|Typewriter by munhitsu, Flickr|
Writing is a pretty simple concept yet kind of amazing at the same time. Here's why I keep coming back to it and why you should too:
1. It makes me think. Ever wonder why you had to take those composition classes in college even though you were a computer science major? This is why. When we write, we learn. Suddenly, new thoughts come into our head when we start committing ideas to paper. Regardless of your chosen profession, the world needs more people who can understand complex problems and formulate complex solutions, and writing is an excellent way to develop those skills.
2. It helps me learn. If I'm writing, I often have to research something and discover something new and interesting.
3. It makes me take a stance on things. It's a cop out to go through life saying, "Everyone's entitled to their opinions," and "I don't know." It's safe and easy and boring, and frankly, it doesn't help anybody come up with real answers to real problems. Have some conviction already.
4. It makes me remember things. Thinking is one thing; committing something to long-term memory is another. Writing creates more memorable experiences just by committing those experiences to paper. Also, more simply, writing something down like a grocery list is far more reliable than my memory.
5. It's a good outlet. I find that talking about my problems usually doesn't make me feel better. It often makes me feel worse. Writing is a nice alternative, and it has the side effect of helping me better understand my feelings and what's causing them.
6. It helps me notice patterns. Again, having the record of experiences is different than relying solely on memory. I remember reading a journal entry I wrote a couple years ago that described feeling unhappy because I was living for others, not being myself, and only doing what was expected of me. As I was reading it, I remembered that this was exactly how I started my first journal when I was about 17 or 18. It's not to say that I haven't made any progress on that front, but keeping a journal helped me to see that thinking about how others perceive me is a continual battle.
7. It calms me. It's a focused activity, so the thousands of thoughts running through my head have to be quiet for a while. Additionally, because it requires some effort, it leaves me with less pent-up energy.
8. It's cheap! Hey, why not? Hobbies can require costly supplies that not only add up monetarily but also contribute to clutter. Whether you're keeping a journal or writing a novel, the supplies are minimal--something to write with and write on and perhaps a couple books to use as inspiration or reference.