The Benefits of Writing

Every blog I’ve ever started (or rebooted, like this one) has included a post like this. It’s the most important topic I can write about. More important than how work makes me feel. More important than how college was a waste of my money and I want to return my degree. And more important than developing a sense of loyalty to myself.

The most important topic I can write about is writing.

I find that once I’ve been writing regularly, even if it’s been such a brief time since I restarted, things happen. To me. To my life. They start off small–either inconsequential or in a low quantity–but I’ve learned that if I keep writing, and keep putting my heart/mind out there, change will come in a magnificent way.

I write this post every time I try my hand at blogging not as a way to share it with the world–none of the posts I write on a personal blog have the goal of getting others to see it (that’s what my pro wrestling blog is supposed to be for)–but as a reminder to myself. This post is my reminder that writing is my endgame. Writing is the single most important habit I can forge, because when I write with regularity, everything else begins to take shape.

So what are the benefits of writing?

I feel more creative. Even over the past week, the posts I’ve written and the notes I’ve jotted down have had a great increase in quality. I hate going back and reading my writing–even stuff less than a day old–but I love the act of writing so much, that I go back and look and notice that the difference is obvious. The more I write, the more unique I feel my writing is, and the more I’m willing to write about something out of the ordinary.

I feel more ambitious. Not only are my posts on this blog getting more creative (little by little), I’m regaining the urge to find other homes for things I want to write. Maybe I could write guest posts on other blogs. Or pitch article ideas to websites that accept freelancer work. Or maybe I’ll just create new blogs based around certain themes. Nothing is grabbing me yet, but I’m getting there. I can feel it.

I get an urge to collaborate. Let’s work together! Or not. Or maybe. When I write a lot, I always get a desire to work with other people. Maybe in a writing project. Or a podcast. Or a video series. Or something more unique, I’m not picky. This is another one where I’m still in the very early stages, but I’m on the route to massive change.

I read more. In his book On Writing (which is fantastic, even if you don’t write), Stephen King wrote: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” I can’t claim to be a big fan of reading. I’ve quit as many books as I’ve finished. But when I focus on writing first, I find the reading comes naturally. And it’s always different than when I try to force reading. When I decide “I’m going to read more”, it’s usually fantasy/sci-fi, history, or philosophy. The reading that stems from writing is most focused on self-help, essays, and general non-fiction.

I begin to change my habits. In this current period of regular writing, I’ve been drinking less soda. I’ve been using the stairs more than I have the escalators. And I’ve been getting to sleep earlier. And it feels great! I’m sure psychologists could break it down and find that writing trigger some sort of hormone that makes me more active. I don’t know much about that, though. What I know is what I feel and what I experience. And I’ve experienced writing leading to healthier life choices.

I write more. Obvious, right? But it’s not even the fact that I’m now writing every day, instead of every week or twice a month. My posts get longer. And I’ll eventually start writing about more diverse things. And at some point, I’ll probably start writing 2 or 3 times a day, most days. It always happens when I stick with it.

Ideas come to me. Good ideas are hard to come by. Hell, even bad ideas are hard to come by. But the act of writing forces me to think of new things to write about, which forces me to find the best ways to write about those things. And ultimately, everything comes down to ideas. Ideas fuel the world–without them, there’s nothing.

I feel happierAnd that’s the best benefit of all.