Yesterday I wrote about how to write. Now I want you to know why you need to write.
I’m probably making this whole thing up just because I want more company at this typewriter of a keyboard I have here.
I doubt Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, makes his executives write for made up reasons though. I don’t know, maybe he’s just better at making up bigger things than I am right now (I keep wanting to type “write now”, gosh golly gee).
Writing is important for everyone to be able to do, not just dummies like me who like to call themselves writers.
So let’s start like my FCAT teacher told me every good expository thing starts…
Let me tell you why…
- You will think more clearly. You don’t know what you know until you’ve put it in words (usually anyway). When you’re forced to put ideas outside of your head then you’re faced with the actual idea – it’s quality becomes much more obvious. “Full sentences are harder to write. They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking.”
- You’re externalizing ideas. This means that you’re making room in your head for new ideas to come in. Ideas that stay in the head without being externalized can have some kind of worry attached to them because they may be forgotten.
- Measurable thinking time. A lot of people wish they spent more time “thinking” or contemplating some shit. If you type 500 words in the direction of the thinking you want to do then it’s done – and it’s staring you in the face.
- Find out what you think. When you write and run out of those thoughts in your head that were swirling around when you sat down and you pull from the void – that’s when it gets interesting. You see what you really think about things. You notice thoughts that you hadn’t noticed before.
- You get more ideas. This is because you’re (1) dumping ideas to make room for new ones and (2) you get used to having more ideas. When you write a lot you begin to have ideas in the direction you’ve been writing when you’re not writing. It’s fun to see ideas pop up and get the respect the deserve.
- You get better at communicating. No matter what you do you’re going to have to communicate with somebody somehow. Writing is a great way to get better at that.
- It’s free therapy. If you’re having some shit swirling in your head then the best thing you can do is type it out. This personally helped me with severe depression. I’d sit and do a stream of conscious writing for sometimes hours and by the end of it I would inevitably feel less miserable than when I started out. It exposes your thoughts for what they are.
- It’s nice to sit and type. It’s just a bundle of fun to sit here and type words knowing that they are going to help at least one person (me) and another and another if I’m lucky and did it okay. It feels good to sit and type and feel that creative exhaustion.
- Creative exhaustion makes the mind a better place. Your brain works better when you use the fucker. Writing is a great way to force yourself to make ideas. Even if it’s just writing long lists.
- Find solutions. If you write your way through a problem it’s easier to find a solution than when it’s flitting around in your head. The words are typed or scribbled and now they’re staring you in the face. HELLO FUCKER YOU KNOW WHAT’S UP!
- You’ll connect with people you never considered having a relationship with. If you write honestly (and if you’re not writing honestly then you’re probably not enjoying any of the other nine benefits I listed) and sharing your work then people are going to start giving a shit about what you’re saying. What’s funny is they’re not the people you expected to. Acquaintances that I thought would have zero interest in any of the words on this blog have contacted me because a post helped them in one way or another. Other closer friends have connected with me over a personal detail I shared. It’s wild and crazy and doesn’t make much sense.
- You can glimpse your soul. If you take that honesty idea to the ultimate level and just type your shit. If you puke words so fast and hard that you lose track of what you’re doing then you will see something cool. You will see words in sentences expressing ideas you never saw yourself having. You’ll tap into that thing that everyone talks about touching but can’t quite get it. The words don’t touch it, it’s the act of violent unviolated expression of things you don’t even know you’re expressing. Some people do that with other things but you’re sitting at a keyboard right now. Open a word document, make a promise to delete it (nobody will ever see!), and type as quickly as you can without a single judgment.
Writing can be so much more than posting an inane Facebook status or telling your boss to fuck off or arguing with some 14 year old on reddit. Writing can be like the best thing ever. <3
(After I write things I usually like to find somebody who’s better than me – I’m not saying a better writer, just a better person in general, a more quality human being – and see what they have to say. Steve Pavlina wrote 200 things he loves about writing. That list is a perfect example of the shit you can see when you let writing touch your soul-thing.)