I think too many people nowadays underestimate the value of writing. In today’s world, we’re more concerned with consuming information and we forget to actually create something out of it.
I’ve been writing a daily newsletter for about two years now and if my conservative math is correct I’ve written over one thousand newsletters in those two years. I have recently started posting daily on Facebook and have started posting my best content on Medium, too.
I have always found enjoyment in writing just for the sake of it. I find it relaxing and I have kept a notebook near me so I can write down notes since I was only 12 years old, though I have only kept the notebooks I have written in since I was about 17 years old which is a huge mistake on my part.
Even if you don’t enjoy writing I would advise you to start because it has a lot of benefits that have been proved by research and science. In this post, I want to show you what the benefits of writing can be and how you could do it even if you don’t enjoy writing.
Some of the benefits of writing:
1. You will communicate better and with more clarity. Unlike with talking, when you write you look for more complex words, phrases and expressions to describe what you’re thinking about. This helps you build a structure and trains your rhetoric which will allow you to express yourself better and communicate complex ideas in a much more effective way.
2. You will eliminate stress. In order to eliminate the stress that causes having many things hitting your head constantly, writing and developing your ideas produces an amplified effect since not only you take them out of your mind but also the whole process of rationalization that otherwise would abstractly stay in there.
3. Your productivity will sky-rocket. The act of writing triggers certain neurons in your brain and gets it ready to overcome the rest of the tasks you have for the day. In addition, writing down your tasks with the appropriate words prepares you to tackle them properly. Finally, research has found that setting your goals in writing increases significantly the possibilities of achieving them.
4. You will learn more. Writing in your own words the information that you receive will help you in assimilating and structuring the knowledge that otherwise, you would forget soon.
5. You will become aware of your reality. You don’t need a therapist to clarify to you who you are if you write down what you have in mind every day You’re going to realize that yourself.
6. It stimulates thinking. The act of writing stimulates thought so even when you cannot think of anything to write about, just start writing anything that comes to mind.
7. You will make better decisions. When you write, you clear up your thoughts and, obviously, clearer thinking allows you to make better choices.
8. You will be happier. It’s an immediate consequence of the two previous points. There is no need to write a public blog, a sort of personal journal is perfectly valid.
9. You will be way more focused on your goals. If you constantly write about your thoughts and your goals you will never get out of sight what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it.
10. You will have a lot of written memories. If you write each day, you will have a historical record of your thoughts, goals, achievements, books you’ve read, etc. This is probably something much more interesting than a simple photo album. And, who knows, maybe you end up publishing a book.
So how do you start writing more even if you don’t know how or have no interest in being an author?
In the book “Accidental Genius” Mark Levy proposed the idea of something he called “Freewriting”. A process for writing that has no rules at all and no limitations. No punctuation and no grammar rules. You just sit down and start writing whatever comes to your mind.
In fact, in the book Mark Levy suggests some rules for freewriting, the ones that caught my attention were these:
Rule #1 — Lower your expectations. Freewriting is about laying your thoughts on paper without having any limitations or rules on how you should do it. Don’t worry about the right punctuation, the right grammar or the right formatting to the text you’re writing. Just start writing.
Rule #2 — Write fast and fluidly. During your “freewriting session” your only goal is to write. Quantity matters more than quality here. If you plan on doing anything with the information you write down you can always improve the structure, grammar, punctuation, and formatting later. The goal here is to capture every single thought while it’s still fresh in your mind.
Rule #3 — Set a time limit. This achieves a couple of things. First off, in the beginning, the habit of writing every day will probably be hard to implement. By setting a short time limit you will reduce the resistance you feel towards doing the habit itself. Start off by writing for just 5 minutes a day and if you enjoy it you can always increase it. Secondly, setting a time limit will help you move faster while you write. When you know you have a deadline you will want to write more during that time window which will help you stop worrying about the structure, grammar, punctuation, and formatting.
A few tips on freewriting:
Studies have found that lying or exaggerating during your freewriting session boosts your creativity. So if you want to start writing but don’t know what to write about, just write a fictional story about yourself or write down how your day went but exaggerate everything.
An easy way to write more is to pretend that you’re having a conversation with yourself. You can ask questions and answer them while you write.
My favorite tip is this — write a letter to your past self. You can use the process of freewriting to write a letter to your past self. What would you want to teach your 10-year-old or 15-year-old self? What advice would you have given him/her if you could? Write it down.
Writing literally whatever can be very beneficial for your creativity, social life, and mental health. Just start writing and I promise, one day your future self will thank you for it when he/she is able to just read and look back at what you’ve gone through and how much stronger you’ve gotten or how much progress you’ve made in life.
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this article, would mean a lot to me.