It’s very easy to stop writing. When you have a few weeks of a hectic schedule, hit a hard writer’s block, or have lost faith that your writing will ever “succeed” it’s easy to quit. Your frustrations and outside pressures cloud your head and sometimes it just easier to give up. You are probably thinking that I am going to tell you not to do this and that you shouldn’t let a few rough days, weeks, or months keep you from completing what you have set out to do. If that’s what you are thinking… you are right! But, I don’t want you to keep writing just so your book, novel, memoir, short story, or poem gets finished. I want you to write because it’s healthy. There are many health “fads” out there right now to help you reach your optimal physical health. There’s Crossfit, obstacle course runs (warrior dashes, mud runs), Beachbody workouts (P90X, Insanity), Shakeology, and paleo diets. What about our mental health? Our brain, soul, and mind are the most important aspect of who we are. If we aren’t in a good mental state, how can we be expected to care for our physical bodies?
I came across an article today on The Huffington Post blog that highlighted three benefits to writing. Each one of them proves that the act of writing may be one of the best things we can do for our mental health. It’s really that simple and us writers have the advantage on this one.
Writing allows you to express feelings. At the end of each day, we should all really sit down and write- even if it’s just for a few minutes. There are so many thoughts and emotions that we experience each day that we never share with anyone else. These feelings can easily bottle up inside of us and possibly one day explode. If something pissed you off that day, write about it. If something made you smile, write about it. if something reminded you of a bad memory, write about it. If you finally accomplished a lifetime goal, write about it. Expressing your emotions for yourself is one of the purest forms of therapy. There’s no one there to judge you and your thoughts can be completely uncensored. Who knows, you may even ignite inspiration for your next book. That jerk who cut you off this morning may just be your next blessing.
Writing is also an easy way to commemorate your life. If you write about your challenges, successes, obstacles, and accomplishments bit by bit your legacy will be forever preserved. You may not think that you have a whole lot to offer anyone else, but the truth is that you actually do. You have a whole lot to offer. No one else out there has lived the same life you have, but there are people out there who have had similar experiences or are going through something similar at the moment. You never know who your writing will inspire or help through a rough time. Even if it’s just one of your children or grandchildren, your writing will never see a better purpose.
Writing gets your creative juices flowing. When you sit down to write, you never know where you are going to end up. Writing about a simple trip to the grocery store could lead you to Mars having dinner with an alien family. You might discover your next story idea, a new interest you never knew you had, or it just might clear your head and leave you with a blank slate to take on the next day. The more you write, the more ideas that will filter in and out of you brain- for better or worse.
Never underestimate the power of a couple words. Write on (and don’t stop).