Writing is hard. Anyone who says otherwise is either blindly confident or has never tried. There are a plethora of benefits to writing, regardless of whether you consider yourself a writer. Going through the writing process stands to benefit not only the writing itself, but other facets of life as well.
The only way out of your thoughts is through them.
This is one of the benefits of meditation as well. Allowing your thoughts to flow through you underpins many of the methods of mindfulness. And it makes sense—have you ever tried to make yourself stop thinking of something? At best, you’ve got a momentary distraction. At worst, you’re building pressure and internal tension.
A benefit of writing your thoughts is freeing them from the confines of your mind. Once your thoughts are on paper, you’ve tethered them to reality. But this reality can be burned or shelved away, which is freeing. Ruminating thoughts have plagued me throughout my life, and writing is one of few effective ways I’ve learned to deal with them.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to verbalizing thoughts.
Have you ever been in the middle of writing a pitch or work email and gotten stuck because you didn’t know how to say something? Or gotten in an argument knowing you were right but not how to explain why? Thoughts aren’t linear, nor are they simple. I can’t tell you how to verbalize your thoughts, but I can say that the more you practice it, the better at it you’ll be at it.
No matter how brilliant an idea you have, if you can’t explain it, you can’t sell it. And if you can’t sell, no one will buy it. This applies whether your end goal is profit or just mutual understanding.
Reading your own writing allows you to reflect on your logic.
My journals from my early teen years are absolutely cringe-worthy reading now. Even reading my more recent journals is an exercise in self-awareness. Being able to see how I react in situations without actually being in them gives me a rare opportunity to observe my own thought processes. Like a mirror for my mind. And if I don’t like the way my thoughts are looking, then I can work to improve them! Often, I go to my therapist with my findings and we work through them together.
Sharing your writing improves your writing.
Even imagining that other people are reading my writing (such as my personal journals) makes me choose my words carefully. It’s a skill to be able to articulate thoughts in a clear and concise manner, and there’s no better way to improve your skill than practicing it and unleashing it to the world. Even though I can count on one hand the number of people that read my blog, writing it has made my writing better. And even if no one ever reads this blog, my professional writing improves with each post.