“You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.” Ray Bradbury
Writing in its essence is a means of communication, with yourself and with others. Millions of thoughts race through our minds every day. These thoughts, and possibly new ideas need an outlet to survive, and writing is the ideal way to give them life. When you develop a habit of writing every day you see its benefits presenting themselves in every aspect of your life.
But writing in itself won’t get you all the benefits. You need to put an actual pen on paper to get the most out of it, as two scientists from UCLA pointed out in their 2014 study. Test subjects who took down notes in longhand performed better on both factual learning and higher-order conceptual learning compared to their counterparts who used a laptop.
Here are 6 reasons that will convince you to put pen on paper day on end.
1. You Remember Every Detail Of Your Day
I can never remember my grocery list unless I write it down. And when I do write it down, I stop needing it anymore because it’s stuck in my head. It’s the same with every wisp of information that flutters by my short term memory never to be seen again.
When I take the time to make a timeline of my day on paper I always end up remembering interesting tidbits about the day and new insights which would have disappeared the moment I put my head on my pillow.
But the best part about it is, I can finally stop asking my acquaintances for their name till they start hating me.
2. You’re In Touch with Yourself
Do you know how the latest Star Wars movie grossed more than $1 billion? The film series already had a huge fan following and studio knew just the right chord to pull to bring in the masses- nostalgia. Parents came with their children in droves to see the movie just so they could revel in relieving a bygone era. You might be wondering what this has to do with writing everyday. Well, the latest Star Wars movie proved beyond a doubt that humans attach immense emotional significance to reliving moments from their past.
If a movie can bring to surface so many emotions imagine the emotional roller-coaster ride you would have going through your old journals. Being in touch with your feelings and memories is a great way to improve your emotional quotient and writing makes it possible.
3. You Start Being More Rational
Thinking about every part of your day can be an exhausting experience where you constantly get lost in a muddle of thoughts. Putting words down on paper gives a sense of clarity to your actions and decisions. It’s like a file cabinet for your head with all your crazy ideas and wrong decisions neatly arranged and stacked for future reference.
So, the next time you’re about to go out on a night of binge drinking before the day of the big presentation, the neatly stored file in your head from one month back pops up with a warning sign.
4. Your Creative Genes Go Into Overdrive
Fear not, when you run out of things to write or face a bout of “writer’s block”, as psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler called it. You can never really run out of topics. There is too much to write about. This is your chance to let your imagination take over and try your hand at “free writing”, a prewriting technique where you write continuously about anything or nothing with no regard for grammar or spelling.
The only rule: Words have to appear! Letting your mind lose without the constraints of having to write about something specific encourages your mind to work at forming connections and stories. At the end of the exercise you might be surprised at how good your work turned out.
5. Your Sound Smarter
I learnt the word “quintessence” yesterday. I still remember it because (a) It’s a beautiful word and (b) I wrote it down. And (b) is what made it stick in my head. And (b) is why I can use it in this article. When you’ve made up your mind to make a routine of writing, you’ll naturally use new words that you’ve come across throughout your day. You’ll also learn to bring more grace to your words.
Mark Twain wouldn’t have sounded as cool when he said, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” than if he had just said “My school sucked, but I still made it.”
6. It Becomes Easier On Your Career
Whether you are a college professor writing grant proposals or just sending over an email to the next department, writing is an inevitable part of every career.
Even though the grammar police have received a bad rap of late, you’re still going to be judged if you don’t know the difference between their, there and they’re.
Exercising your pen every day is the best way to get your writing skills in shape and give less room for embarrassing moments. The fact that a Grammarly study found a direct correlation between fewer grammatical errors and more promotions should give you some extra incentive.
Scheduling your daily writing for a certain time, say 9pm to 9.30pm every day, is great if you can stick to the schedule. But for those of you, who have to manage writing with your day job, I’d suggest sticking to a more flexible schedule.
Maybe you’re meeting ran for too long and you got home late, maybe you’re just too tired and decide to put it off for the next day; it doesn’t matter! You can write as less and as much as you want.
The important thing is that you put words on paper everyday.
Usually when I’m too lazy to write, I like to use the “2-minute rule” by author James Clear to motivate myself. The rule basically says “If it takes less than 2 minutes, then do it now.”. “It’s 2 minutes; just 120 seconds; that’s nothing; I could do that.” is my thought process. I’ve yet to put my pen down after those two minutes, which I think is great. But I leave it up to you to decide for yourself.