As I was walking along the beach this morning between slot one and slot two of my writing for the day, I began to think about the health benefits of writing. I mean, I get it – it is true that we writers are not the most athletic of demographics. Out art is, after all, sedentary – bum on seat, fingers on keyboard or pen. Even painters get to stand for hours which is apparently much better for you than sitting down to work ( – though of course they are all alcoholics so the benefits are probably cancelled out.)
But I maintain that writing is actually marvelous for your health and here are my top 5 reasons why writing is good for you:
1: Writers are more likely to take themselves on long walks
When in the middle of a hefty chapter, or having written your hero into an inescapable cul-de-sac, there is nothing that clears the cobwebs better than a good walk. Take away the pain of running and the annoyance of having to get changed to leave the house, a good walk allows you to lose yourself in your body’s natural rhythms and think about your story in a leisurely and clear-headed way. With the added advantage of doing some exercise too which gets your juices flowing again.
2: Meeting your writing goals enhances self esteem
Ask any writer and they will probably tell you that they go a little bit mad if they don’t get their daily writing done. From personal experience, I know that once I have done my word count, I feel much more positive about my day. By keeping a record of my writing for the day, I am able to really feel that I am working towards my goals, which is an essential element of self-esteem.
3: Expressing yourself improves your blood pressure
If you keep things bottled up, your poor ticker starts to feel the pressure. Whether it be ideas, thoughts, characters, or stories, keeping things locked inside your mind rather than giving them a manifested form on the page, is actually a form of repression that can lead to all sorts of problems in the human body. We are designed to find a means of expressing ourselves in order to release tension. If writing is your means of expression then practice daily. See it as a healthy means of decreasing pressure build-up in the body.
4: Writing develops your brain power and can help treat Alzheimer’s
Did you know that there are those who treat Alzheimer patients with Memoir writing classes? The theory is that by using the brain’s linguistic function and bridging the gap between memory and language, we create stronger neural pathways and keep those parts of our brains functioning in a healthier and more revitalized way. So when you are using your brain and searching for the right word or phrase, you are actually giving your brain a really great, personalized work-out, that is just as good as doing crosswords, or logic puzzles.
5: Writing is fun and so brings a renewed sense of positivity to our day
Yes, you heard it right, my dear! Writing is … FUN. Capital letters fun. I know, I know – we would love to think that writing is hard work and that we are all suffering for our art, but the reality is that writers have inordinate amounts of fun in their work. They get to play God, make up whole worlds, and tell stories for a living. When things get a bit tough, why not remind yourself of this essential fact and find the fun in what you do. Play with your story. Throw in a curve ball. Do something completely outlandish just to remind yourself that this is fun. That mind shift will be just the thing to kick-start the story once again.
Or at least, these are the five things that I am telling myself as I go through my month long writing challenge.
Update on the Pantster challenge:
Another 3000 words today which brings my up to about 12 000 words so far this month. If you don’t know what I am on about then you can hop back to the first post here, where I explain the challenge and why the blinking heck I am doing it anyway.
I am having a lot of fun with this. It is amazing what reveals itself when you start to write. I hesitate to say that the Muse is with me but…. The Muse Is With Me. I can feel her.
And she is AWESOMELY GORGEOUS.
Leave a comment to tell me why you think that writing is good for your health… or not! How are you nurturing your Muse?
In fact that, my friends, may well be the title of tomorrow’s blog post.
Until then, my lovelies, have a write good day!