As my exams are all next week (even one that’s supposed to be this week got moved to next), I need something to procrastinate on. Therefore, I have listed reasons why you should adopt writing as a hobby, or simply try it as a recreational activity. One of the main reasons people tend to dislike writing is due to its close relationship with school, academics, essays, etc. However, if you find something you love and want a way to express yourself, this post will cover why writing may be for you.
Also, this is a response to the Daily Post. If I want to leave a “trace” of myself, it would be to encourage new writers. Instead of writing about a vague list of encouragements, this is the exact words I would use.
Note: I am, by no means, the “end result” of these conditions. I have a large amount of things to achieve (I even have a checklist!) in order to improve my writing, and even then, I will have a million things more to improve. But the beauty of writing is this: I know I have improved from the beginning, regardless how difficult achieving the end is. And no matter where you start, writing is something you will inevitably improve in with constant, dedicated practice.
1. Helps you become concise in your writing
This is probably the most important lesson I’ve learnt. When I initially began writing, my sentences were filled with heaps of unnecessary words and awkward phrases (I still have some of them, but it has improved). Concision is an important quality for any level of education, especially if you’re in high-school (like me) and they loathe long sentences (something I am, unfortunately, guilty of).
However, I can confidently say that, even since I began writing, my overall writing is more to-the-point, better structured, and less confusing. I can now say what I wish to express in fewer words, and it’s basically a skill that improves every-time I write.
Here’s a piece of advice that’s easier said than done:
Say whatever you wish to express in the least amount of words possible.
However, the only way you’ll learn how to express yourself is through practice. Constant writing, scribbling and receiving feedback from people around you.
Having concise sentences can help you:
- Stick to word-counts for essays and school projects
- Create more impacted sentences
- Great for timed speeches where you have limited words to express yourself
- Increase understanding in your sentences
2. Increases your vocabulary and love of words
I suppose this is more applicable to readers, who’re always on the lookout for new vocabulary words, but can also relate to a whole range of professions and hobbies. Being able to identify patterns in a language and learning new words will never disadvantage person; having little vocabulary may. When you begin writing, you will find a strange hunger for words, and learning vocabulary words is never a chore; it’s something I enjoy.
At one point in my schooling life, I was assigned list of words to learn how to spell. But I loved learning them, because it meant I had new words to incorporate into my writing. I sat down and learnt them with a genuine interest, as I could see the big picture; I could sense the value, the power of words. When I was 14, I sat down with the GRE words and memorised all 1,000 of them (I forgot the meanings of most of them now, but still remember a few), loving every second. Words are such powerful things, and I have a million more to learn.
Having a good vocabulary will:
- Help you in essays and express yourself clearly
- Improve yourself in more ways than one
- Assist you when reading difficult texts with complicated sentence structures
But one of the best things is, writing is for everyone, regardless of their vocabulary level. I have never come across a writer whose vocabulary did not improve dramatically after repeated practice. No matter where you start, you will always learn something new, and branch off from things you already know.
3. Helps your psychological state
One of the main things I’ve learnt about writing, and is undoubtedly part of other art, is how much patience is required. You need to sit with an idea for the length of a novel, accept writing won’t always be first priority, and somehow overcome hurdles of the first draft.
But it’s through these hardships that you develop strengths. I used to have a bad habit of not finishing what I begun, jumping from story to story, before I eventually dedicated myself to one novel. After I completed it, I developed the habit of completing what I finished. However, it took a long time, and at least 120,000 words from multiple previous unfinished projects (yikes!) before I actually completed a novel. Once I began, I never stopped.
Also, one of the reasons I love writing is how it’s so relaxing (although I can’t say much about my present project, Violet Ink, which isn’t the most relaxing book to write…) and is the perfect way to unwind after another day. Turn some instrumental music on, type at the keyboard, and when the word-count hits 2,000, upload it online without a second glance-over. It’s a very easy process.
Every writer friend of mine is an optimist. 100% of them. Of course there are writers who aren’t optimists, but my writer friends are. They are generally happy, always bright and colourful, and love typing away stories of their respective genre. I don’t know whether writing makes them optimistic, or it’s vice versa, but positive-thinking is definitely a psychological advantage.
4. Writing is a simple hobby
The beauty of writing is there is no set place. You can get a notebook and scrawl, take a laptop with you and type, or even rearrange words on a fridge for magnetic poetry. There is no prerequisite one requires to begin writing, and the majority of the population already do it anyway, as part of everyday life. The simplicity of writing is the many ways to approach one simple thing, and as stated previously, it branches off basic literacy skills (things you already know, anyway). Of course, practice is how you improve.
Writing can be anything. I have a recent love for haikus and slam poetry, but you can take up television scripts, multimedia projects to convey an emotion to the audience, or work on a novel. It is completely up to you and your tastes. Also, unlike some hobbies, there are many books and resources which reference it.
Are you convinced? Start right now!
- NaNoWriMo – Possibly a big jump, but it’s basically a challenge where you write 50,000 words in the month of November. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, and it’s happening right now. If you want to be more flexible, set yourself an easy word-count over at Young Writers Program NaNo (basically for younger writers).
- 750words – This is a site that encourages you to write 750 words everyday. It can be anything –shopping lists, novel chapters, poems– but the whole point is to create a good writing habit.
- 30-Day writing challenge – Quite possibly the best challenge I’ve come across. Basically, the minute you open up your laptop, you write for minimum 10 mins before continuing onto other tasks; it’s definitely the best way to avoid procrastination.
- Written? Kitten! – A really, really cute way to start writing. Every couple of hundred-words (changeable), the page reloads with another picture of a cute kitten.
- Write or Die – If you prefer a, ahem, darker way to make yourself write, this is the tool for you. Just fill in the details underneath the “Web App” form.
- The Imagination Prompt – I believe this is better for bloggers than fiction writers, but who knows? It may help you as well. It’s basically a random prompt generator.
- ZenWriter – A software, but I remember loving its minimal layout. You can even change the background music and pattern as well.
These resources are all from the top of my head. See what I mean by numerous references on writing?
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