Benefits of Writing

Happy New Year! During the Xmas break, I intended to do a lot more writing (with more hours in the day to do so) but instead found myself reflecting on why I blog at all.

When I launched My Simplicity, the aim was to find ways to maintain a sense of well being while juggling a demanding profession with parenthood, and to share those ideas with others.

As a former journalist turned PR turned English teacher, writing is not the hard part. The hard part is ensuring that blogging isn’t counterproductive to well being i.e. it becomes another thing “to do”.

Journalling is a type of reflective writing that has proven psychological benefits. And a blog is another form of reflective writing. From a professional point of view, writing regularly helps me to stay in touch with a process many students struggle with. As I angst over word choice, make stylistic choices, edit, proof and eventually pluck up the courage to publish, I’m reminded of the importance of each step in the writing process and am acutely aware of the challenges it entails.  But is being able to empathise with my students a reason to blog? Probably not.

And while it’s true people make money out of blogging, for me that’s also not the motivator.

I think blogging is a form of writing that enables me to organise the ideas that jettison around my head, to make sense of the world and to be honest about what works when trying to keep life simple. It’s also a chance to use the creative part of my brain which doesn’t get used writing reports and grading other people’s writing!

Ultimately My Simplicity is contributing to my well being and that in itself justifies the time investment.

If blogging isn’t for you, there are lots of ways to add writing to your well being arsenal for 2018:

  • Keep a diary – from personal trials and tribulations to family milestones, diary entries  allow you to record important moments and remove mental blocks that hold you back.
  • Get creative – there are lots of online sites with daily writing prompts. Poetry, narrative, descriptive, scripts – whatever the style, creatively expressing ideas and emotions is hugely satisfying.
  • Share an opinion – if there’s a local or national issue that makes your blood boil, write it out! Letters to the editor (which can be sent via email), online forums and comments on news websites are all good platforms to share your concerns, and maybe even offer a solution. Don’t be the silent majority – be the change you want to see in the world.
  • Snail mail – here’s an old fashioned idea, send a friend or family member a card with a personal message. You’ll make their day.

Maybe writing’s for you and maybe it’s not but there are definitely plenty of benefits in putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. As we say to our students, always consider the purpose of your writing (entertain? persuade? inform?) and your audience at the start of the process. This drives all the decisions you make along the way. Like when and how to end 😉

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