Louis L’Amour – “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on”
My sister Becky has been suffering from Ehlers–Danlos syndrome for the past 4 years. It’s an incredibly debilitating condition and one where we know very little about the cause or, more importantly, the cure. It’s a condition that can’t be seen and, for that reason, at times it can be difficult for even her closest friends and family to provide the empathy and support she needs.
So, she started to write.
I encouraged her to start a blog like I did but she didn’t want to publish her thoughts online. Instead, she bought a diary where she could reflect on the best and worst parts of the last 24 hours. The persistence of putting her thoughts onto paper has greatly improved her ability to express what she’s feeling and the daily consistency has resulted in therapeutic effects. Becky doesn’t share her diary as she doesn’t need to. Writing has value in itself.
TURN ON THE FAUCET
Whether you’re writing in a physical diary, publishing articles online or crafting longer than average captions on your Instagram posts (Father Of Daughters is a fantastic example of this) – just start. I published my first blog 5.5 years ago and I wrote about whatever was on my mind. In my first 3 articles, I wrote about Tom Hardy, becoming a Godfather and butterflies, and though they’re not examples of my best work, they were an excellent start. And that’s all I needed.
IT MAKES YOU SMARTER. AND YOUR IDEAS BETTER.
The process of writing means you have to stop and think before you start. Out of necessity, I read more because I write. I read to discover new ideas or research my half baked thoughts and the by-product is that I’m more knowledgeable. I’m smarter for it.
The ability to craft and present your ideas improves too. My articles always start with word vomit on a page and I rewrite until my points are clear and concise. I try to keep to a 450 – 550 word limit and it’s this confinement that makes me improve the points I want to make. Essentially, you’re practicing making the same impact in fewer words.
WRITING CALMS THE MIND
To write you need to focus and to focus you need the proper environment (and that might your sofa at home with a baby hugging you like a koala). On a practical level, you’ve found a time and place to achieve a task but you’ve also discovered a form of mindfulness. Writing therapy claims that “writing one’s feelings gradually eases feelings of emotional trauma” and the sense of achievement when hitting that final punctuation mark is pure elation.