Darla Johnson shares five benefits writing brings to her life.
When I thought about why I write, these five reasons came to mind. Of course, I write to serve my audience, but just as much, I write to improve myself. These are five ways that writing helps make me a better person.
1. I’m a visual learner.
I remember someone explaining to me once that learners can be divided into (at least) two categories: auditory and visual learners. I immediately knew I was a visual learner.
My husband knows this about me, too. He can tell me about some event that’s on a certain date, but I won’t remember it. He knows that he has to put it in print for me to remember it. Google calendar has been such a marriage-enriching tool for us! In order for me to have better comprehension and to retain information, I need to write it down or see it in some form.
2. I’m a better communicator.
When I can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) I can convey my thoughts much more clearly than through speech. I can be more thorough and precise with my thoughts. With written word, I can look back over it and make corrections or improvements; I can’t do that with spoken words.
I actually prefer to have serious or weighty conversations on paper for these reasons. I can delete or erase something that I wrote in frustration or anger, but I cannot take back spoken words.
3. I need to express myself.
Writing is to me like Van Gogh’s brush or B.B. King’s guitar: it’s a tool in my hands. I’m not a famous artist; I just need to be an artist. I love to watch the words play out on the page, see how the letters curl, slant, stand tall, take form.
It’s also like an exhaust or pressure escape valve for me, a way that I can release. Writing is a kind of therapy for me, to be able to at least somewhat put my thoughts and feelings into human words. Helps me to make a little bit of sense out of life sometimes.
4. I need to share.
I firmly believe that a lot of things we go through on planet Earth are not necessarily always only for us as individuals. I think some of our experiences are for us to learn from and then to share with another soul later. Because I’ve been down a particular path or two, I may be able to help another traveler behind me navigate that path.
And because of these personal journeys, I write about them in the hopes that they’ll be of assistance to another sojourner. Even if it just helps someone to not feel so alone in their struggles, it’s worth spilling my inmost thoughts through words.
5. I was born to write.
Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not being egotistical. Quite the contrary. Even if nothing of mine ever gets published, or I get sharply criticized, I can still be satisfied that I stepped out to follow a lifelong pursuit. As much as I am compelled to eat, sleep, love and work, I feel the same urge to write. No one has to force me to do it, and I may not do it well by certain standards, but it’s part of my DNA.
I can pen words for no one, or for the entire world, and it would all be the same to me. Hopefully my words have the power to help or even to heal instead of to hurt. But at the most basic level: I write, therefore I am.
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