's here and to figure out what's going on, and what is it that i really feel and what is it that i really think that's something the beginner has to get over. Very quickly is that this idea like well, i don't have anything to say what am i going to blog about? It'S like the the pressure and the routine and the the muscles of blogging every day means that you will get to something every day and there's loads of other reasons.
Why writing online changed my life, but the third one and final one I want to talk about here is the butterfly effect now. The butterfly effect Is this idea that, if a butterfly flaps its wings in like brazil, then the like air currents produced by that further down the line can cause a chain reaction that produces a tornado. And so it's just this idea that, like a seemingly small thing that you do can have a huge effect further down the line and so the way that starting a blog changed. My life is that it made me okay, with putting myself out there on the internet.
It gave me the baby steps to write a few blog posts in like 2016, and so when it came to 18 months later in 2017, when i thought hey, should i start a youtube channel? I didn't have that fear. I didn't have that fear of getting started because i'd already taken the baby steps and started my personal blog thanks to show your work and, honestly, i think if i hadn't started the blog, i probably wouldn't have started the youtube channel because i would have been paralyzed By the oh, my god, i can't put myself out there what, if, what, if people find out my real name, what, if my friends and family see my youtube channel? What are people going to think, but because i had 18 months worth of practice of starting of like writing online and realizing that no one actually cares, and my friends and family did not give the slightest toss about whether i had a blog
I realized I can start a youtube channel. I can vlog my medical school elective. I can make videos about how to get into med school and no one cares. All that does is that it helps people and that's good and it can grow my audience and that's why i'm sitting here talking to you today, like three and a half years later, because i took the plunge into writing online five years ago. In fact, fun little fact i actually went on a zoom date yesterday, uh with someone who i met online. Who was watching my videos, and so if she and i end up getting married, then that would have also been down to putting myself online and starting a blog
Thank you to austin cleo all right. Let'S briefly, talk about how to actually start writing online and what to write about. So how do you start? Well, basically, you want a google free website and you want to make an account on wordpress, which is completely free or sub stack, which is completely free or you can use ghost, which is the platform that i use. It costs a bit of money, but if you're genuinely serious about starting a blog that changes your life, it's something that's very much worth investing in. But if you are unable to or if you just have like this allergic reaction to the thought of spending money on the internet, you can always use substance or wordpress which are completely free and in terms of what do i write about uh? This is
This is a question i get a lot um and let's cut to another segment from david perrell over here. When you start writing, do not even think about what the world is gon na, be interested in just do what interests you and get to the place where you're writing about super niche topics, i mean, if there's any lesson of the internet.
It is that you are not the only person interested in whatever it is that you're interested in like we know that, and the niche topics honestly are the ones that are going to give you the best benefits of meeting cool people and having interesting things happen. So yeah start with the smallest thing that you possibly can start with writing about whatever interests you just document, your work read, show your work document, your process document, you learning stuff. If you do that, plus being slightly active on twitter, which we're going to talk about another time, then you'll just connect with other people who are interested in the same things and you'll. Make friends and you'll make business connections and you'll really enjoy becoming a global citizen of the internet? So, that's all you really need to get started, but if you're interested in more writing tips from me and from the authors that i've interviewed on this youtube channel over the last year, you should definitely check out the extended version of this video which is available on Nebula, if you haven't heard nebula, is an independent streaming platform, that's built by me and a bunch of other creators and it's a place where we can put our content without worrying about the youtube algorithm and so for a video like this, where the extended edition is Like 35-40 minutes long, it means i can put that on nebula and not worry about having to kind of cut things down bit by bit for youtube on nebula you'll find a load of other exclusive videos created by me and some of my creative friends.
I'Ve got a workflow series where i talk through my workflow for my favorite productivity apps, and you also get early access to all of our videos, completely ad-free, and so in the extended version, this ad completely disappears and instead you'll just get a load of writing tips From me and the people that i've interviewed, if you want to join nebula, the best way is to sign up to curiositystream, who are very kindly sponsoring this video curiosity stream is the world's leading documentary streaming subscription platform and they've got thousands of really high budget high Quality documentaries covering everything you can possibly think of, and actually one documentary series i've been enjoying recently it's called how to look at a painting which i'm watching, because i've never really gotten the whole art gallery thing, and you know why do people enjoy looking at paintings? But now that i'm trying to become a concept artist, this is helping me kind of get more of an overview of exactly why this happens and all the different things to look for in artwork.
But the really cool thing is that curiosity stream has a bundle with nebula, and so, if you sign up to an account for curiosity stream, which is like 15 a year, you actually get free access to nebula for a whole year. Bundled with that and so for. Less than 15, you get access to tons of high quality, documentaries and also loads of my original content on nebula and also loads of other creator, original content nebula, which makes this the single best deal in the streaming world. If that sounds up your street, and you want to see the extended version of this video head over to curiositystream.com forward slash ali and then you'll get your nebula details emailed to you.