Each time someone mentions the word “writer,” we almost always imagine a quirky recluse, hunched over a desk in some cabin, with mounds of crumpled paper strewn about, obsessively working on the next great piece of work.
And yet, for someone given to drawing doodles and scribbling in the notebooks as a child, writing has always been much more than that. It has been and continues to be, a source of joy and freedom, one that has taken me on a flight of fantasy, away from the everyday banal reality of life. Over time, this habit of drawing and doodling took the shape of diary logs and short poems when an uncle who was visiting us one summer decided to gift me a red and brown diary, as a birthday gift. The diary was accepted with absolute delight, and found its’ pride of place amongst my treasured possessions. It became a safe place for all my sketches and stories. I had just discovered a way of documenting the important events in my uneventful life. Diary writing continued throughout school and college years and somewhere along the way, I discovered writing or should I say, writing discovered me!
I’ve written for pleasure and in pain, to explain myself or chide, when things went awry. Wherever I went, my dairy followed me. In fact, I’ve always thought of writing as an extension of my thoughts, an essential aspect of the person that I am and who I aspire to be, as an individual. I’ve written often and almost every day, through good days and bad ones, through the passing phases of life, through little wins and heartbreaks and failures alike. I’ve always believed in one thing – Writing is ‘thought’ put to page, whether it is an email or a note, a story, an essay or poetry. By virtue of this definition, everyone who writes is a writer — even if we are not all equally imbued with the art to spin beautiful prose.
I recall reading with surprise how there have been many successful people in the world who happen to be writing in private, away from the public eye. If Bill Gates has been known to write as a way to sit down and re-evaluate his thoughts during the day, Warren Buffet has used writing as a key way of refining his thoughts. Writing, for them, became another tool for thinking, expression, and encouraging creativity.
But, is writing just that and nothing more?
And why should everyone write? Why should those who don’t consider themselves writers even bother with trying to make writing a regular habit?
Writing can be a very solitary activity which many apparently find boring. But, for those who write, this can be an incredibly liberating experience and a very useful outlet, irrespective of whether we consider ourselves as writers or not. I have never really thought of any concrete goals or reasons when I started to write initially. Well, nothing apart from the obvious love of writing; the love of coining words and documenting experiences and curating passing thoughts and memories, as many do!
If you ask me now, I’d say that the reasons to write have been many. Today, when I write, I find it helps me purge my everyday mundane worries and puts things into perspective. Writing takes me on breath-taking adventures, the likes of which reality’s limitations don’t allow me to experience. And, let me tell you honestly, I am no writer. I have miles to go on that road before I can call myself one. And, yet, I write. So, what does writing really do for the likes of us-lesser mortals who love to write?
A lot really, trust me. It has a whole range of benefits that makes people, including well-known public figures and business leaders keep daily journals.
- The act of writing helps us clarify things to ourselves, think through situations and events that have happened in the past and help us to communicate better.
- Writing about things that bother us helps to de-stress and unburden the things that are weighing on our mind, and allow brainstorming to lead to solutions.
- Writing helps give vent to pent-up anger by releasing it harmlessly into the world and pulling our emotional state back to a good baseline.
- The act of releasing those innermost thoughts is cathartic and ensures us a good night’s sleep.
- Writing in a gratitude journal about the good things in life makes us happy and count our blessings for things that we often take for granted.
- Writing is akin to meditation when we permit ourselves to follow the stream of consciousness method by letting our words flow unhindered from the mind straight onto paper or the computer.
- Writing about achieving future goals and dreams can make us happier and healthier.
- Regular writing helps flesh out our thoughts in the mind, without that constant ‘tip of the tongue’ feeling that can sap away our confidence when we speak.
- A very important part of dealing with trauma is writing about it. Writing can be a very powerful way to come to terms with what happened, accepting the outcome and has been scientifically proven to help in the healing process.
- As a thinking exercise, writing, like physical exercise, can help the mind from getting ‘rusted’ and instead keep us “in shape” as we age.
- Writing helps us focus on the most important things by closing all the unnecessary ‘mental tabs’ of juggling too many thoughts at the same time.
The list is merely indicative of how wide-ranging the benefits of writing promises to be. So, whether it is a simple note or a laborious work of fiction, it does not really matter what we write, just as long as we are writing.
For those of us who write regularly, writing also gives us a voice to reach out to the world, to express our thoughts and beliefs and in the process, makes us feel brave, strong and empowered. The writing group I belong to, has people from varying backgrounds and cultures, varying beliefs and ideologies-what binds us together is the fact that we all write -Writing makes us aware of our thoughts, helps us to focus and to regenerate ideas. It is fascinating and taxing at times, mercurial and effervescent even; often a pain and a pleasure and a bit like a trusted confidante or a jealous lover at another.
For those who wish to write but hesitate, let me tell you, there is never a better time to start writing than now. You’re never more alive and free than when you yield to the power of the words and let them flow. In the words of Virginia Woolf:
Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
(Linking this with #WritingWednesday hosted by Write Tribe.)
You have described the benefits of writing in such an elaborate manner.. so true..every point mentioned.. i have been keeping diaries to vent out anger and inner turmoil So many times.. to sort my thoughts out in the paper when thinking didn’t help much.. I have kept track of all the memorable events and happening in my journal s..
Writing is indeed a therapy and a silent meditation for me.. by best source of calm..
Thanks Pratikshya. I feel very strongly about writing, and having reaped the benefits of this wonderful feeling that comes after I write something, I felt I had to share it with those who wish to write but can’t muster enough courage to do so. you’re absolutely right about writing being a therapy and a meditation. It makes me connect better with the inner soul within me. I feel at my happiest when I connect with myself and simultaneously, reach out to scores of people. What a dual benefit, no?
I love your writing and I completely understand what everyone in the comments is saying about how it’s so calming! You managed to take me back to the memory of when I first started writing myself, so thank you for that 🙂
This read was almost like a meditation, Esha. Soothing and brilliant. Writing for me is thinking aloud. And since I think a lot, I like writing naturally. That doesn’t mean I consider myself as a writer. I like your way of writing, Esha. It is powerful and thought provoking always. Your voice definitely stands out. 🙂
Thank you so much Vinitha! You know when I started to write it was because I wanted to reach out and speak out my thoughts on different issues. It took me time to take to writing on a regular basis on the blog. I struggle to take the time out to do so on most days as I run the entire household almost single-handedly! Your faith I my writing makes me happy because some days I feel unsure about many things. This validation means a lot to me. Thanks again for stopping by at Soul Talk!
This is such an evocative post, Esha. I had written a post on similar lnes a few days back, but it was more about my insecurities than about why I love writing. Your account was extensive and immensely enjoyable. Also, loved the new look of your blog 🙂
Thank you so much, Maliny 🙂 Glad this spoke to you. I’d love to read your post on this topic…please do send me the link if possible! Still experimenting with my blog so keep trying new things 🙂
I think you captured the essence of writing perfectly. Even when I think I am too busy to write, I find myself making lists and notes on sticky pads, and this in itself is writing. Sometimes I may feel that since I am not an accomplished author or famous writer it is not worth my time to write, but your post reinforces that this is a fallacy. Anyone can write! Thank you for the inspirational words, and the impetus to craft a new blog post ^^
Thank you so much, Kei! I am so glad you think this will encourage you to write. If even one person can feel that way, I know I would have accomplished my task because my whole point was to emphasise the fact that we all need to write because it does us a whole lot of good in so many ways and each time we stop ourselves from expressing our thoughts in writing, we are doing so much injustice to ourselves. Writing is not a reserve of the so-called accomplished writers, we own it as much as anybody else, even if we simply make lists or write in sticky pads, so please go ahead and write your heart out Kei! There are many like you, self included, who need that boost from time to time.
Love the way you words finds expression in writing right from the diary to your beautiful journey. I’ve got a diary since the past six years and it’s not even half full, need to write more, though this year been more regularly. This post is so beautiful and engaging like the first chapter in a book. Superb read, Esha:)
Thank you so much Vishal, meant a lot to me to know my words made an impact in someone! Honestly, I wrote that post at one go yesterday through work and daily chores, picking up my son from the bus stop and through my daily chores. I finally finished quite late around midnight only to realise it was way too long, so I cut the second half of it to make it a follow-up post! Glad to see you stop by at Soul Talk 🙂
Your words always make an impact. WoW! I am in awe and how you manage to write in between. That’s awesome. Makes me wondering whether my next fiction as a tribute to double roles can be divided into two or three parts. Your take?!
Oh thanks Vishal! So awfully kind of you to say so!
As for the idea to split the fiction piece into 3 parts, well, I’d say go ahead and do it because you know what works best for you! I think building the structure and then splitting it into 3 equal parts will work fabulously! Can’t wait to read it Vishal!😊
I find writing a tool to distance myself from the challenge I’m facing. It helps me make sense if what’s happening within me 🙂
A lovely post Esha .
Happy weekend! Happy writing!
Thank you so much Gayatri!Wow, so good to know how writing comes to your aid to help you ‘see’ things more clearly! Wishing you a very productive week ahead. Happy writing to you as well. Thanks a lot for stopping by at Soul Talk 🙂
I read your post with great delight ! Its funny how one never really questions Why ? Why so we write ? In your inimitable way you have so beautifully captured the essence of writing for a reason !
We write to be fully alive. It draws us into the moment ! To smell the fragrance of the just bloomed ginger lily , to hear the chirping of the sunbirds on the Japanese umbrella , to watch the squirrels dart across the yard , to walk on the dew drenched grass or sit on the deck sipping Jasmine tea !
Writing helps us make art out of these seemingly inconsequential moments.
It helps us discover meaning .
Writing helps us to turn the tide .
Write on my dear friend …. You have that magic !
Thank you so so much for your wonderful words of encouragement and inspiration, Aru’di! You are so expressive in the way you coin those words and how you bring a concept alive to your readers. Writing allows one that luxury to be so much more at the same time and yet, maintain one’s uniqueness as a writer, isn’t it? I absolutely agree of how the moment and the places come alive through those beautiful imageries…I’m trying to get there…how far I have reached time alone will tell. But with you cheering me up, half the battle is already won!
Thanks for being there always. Btw almost time to read one of your posts now…been a while since your last one, right? 🙂
Awwww Esha … I think you are brilliant ! You fluidity with the written word is sheer poetry ! Thank you too for being the inspiration I so often need ! Another post ? Must start soon !
Typos please excuse
Thank you..thank you…just made my day! Hausla afzai ke liye shukriya! Waiting eagerly for the new post! 🙂