I can't believe the year is almost over.
This time, 12 months ago, I was suffering from horrible writer's block. I was knee-deep in working on my book, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer, and I was struggling to really get to the heart of what it was I truly wanted to say. I had been working on the project for three years and somewhere along the way I lost sight of my original mission. A year ago, I was banging my head against my desk just trying to get to the end—and instead, I found myself unable to finish a single page.
Quora was suggested to me by a friend who thought that, as a writer, I would have a lot to contribute to the community. At first, I was skeptical, having tried many many other writing and blogging platforms before, but still, I made an account and spent some time checking it out. Then their daily newsletters started to appear in my inbox, and I found myself voraciously reading answers from thought leaders on topics I didn't even know I would be interested in: entrepreneurship, self-development, goal setting, business etiquette, etc. Within a few weeks, I was reading Quora more than I was reading books or blogs or any other medium of writing. I felt like I was getting real information and answers straight from the source—people who were speaking from a place of experience.
What happened next was nothing short of a whirlwind. I started writing on Quora, hesitantly at first, and then as I saw people comment on my answers and thank me for sharing, I felt inspired to share more, and more, and more. Within three months, I had my first Quora answer go viral—front page of Reddit—accumulating over 1,000,000 views. Within 6 months, dozens of my answers had been republished in some of the web's most popular digital publications: TIME, Inc Magazine, Forbes, Fortune, The Huffington Post, etc. Within 9 months, I was contacted by one of the Quora moderators letting me know that I would be joining the elite class of "Top Writer's" for 2015—and more than that, one of my answers would be published in their 2014 Print Anthology. My first piece of printed work as a writer was the result of my involvement on Quora.
And now, a year later, I sit here sharing this with you: my first (of hopefully many) Best Answers Of the past year. Out of the hundreds of answers I have written, these are my favorites. A few of them accumulated hundreds of thousands of views and became popular staples on the site, but most are answers I chose simply because I felt they expressed something very revealing about me as a writer and provide true value.
As a close friend of mine put it, "Quora is like a sketch pad for writers. It gives you writing prompts in the form of a question, and the words just sort of begin to flow."
Of all the things I have "achieved" writing on Quora (amazing to me that people think, by any stretch of the imagination, that I have reached some level of "fame" through this), I am most enthralled by what Quora has done for my practice. I don't write for the views. I don't write for the followers. I don't write so that I can see my work republished by TIME or Inc or Forbes magazine—although they are all nice perks. I write because I love to write, and Quora allows me to practice in front of an audience. I get to receive live feedback on my work. I get to hear what people are thinking, to see how they respond to what I say and how I say it. I make mistakes. Most of my work isn't perfect by any means. And it's through that imperfection that I have been able to grow, to overcome my self-induced writer's block, and to ultimately find my voice again.
That's why I wanted to put together this "Best Of" from 2015. Whether I like it or not (because I am a perfectionist), these answers are true representations of me. They hold just as much weight as the pieces I have hidden on my laptop, refining over and over again before I share them with the world. What I write and share on Quora is an intimate look into my process, my "journal," and even though it's scary to share something that is, in a sense, "imperfect," it's through imperfection that ultimately the author finds his way and his readers see his core. As a reader, that's what I love most. So as a writer, I feel it is in my best interest to share that vulnerability.
So. It's free. It's yours. I hope you enjoy it. And I encourage you to share your thoughts, no matter what they are, because as a reader you play a part in this relationship. I write for you, and hearing what you think is rewarding no matter what.
Thank you to anyone and everyone that has read, commented, shared, upvoted, and supported over the past year. I am more excited than ever to share even more in 2016.
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