The written word is a part of every day life. At its most basic, writing is a way of communicating. This is the one inalienable characteristic of writing itself, whether you’re communicating with a colleague or friend or you’re actually communicating with yourself – though a shopping list, for instance.
Aside from the fact that writing is an inescapable part of every day life, there are many good reasons you should make a good session of writing part of your daily routine, even if it’s just a few hundred words. You don’t have to be a pro to reap the benefits of creating the written word.
1. Remove stress from mind, place on paper
Writing can be therapeutic. It can be a way to vent all the pent-up frustrations burdening your mind into a far less volatile form, paper (or screen). You can address your anger, fear, worry and stress without bludgeoning the person who embodies those emotions for you with a paperweight.
Writing can serve as a form of cathartic stress relief where you finally get to say what you can’t say out loud, in real life. Just don’t let your vented feelings get into the wrong hands, or you may end up paying some pretty hefty blackmail cash.
2. Sweep Your Mind
A daily writing habit gives you regular time to sweep your mind for forgotten tasks and ideas that have been fermenting in the back of your head without your knowledge. It allows you to take the unordered thoughts floating around your head like lost puppies in zero gravity, and turn them into ordered plans and actions.
This is the fundamental principle that the mindsweep and weekly review are based on: getting everything you can think of out of your head, and into a written format. This simple process can save your life when things are getting overwhelming and complicated.
3. Keep Your Writing Skills Sharp
Write every day to keep your skill with the written word sharp. Like any skill, the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and aesthetically degrades without practice. As a result, many people who don’t write regularly can freeze up, lost for words, on something so simple as an email to a friend.
Writing every day, even in a stream-of-consciousness, unedited format will maintain and gradually improve your writing skills, and since dealing with the written word is a fundamental part of daily modern life, there’s nothing bad about that.
4. Make Some Pocket Money
If you’re not a professional writer, pocket money is probably all you’ll ever want to earn from your words. But if you’ve got a knack for it and just had a great dinner at a new restaurant and written about it for your daily pages, then isn’t it better to have a shot at getting that review published instead of letting the piece do absolutely nothing?
These days, it’s easy to submit to many publications without spending considerable time and money doing so. While you’re unlikely to get too many bites without a good track record as a writer, it’s certainly easy enough to be worth the effort, and your wallet will be pleased.
5. Turn the Noise Off
Get away from the constant low-quality input and output systems of day-to-day life, such as meaningless small-talk and weather conversations, text messaging, Twitter, checking the mailbox, and most email and many websites. You receive and create barrages of useless distractions that don’t help you or the people you know; sitting down to write lets you get away from it all.
It’s important to keep the noise to a minimum so you can focus on creating and receiving strong material, things that are really worth reading and writing.
6. Enhance Your Communication Skills
Use daily writing to enhance your communication skills. In this culture, communication is so often hampered because we don’t know how to express ourselves, whether it be verbal or written. Writing regularly can hone the skill of self-expression, something that is useful in written communications such as email, and that can translate into improved verbal communication.
If you have trouble communicating what you want or asking tough questions, regular writing will give you a mind for structuring words quickly to achieve the desired affect in a diplomatic way.
7. Know What You Want
Part of the reason so many people do not get what they want in life is because they do not know what they want from it. Certainly not the main reason that people don’t get what they want, but in so many cases it is the obstacle. How can you get what you want or achieve your dreams if you’re not 100% clear on what they are?
Writing each day gives you time to think carefully and reflect on what you want to achieve the most, and develop a clearer, achievable image and plan for that result.
8. Develop Your Analytical Skills
Writing regularly develops your analytical and rational skills. Working through your problems with a piece of paper encourages you to think things through clearly, in both linear (sequential) and non-linear (creative) ways. The best solutions come from a mix of both logical and creative thinking.
Many people tend to panic and react emotionally to their problems, but if you’re used to solving them by processing each component of the problem in writing, you’ll develop a better approach and skillset. You’ll at least pause to think through the situation before hitting the panic button next time something comes up!
9. Get Away from Technology
In #5 we talked about turning the noise off for a while, which comes from all sorts of sources – not just tech-related sources. But another problem of ours is our dependence on technology, and it seems that everything that can be done on a computer, is done on a computer.
If you opt to use a pen and paper instead of a computer, you give yourself valuable time away from technology to gather your thoughts without constant, meaningless interruptions and distractions. But more importantly, you give yourself time with the tactile and real.
10. Meet Yourself All Over Again
In a fast-paced society it’s easy to forget things like what you believe in and what you’re doing this (whatever this may be) for. Letting words flow out of your brain unedited can introduce you to a part of yourself you’d been censoring from yourself to cope with everyday life. Why did you start down the path you’re currently on? This is an important question whether you consider your current path to have begun on the weekend, or a decade ago.
Discontentment, disillusionment, and unhappiness often come from forgetting why we’re doing something (or, on a different track, not having a good reason for living a certain way) and it is important to keep those simple reasons at the forefront of your mind or you run the risk of letting your life become a series of boring, menial actions.
It’s not only important to remind yourself of your motives for your current actions; it’s important to monitor your actions to see if they align with your life goals so that you can change them. Sometimes, the only way to keep such a close monitor on your actions and goals is to write about them every day.