Sometimes, writing gets a hard rap. I mean, it can be a lonely and thankless kind of pursuit – especially if you haven’t started submitting or sharing your stuff yet – and there tends to be a lot of self doubt and musing mixed in. But it ain’t all bad. In fact, it can be pretty amazing.
I’ve put together a little list of the things I think writing has done for me, aside from personal satisfaction and an occasional pat on the back, in a practical sense.
1. Widening horizons
Reading had done a pretty good job of this anyway, but there’s nothing like wanting to write for forcing you out of your comfort zone. Instead of only reading the books I’m pretty sure I’m going to like, I read a huge variety of stuff from different genres, emerging writers and different age groups. And that’s not even including the research that goes into some stories. (Yes, I do count five hours reading all news stories I can find about talking dogs online as research ok.)
2. Making friends
Loads of people enjoy writing and even more enjoy reading. Getting chatting to them online has shown me your friends don’t have to have the same tastes as you to be great folks. You’ve already got something in common, so it’s easier to skip the ‘what’s your favourite band’ chat and move straight onto things you’re desperate to share.
3. Eating alone
Thanks to what must equate to months and months spent scribbling in notebooks in a variety of cafes, bars and restaurants, I can happily order, eat and sit staring into space on my own pretty much anywhere. Doesn’t sound like much maybe, but when I think back to how shy I was as a teenager I reckon this has been a bit of an asset – for my self confidence if not my general diet.
4. Developing a scrawl
I write by hand so often that I think my handwriting may have evolved into something else. Unless I’m concentrating, it’s barely legible. This has two benefits. One, I can take notes very quickly. Two, no one else can really make head or tail of them.
5. Word appreciation
I appreciate words and beautifully constructed sentences 100 times more now I know how difficult it can be to choose or craft them. Look how much I love the name of this street – would I have loved it quite as much had I never sat down to try and craft a masterpiece? Only the potatoes know.
So that’s five reasons for now, I’m sure there are more but my lunch break is pretty much over. Got any plus points to share?