For some people, writing is second nature. Writing is their form of expression – it’s how they let go of stress.
For other people, it takes a bit of time to discover the thrill associated with writing. They have to work a little harder, but once they overcome the initial hill, they truly experience the joys of being a writer.
Whether you’re a professional writer or just looking to start a new hobby, writing can be beneficial in countless ways. Here’s exactly why you should write, and some tips for getting started.
Why Start Writing?
Surely you’ve experienced a day when something bothered you, and you needed to vent. If this happens and nobody is around, writing can act as a de-stressor. Keeping a journal in your desk for these occasions can help get those negative feelings out of your system. Spend five minutes jotting down the things that are bothering you.
Writing can also be meditative and relaxing. From writing letters to jotting down thoughts, you can escape from the rest of the world and get lost in the words on the page. Spending time to reflect allows you to collect your thoughts and focus on the important things in your life, rather than the little things that can drive you nuts.
Writing can make you much more empathetic, especially if you delve into fiction writing. As you’re exploring your characters’ worlds and essentially telling the story through their eyes, you have to understand why they do what they do while making it clear to the readers. Understanding the characters gives you a better understanding of people in general. As you create characters who are unlike yourself, you’re forced to think about the actions that motivate them.
How Can I Start?
Just like any other skill, writing takes time, energy and practice. But don’t let that stop you — once you start, it can be addictive. To quote the esteemed Ernest Hemingway: “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it.”
Many people say the hardest part of writing is getting started. Here are a few tips to help you begin:
- Write every day. It’s not always easy to find the time to write every day, but all it takes is about 15 minutes to jot down notes in a journal. A few minutes is better than nothing. Diligence plays a key role in writing, and having the willpower to keep at it will pay off.
- Do some warm-up exercises. It seems silly at first, but it can make a huge difference. Spend 10 minutes free writing, or writing whatever comes to mind. Getting any distracting thoughts out of the way will help you focus on what you really want to write about.
- Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for yourself. For example, start out by telling yourself you’ll write 200 words a day — this can be a stream-of-conscious exercise or a flash-fiction story. Eventually, increase the word count to 500, then 750, and then 1000. Progress at your own pace, but try to challenge yourself.
- Keep a journal or blog. This can help motivate you to write every day. Check out some free blogging sites to find places to publish your writing. If you’d prefer to keep your words private, buy a journal at your local book store and write in it when you feel most creative. Some people write better in the morning, whiles others experience their peak creativity late at night.
- Check out the Internet. There are many resources available to help stir your creative juices. A popular option is the 100 theme challenge, where you have to create a story, poem or essay based off a single word or phrase. Such challenges are particularly liberating because they allow you to go in whatever direction you want without much restriction. However, it can be hard to start with an activity like this if you’re just starting out.
Additional Words of Wisdom
Some days will be easier for you to write than others. Depending on your work schedule, personal life or additional hobbies, you might have a waning and waxing period for your creativity – but stick with it!
The most important thing to remember is this: You are writing for yourself first.
Even the most acclaimed authors began writing to fulfill their own desires. They were not immediately writing for their potential readers.
Allow yourself the freedom to write whatever you want to write. If you enjoy fantasy stories, then write for that setting. If nonfiction is your preference, go with it. Don’t let other people’s opinions dictate what you write — after all, they’re your words. Do what makes you happy.
Writing can be a truly liberating experience. Whether you’re typing on a computer or scribbling in your journal, you are blocking out the rest of the world for a period of time and escaping to your own zone.
All you have to do is take the first step — grab a pen and paper and just write.