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How to Develop a Daily Writing Habit

How to Develop a Daily Writing Habit

Writing is one of the most difficult, most underrated activities that people all across the world covet. Some people write as a profession while others write because it is required of them in their schooling or career. There are even some people who write just for fun. But no matter what your reason for writing may be, developing a daily writing habit can be extremely beneficial to different areas of your life.

Usefulness

The best reason to develop writing as a daily habit is because it’s a great skill to have. Being able to coherently get your thoughts onto paper in an interesting and engaging manner is no small feat. Just ask Shakespeare. It takes a lot of practice and a ton of hard work. But once you get the hang of it, you start to see how it helps you communicate with others in an effective way.

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Here’s a few easy steps to start:

  1. Get a blank notebook. It doesn’t matter what kind. It can be a college-ruled pad or a leather bound notebook that is designed specifically for writing. The only thing that matters is whether or not there is paper for you to write on.
  2. Get a pen or pencil. It doesn’t matter what kind. Whatever you prefer. (I use a pen so that I can’t erase what I write.)
  3. Write.

It’s as simple as that. The only way to get better is to write, write, and write.

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Sense of Self

When you write daily, you develop a bigger sense of self. Even when you’re not writing about yourself, you learn about how you perceive things or what your outlook is on certain subjects. For example, you could be writing about a thought or a dream that you had, in which case, you’d learn how you take it all in and extract your feelings from it. Or you could write about World War II and learn about how you feel like those events impacted humankind since. It’s all really fascinating, to learn about yourself. After a couple of months of writing daily, you can go back and see how you were when you started. Seeing yourself grow is a fruitful experience.

It might be a good strategy to brainstorm a few ideas that you enjoy writing about first before you start writing about things that you don’t enjoy. Once you figure that out, you’ll be able to start to cultivate your way through your own skills. Another good route to take would be to look up creative writing blogs or head over to google and search subjects that you are passionate about.

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Critical Thinking

Another great reason why writing daily is beneficial is because it helps you do your job better, even if your job doesn’t call for you to write. You develop critical thinking skills that you learn through your writing and it helps you become a better talker, thinker, and doer. You also have more of a reason to want to do your job at a higher level. Once you begin to write your thoughts and feelings down, you feel compelled to write about them again the next day.

Your point of action: find out a way to write every single day about the things that you feel strongly about. It can be political, it can be personal, it can be about the economy, etc. Whatever it is, challenge yourself to have an open mind throughout the whole process. It’ll help you grow as a person. Who knows, you may even learn a lot about yourself that you never really explored prior.

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Language

The last reason that I have for you is that writing forces you to learn about the English language, whether you want to or not. You’re going to learn more words on your journey, whether it’s indirectly through contextual examples or directly from a dictionary. You start to build a tool belt of your best words, ideas, and phrases that you can use at any time. This gives you more of a chance to make a real difference with your words, not only on paper but orally as well.

A good thing to start off with would be a dictionary (which you can conveniently find an app for if need be). You can read a couple of pages of words a day if you want to or you can read a book and write down all of the words that you don’t truly know the definition of. This will help with your awareness and ability to find words that push you to do better with your writing.

Write

The number one piece of advice that professional writers will give to you is this: write. Do it every single day. In a month’s time, you’ll start to see where you are as a writer and where you’ll want to improve.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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