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12 Compelling Reasons To Add Writing To Your Bucket List

12 Compelling Reasons To Add Writing To Your Bucket List

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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