For most of us, the minute we leave school, the amount of writing we do drops significantly. And for those who do write, usually the topic isn’t the most exciting. Think TPS reports or commissioned work.
Taking time to write for ourselves about something and in a format of our choosing is often not high on our priority list.
I often forget how long I have been writing for myself, but it’s easily been 10 years or more. Every once in a while I go back to my childhood home and comb through some of my items cluttering my old room. More than once I have found a notebook that I completely forgot about and will sit down to read it over.
There are often just old sketches or quick notes written down, but sometimes there are longer ones that remind me of brilliant ideas or immature beliefs.
I’ve also written for more than a couple of websites, and when I come across them, I am immediately transported back to the time I wrote them. What is amazing is how consistent I am with my fascination with certain topics. I have gone back to an article I wrote three years ago and then forgot about it, only to see that it was very similar to something I wrote three days ago.
One of the beautiful things about writing is that it stretches our abilities to communicate effectively. Whether it’s to educate or to entertain, communicating our ideas allows us to accomplish our mission.
When you write, you are forced to think of the best words that can be used, the best order they can be in, and what to do when you can’t figure out either (hint: leave and come back to it).
Writing also lets you get the ideas out that are in your head and look at them in a different light. There are ways you can shape your ideas when they are in front of you that you can’t do when they are just floating around in your head.
If you are writing fiction, often there’s a world to be created and a story to think of. Non-fiction already has a world (ours), but there is still a story, and it can be challenging to figure out how to do that within the constraints of reality. Journaling is about your experiences, but how you look at them now might be different than when you initially experienced the event. Taking time to reflect can do wonders.
If you haven’t written for yourself in a long time, there is no better time to start than now. If you want to begin to write, but find yourself easily frustrated, that’s to be expected. Just write a few words, maybe as much as a paragraph, and that’s enough. Remember this is a way to build a habit and a lifelong hobby, not to complete an assignment.
After you have written a little, what you do with it is entirely up to you. You can choose to publish it on a blog or other format. Or, you can choose to leave it completely hidden away from anyone but yourself.
Whatever you choose, just make sure to keep it in a place that is easily accessible and that you will remember in a few years. There is nothing like coming back to something you have written before and thinking, “Wow, I was pretty smart back then.”.