Thought I’d quickly put my two cents down.
- It exposes flaws in your thinking – This is the equivalent of bouncing your ideas off a friend before you explore them further. Writing about the ideas has a similar effect because when you put down your reasoning, it’s easier to jump between different parts of it and pick out inconsistencies. This is harder to do when your ideas are just in your head. Writing more often to hone your ideas, and ideation, can also sensitise you to alternate perceptions and train you to be your own devil’s advocate.
- You’re likelier to remember something if you write it down – And when you write about current affairs, scientific research and history, you quickly build up knowledge that you’re unlikely to forget anytime soon – knowledge that you can recall easily when you feel you most need it. The process of writing fosters a measure of introspection that can encourage you to be vocal about your knowledge, too.
- You can do it very right or very wrong, you’ll still learn something – There’s no perfecting writing, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, anything in between or something beyond. Writing will always teach you about how to structure your paragraphs, which words to use where, what style or voice or inflections to adopt, or how best to tickle your audience.
- Despite the timescale required to perfect it (if at all), you’ll sense progress – No serious writer is going to ever admit that he or she has perfected the art of writing. Perfection in writing is impossible. At the same time, you’ll see yourself scaling this infinitely high mountain. With every subsequent piece you write, you will be able to tell how you did better than the last time you did it. Writing affords you the chance to see yourself getting better and better and better, all the time.
- It’s cost-effective – To write, it takes a pen and paper or a text-editor. The point is not that it’s monetarily cheap but that it’s accessible in terms of resources, not that there’s very little by way of an excuse not to write on that front but that there are more incentives to take it up.
- It can be addictive – If it’s addictive, it becomes a habit much faster. Writing does take a bit of time to become addictive but if you do it with the right kind of discipline, it can really stick. All you’ll feel like doing when you’re bored (or not) is writing after that.
- It’s not picky to your moods but the other way round – Even when you’re feeling down, there’s that down-in-the-dumps sort of writing that many writers have honed (Bukowski, Hemingway, Heller, Plath, etc.). If you’re angry, writing can often be the perfect weapon with which to display it. There have been times when I’ve looked forward to a mood-swing so I take advantage of the inherent catharsis to finish writing a story. It can be an abusive relationship.
- A body of work is always uplifting to look at if you’ve nothing else to hold on to – As a depressed person, I cannot overstate how thankful I am to have a blog that I’ve been writing in since 2009. When my day-job leaves me tired and/or feeling drained of soul, when all I want to do is shutter myself in my room and turn off the lights, I often also open my blog and just read through old pieces. It feels good then to be reminded that I have been up to something and that not all was for nothing.
- It can be all these things as well as a career – It may not pay much and it can be a grueling road to the top. When I was in the Middle East and enjoying the conversion rate in 2010, content-writing for corporate establishments fetched from Rs. 9,000 to Rs. 20,000 for a week’s work. It wasn’t fulfilling work but it paid the rent, kept the lights on, etc. while I got to work on a bad but nonetheless satisfying novel. It’s not a bad place to be because you get to write all the time.
Featured image: A Stipula fountain pen. Credit: Wikimedia Commons