I hate that we treat writing like it’s some kind of “elite” activity, only to be reserved for the incredibly gifted or well-trained. Writing is language. It’s communication. It’s as basic an instinct as food and water.
What we need, more than a bunch of training or talent, to be good at writing is simply this: permission.
- Permission to be ourselves.
- To speak freely. To say what we think.
- To be imperfect.
Permission to show up to the page without being all buttoned and laced.
I’ve been drawn to writing for as long as I can remember and I have two degrees in writing—and still, I can say the biggest thing keeping me from writing well usually isn’t a lack of information or knowledge.
It isn’t a lack of skill that holds me back.
It’s usually a lack of confidence in my own ability as a writer, a lack of clarity in my own ideas.
It’s this incredibly crippling feeling that comes when I sit down to the page—that writing is for certain people and I’m not one of them.
It is the idea that writing is unnatural, that it requires me to strive and try, rather than to relax into the process and let the words flow.
This is what makes writing so difficult for me. I would argue it’s the same for most of us.
Ultimately, I think, everyone should write.
I don’t think there are “writers” and “non-writers”. I don’t think “non-writer” exists as a category. If you are human, you have an innate desire to navigate your experiences using words. You have an innate desire to communicate your experience to others.
Writing helps us do this.
Writing is instinct. It’s natural.
If you are human, you are a writer.
As an added benefit, writing has dozens of really wonderful side-effects.
Writing can help us prepare for difficult conversations, it can bring clarity to confusion, it can help us uncover answers to our most complex problems, it can alert us to holes in our logic, can communicate messages of hope to others.
It can improve our marriages, help us find more satisfaction in our careers, can help us clarify a vision for our families.
It can allow us to process grief we didn’t realize was holding us back from what we really wanted in our life.
Writing can heal us. It can change us. It can help us to discover ourselves. (tweet that)
I know that writing can be daunting but I hope you won’t let the intimidation keep you from getting started. Your whole life is waiting. The most authentic version of you is waiting to be discovered. Your voice is waiting to be found.
If you’re interested in more resources regarding writing or any other topic I write about here, check out my Additional Resources page.
11 thoughts on “Surprising Benefits to Writing (Why Everyone Should Write)”
Great post, Ally!
So much encouragement here, Allison. Thanks. I am feeling “stuck” lately. Not sure whether I should be putting focus on blogging, get my book proposal out, or actually writing the book. Resulting in a bunch of what does it matter anyway paralysis. This is a good reminder to just start at the beginning. Just write something.
For as along as I can remember I have dreaded writing. I can’t even tell you the incredible lengths my mom went through to get me to complete an English paper in high school. She deserves a medal or saint hood…Probably both! I love to talk and read so it isn’t so much a fear of words but a fear of permanence. Once it is written down I feel like I cannot change my ideas. Yes, I TOTALLY realize how irrational this fear is, but it can feel so real when I sit down to write out my thoughts. Thanks for the encouragement to just write!! Even if it is only 5 words at a time!
Very well said.
“It’s usually a lack of confidence in my own ability as a writer, a lack of clarity in my own ideas.”
I think there is a lot of truth in that statement. It may be one of the reasons that getting started is often the most difficult part.
Best part: We need … “Permission to be ourselves. To speak freely. To say what we think. To be imperfect.”
Oh My Goodness, love, love, love! I have struggled with that my whole life (but actually not when it comes to writing. I feel confident writing. It’s speaking that clams me up) and am finally beginning to win those battles although it is still just one day, one situation at a time. Thanks for the encouragment.
Hi Allison! Love this post. I’m a writer by trade too and now a blogger sharing my words with the world (or at least a couple people who so nicely stop by my site) on a near daily basis. I cannot tell you how long it takes me to edit my thoughts. However, the actual writing process just to get my words on the page is so quick for me. Sometimes I think I can express myself faster through the written word than I can out loud. And I believe in writing — we need to absorbs things without getting someone’s inflection or tone, to create our own image of a thought in our imagination. I also love that blogging and social media has allowed so many “non-writers” to write. We can all write. Amen! 🙂
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