Many of us are used to picturing a shabby shack, a mess, crumpled sheets of paper scattered chaotically on the floor, a strange hermit bent over his desk, working selflessly on the next great novel.
In reality, “writer” and “writing” have a broader meaning. Writing means putting thoughts on paper, and that makes writers of us all, even if we don’t have the gift of writing.
Bloggers are not exaggerating when they talk about the benefits of being able to materialize their thoughts on paper. This is confirmed by many successful people, who once again emphasize the great importance of taking personal notes.
For example, Warren Buffett (Warren Edward Buffett – American entrepreneur, the world’s largest, and one of the most famous investors) said that writing is the main way to improve his thoughts.
And Richard Branson (Richard Charles Nicholas Branson – British entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group Corporation), once said: “My most important possession is a standard-sized school notebook. He uses it as a diary.
In all these cases, writing is a way of reflection, self-expression, and maintaining creativity; it has nothing to do with the “novelist’s squalid abode.
The question arises: should writing become a habit for people who are not professional copywriters?
In fact, taking notes can be useful to many. How, exactly? Let’s turn our attention to a number of interesting studies.
Writing makes us happier
There is quite a bit of literature describing how you benefit when you express your thoughts and feelings on paper (or in a word processor). For example, research shows that writing down your life goals is very helpful for effective self-motivation.
Blogging as a form of self-expression also has a certain therapeutic effect. Putting thoughts in writing helps to improve mood, well-being and stress tolerance if done regularly.
Research also suggests that describing dreams and plans for the future can make people happier and improve health. There is also plenty of evidence that keeping a gratitude journal helps us notice more positives in life.
Despite this, many people still do not practice keeping a personal journal. Why not? Most likely because they don’t fully understand the importance of the process. So below we will look at the other positive aspects of writing, how it can affect your life and where to start.
Writing develops the ability to express your thoughts clearly
An inadequate vocabulary causes one to have difficulty expressing feelings and thoughts, communicating with others in general, and building persuasive speech in particular.
Sometimes you get the feeling that the thoughts in your head are on the tip of your tongue, but when you begin to speak, there are not enough words to express them clearly. This creates an unflattering opinion of you in others. Avoiding this situation is helped by regular writing practice.
Expressing your thoughts in writing is very important for both the humanities and the exact sciences, because it contributes to the effective explanation of rather complex terms and definitions.
Writing down your thoughts on paper allows you to analyze the correctness of your presentation, to choose the most appropriate words and to build the most successful versions of sentences from them. In other words, writing organizes thoughts and teaches how to express them clearly.
Does writing help with stress?
Determining how describing problematic situations affects their resolution is not an easy task. On the one hand, the results of some experiments show that describing difficulties has little effect on people with a stable psyche, which means that there is no point in talking about its usefulness from this point of view.
On the other hand, there are a number of studies confirming the importance of describing stressful situations for comprehending them and finding a way out of their circumstances.
One interesting study involving a group of engineers who had recently lost their jobs found that participants who regularly kept diary entries about what happened were able to find another job faster than the rest of the group.
For example, engineers who described their thoughts and feelings about being laid off felt less hostility toward their former employers. They were also less likely to try to solve their problems with alcohol. Eight months after the study, about 19% of the engineers in the control groups had been reinstated, representing more than 52% of the participants in the “writing” group.
In the initial phase of the study, putting their problem on paper led participants to become even more depressed. This continued for the first six months, until the emotions began to subside.
Thus, for the positive impact of writing on problematic situations, time is crucial. The process must be voluntary.
Writing helps keep the mind alert
Writing is exercise for the mind, which means, like physical activity, it can help keep you toned at any age.
Although research in this area is only concerned with the handwritten form, the printed form has a similar effect.
Just as friendship makes you happy and healthy through social interaction and communication, so writing has its effect, forcing one to constantly reflect and keep one’s mental faculties in order.
Writing shapes positive attitudes
Concentrating on positive events leads to positive attitudes.
A study was also conducted on this subject, which found that participants who wrote down pleasant experiences once a week began to have a more positive attitude toward the present and had better motivation for the future.
At the same time, if such records were taken daily, the effect was reduced. This is due to the fact that thinking too much and too often about positive events and trying to find them in each passing day can become insincere, and events can become fictitious.
But it’s still helpful to write about the good times in your life, because it helps you understand what makes you happy.
Writing relieves the brain
Imagine that you have too many tabs open while working in the browser. It’s distracting, it prevents you from concentrating. Something similar happens in your brain when you try to hold too many thoughts at once.
With writing, thoughts materialize, you free your brain of the information you need to remember.
You don’t have to worry about forgetting anything important if your thoughts and ideas are written down. To continue working with them, all you have to do is retrieve everything in your memory with the notes you took earlier.
Why you should write daily.
How writing helps:
- Writing helps trace the movements of the soul and thoughts. This is extremely important because we do a lot of things on automatic, without thinking, and in this regard, writing helps to reveal the impact of such actions on us.
- Writing structures your thinking. Thoughts, feelings, emotions flare up in us spontaneously and sometimes unbeknownst to us, but through writing we crystallize those thoughts and build them into a logical sequence.
- Writing improves your skill with words, syllable, and style.
- Writing for an audience (even when it consists of one person) helps you think from their perspective. And then the magic begins, because once you catch the “wave” of the reader, you begin to better understand the people around you, your colleagues and friends. You develop an understanding of the world and people.
- The skill of persuasive writing teaches you how to influence other people’s thinking. If you attack a person’s point of view, they get even more entrenched, but in writing you rarely attack. You can convince them of the rationality of your judgments, and then they will follow you.
- Everyday writing forces you to look for new ideas (you don’t plan to write about the same thing forever, do you?), and it pushes you to one very important question: “Where do you get those ideas?” Ideas are everywhere! In the people you talk to, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, movies, music, books. When you start writing all the time, your eyes become open to them.
- If you put your creations online, you will soon have an audience interested in what you want to share with them. It helps in business, in career development, and brings new acquaintances.
- And that’s just the beginning. The benefit of writing, ironically, is not what you’ll write, but what you’ll experience that you’ll want to describe.
How to write every day.
There are many ways to get to daily writing, but I recommend what I’ve experienced firsthand:
- Start writing daily. Most people write a few times a week, or even less. But if you keep at it, it will never become your habit. Promise yourself, “I will write every day. No exceptions.” And literally follow that promise.
- Make the time. This is extremely important. You won’t succeed if you only write “when you can.” I suggest you write in the morning, right after you wake up, before the morning flow of thoughts between sleep and reality runs out. However, if you’re a “night owl,” you’re better off writing late at night while you’re still not too tired.
- Start small. Yes, I’m saying it again, but this is the most important point. All you have to do is START writing every day. You don’t have to write a thousand words or a certain number of pages. Start, and stop when you want to stop. Whether it’s a page or four pages, it doesn’t really matter.
- Create a blog. You can write a diary or type on a notebook for yourself, but I highly recommend blogging. Sign up for a free account, create a website and start writing. Why blog specifically? It forces you to write daily, introduces you to new people and broadens your horizons. Yes, it’s scary to let strangers read your thoughts, but you have to try. Soon, when you find your reader, you’ll enjoy it.
- Get rid of distractions. The writer is the best friend of idleness. He often feels that mighty call to get distracted and watch TV or surf the Internet. So turn off anything that gets in the way of your writing, close all tabs, turn off the phone, the TV, the kids, and write.