Unless you happen to be a professional writer, writing may seem like an impractical hobby to adopt. After all, who has time to dedicate to a practice that requires such concentration and thought, while juggling everything else in your day? Luckily, it doesn’t take much time to start a writing practice, and even just a few minutes per week can be profoundly therapeutic. You don’t need to get a novel published in order to consider yourself an active writer.
1. Finding clarity in your thought process
Let’s face it – sometimes we don’t know what we actually think or feel. The activities of the day can easily jumble your thoughts, stress you out, and muddle your mental clarity. By giving yourself space and time to write things down, you allow yourself to be honest and let anything out.
2. Making better decisions
We’ve all made pros and cons lists, even if just in our heads. But writing about a difficult decision gives the process of deciding a new, visual dimension. Upon writing about a problem, you may be able to go back and re-read what your wrote to find clarity. When thoughts are laid out on a page, it’s much easier to see your genuine thoughts, as well as problems and realistic possibilities.
3. Becoming more professional
Nowadays, digital content is the primary vehicle for businesses to market themselves, communicate with their customers, and build a brand. Thus it is slowly becoming a necessity for professionals to know how to write with eloquence. Something as simple as knowing how to write a white paper, a blog post, or a professional email can propel your career to the next level.
4. Releasing negative thoughts and feelings
For years, scientists have be uncovering the emotional benefits of writing. This does not only apply to conventional pen-and-paper writing, but even blogging. According to Harvard researchers, blogging has been shown to be therapeutic. According to Scientific American, “Some hospitals have started hosting patient-authored blogs on their Web sites as clinicians begin to recognize the therapeutic value.”
5. Stimulating your creative juices
When neuroscientists observed participants brains while they wrote, they found striking similarities between the writers and the typical activity of someone playing a sport. While the physical act of copying words did not stimulate creative centers of the brain, the act of both thinking and writing did.
6. Finding relief from physical illness
Believe it or not or not, a study by New Zealand researchers showed that patients who wrote after biopsies had wounds heal faster than those that didn’t write. Furthermore, asthma patients who wrote were found to have fewer attacks, and AIDS patients were found to have higher T cell counts. Amazingly, this reveals the possibility that writing can not only benefit your mental health, but physical health as well.
7. Disconnecting from technology
Grabbing a pen and paper is the perfect way to disconnect from technology throughout your day. It’s an activity that still stimulates and occupies your mind – but it’s not overstimulating like most things we find on the internet, our phones, and tv.
8. There’s a writing style for everyone
The common conception of a writer is basically an author – someone who meticulously slaves over their novel while working to get published. For many, this may sound daunting and tedious. However, not every writer is the stereotypical, Edgar Allan Poe-esque creative genius. Some writers are critics, writing reviews for food, movies, or music. Others may write grants for organizations, while technical writers create instructional documents.
9. Improving memory
By writing with a pen and paper, those who are studying are able to retain more information than if they were simply reading. The act of writing information down activates the brain’s Reticular Activating System, leading to stronger memory retention.
10. Develop a greater ability to express yourself
Writing gets you into the habit of using language in a more particular way. It helps you to avoid being vague (e.g. She is doing good), and delve into the deeper aspects of what you are experiencing (e.g. Her performance has improved considerably). This will help others understand you better.
11. You don’t need to be an expert
Many people consider themselves poor writers, while others feel they just don’t enjoy the practice. But much of this discouragement comes from self judgement. Your writing doesn’t have to be free of error – it doesn’t even need to be good. The benefits come from simply getting into the habit. The more you write, the more skilled and fluid you’ll become with words and ideas.
12. Slow down
It’s difficult to rush through a writing session. If you’re always on the go and feeling overstimulated, writing will force you to become more grounded.
Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com