This article was published on: 29/4/2011
Next month it will be a year since I began writing my blog. This hasn’t been easy as I find the process of writing very taxing, as do many, so I’m proud of the accomplishment. Over the course of the year I’m reliably informed by friends that my writing has improved a great deal. This is good to hear because, as we all know, when change happens gradually it can be hard to notice. In reflection I think the catalyst for improvement was the realisation that I was trying too hard to be something when writing. Finding a truer voice has been my greatest discovery throughout the past year. I know it was a significant realisation because the truer and closer to my heart I have written the more my articles have resonated with people. The purpose of this article is therefore a bit of a sales pitch if you haven’t dabbled into writing for a while. Even to those whom I’m preaching to that are already converted (AltDevBlogADay contributors I’m talking to you) hopefully it may give you some insight as to why you may be feeling good about yourself!
Creative people often suffer from very chaotic minds. The benefit to this wild storm of synaptic activity is its capacity to deliver unique and innovative thought. The problem however can come in marshalling these thoughts in a coherent way that is meaningful to others. The struggle comes from the fact that ideas are often born from many random sources that are hard to thread together into an explanation. Writing is one of the most effective remedies for this problem as it is forces you to structure your thoughts. In fact for this reason the process can be extremely therapeutic because it brings order to chaos. So somewhat paradoxically, as creative but simultaneously logical beings, this pleases us, aren’t humans messed up! So without further ado here is a list as to why writing can benefit us all:
- Writing requires focus on a particular topic – to the mind that is used to sporadically and wildly swirling around, providing a focal point can help redirect this energy akin to a whirlwind touching down on the ground. I liken this process to laying down markers which you can return to when lost. If at intervals you’ve concluded and laid down structure to your thoughts on a topic they are easier to return to and muster when required.
- You’re communicating to others – life has a lot to do with connection. It’s very special to do something which reinforces an existing relationship or establishes a new one. Writing allows you to do this by saying something which resonates with another person. That shared realisation and unity of thought for that brief moment creates a bond that never leaves us. There is nothing more pleasurable than the expansion of the human experience through another, writing is a fantastic conduit to achieve this.
- Writing requires you to compose your thoughts so that they’re meaningful to others – this act of composition brings you closer to your reader because you’ve had to consider them. What’s created is a mutual appreciation of each other’s existence. This is a tremendously potent force when properly realised. Any great expression of art is beautiful for this reason.
- In a world full of sound bites, headlines, status updates and 140 character limits sometimes it’s good to say a little more – there is a lot to be said for conclusive thought but done exclusively there comes the danger of a loss of depth. Expanding upon your thoughts through writing can add richness to your message and with it less chance of misinterpretation. Context is important to deliver meaning behind what you want to say, otherwise it’s just noise.
- It keeps you honest – having a record of what you’ve said prevents contradiction and hypocrisy. Thankfully just the very act of writing helps to solidify your thoughts anyway. This means you’re less likely to confuse others with mixed opinions and more able to give a purer, truer account of yourself. Being held accountable to your words is very healthy because it ensures more careful consideration of what you say in the first place.
So that is my pitch as to why you should put pen to paper and/or finger to keyboard. The fulfilment from connecting with others through writing is something I’ve found not many things can compete with. Any time you write something meaningful to others a positive ripple is sent speeding through our collective consciousness. The energy you expel tends to return to you in multiples creating a positive compound effect that makes the whole exercise very worthwhile. I look forward to reading what you have to say.