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Writing is good for you

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

Anne Frank


“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

Stephen King


“I’ve always associated the moment of writing with a moment of lift, of joy, of unexpected reward.”

Seamus Heaney


Early morning, I’m often found in cafés, hunched over a coffee and notebook, pen in hand, scribbling whatever thoughts appear. Free Writing, just writing whatever comes into your head, can be exhilarating. If you haven’t tried Free Writing, you must. I do it in short bursts. Even if I sit, pen poised, with no idea what to write for the first minute, some spark will eventually set me off, and then I’m in the zone, and it feels amazing. Words and ideas flow out of me. I’m creating. I’m writing out my worries, frustrations, and all those things trapped inside my head that are itching to escape into some kind of story.

Of course, quite often, more often than I care to admit, I review what I’ve scribbled and see that it’s total rubbish. When writing, there are good days and bad days. On the bad days you have to remember how good it feels when you write something good.

I’m a firm believer that writing is good for you. Everyone needs some form of creative outlet – a way of expressing yourself. It feels good to create things, to stand back and say I made that and only I could have made that. It’s great to have something you’ve written sliding out of the printer and put it in someone’s hands to read.

And, for me, writing is like therapy. When writing characters, I’ve had to explore my own character – I’ve become more self-aware. I confront and reflect on past experiences – good and bad. And getting all of that out on to a page feels great. I’m happier as a result.

Scientists have studied whether writing is good for you. One study found that people who wrote about their traumatic experiences reduced their stress levels, improved their mood, had fewer stress-related trips to the doctor, and generally improved their health. And I’m not sure if my partner will agree, but studies have also found that because writers communicate better, they have better relationships.

Writing is also good for the body. Studies have shown writing can reduce blood pressure, create a healthier immune system, improve lung function, and boost athletic performance.

Yes, writing can be frustrating, exhausting, sometimes it’s like a puzzle you cannot solve, you mope, you think about deleting it all or ripping it up, starting on the next thing, but then, suddenly, you work it out, you know what your story needs, and you cannot write or type fast enough, you’re experiencing a sudden rush of genius. It’s like you were born to write this story. And it feels good. Endorphins are flooding your brain. That’s why we write – for those moments. Writing is sometimes hard work, but enjoy the challenge. Writing is good for you.

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