As adults, we’re taught a very unfortunate fallacy about writing: if you don’t consider yourself a writer, you don’t write at all. The truth is, we don’t have to place ourselves in one of these two categories. You can be a three-time published author, or a lawyer who writes the occasional journal entry, or even a college graduate who hasn’t written anything since their thesis paper. Anyone can be a writer, and the benefits of writing are significant.
So why do so many people tell themselves they aren’t writers? A large part of it could be that they’ve never really written for themselves. Since we learned how to write, we’ve been tasked with assignments and research papers that made the practice feel more forced than chosen. As students, we weren't given many opportunities to write freely and often didn’t have the time or desire to write about our own interests. In adulthood, it feels as if we were never really taught how to write for fun.
For those of us who do see the value of expressive writing, there are both physical and mental health benefits that come along with it. Mental clarity, emotional intelligence, quicker recovery, and less stress are all reasons in a long list to pick up a writing hobby, so it's time to learn how to love the process again.
If you consider yourself a non writer or an author in need of a creative jolt, we’re here to talk about learning to love writing again. Here are a few ways to incorporate the practice into your life and actually enjoy it.
Practice writing without structure
We recently wrote a blog about using your stream of consciousness to improve your daily writing routine. The basic idea is to write down your thoughts exactly as they enter your mind. One day that might be a diary entry, another could be a creative story or a screenplay, or maybe even a restaurant review. By avoiding structure, you re-introduce the concept of writing into your life as a form of self-expression.
Writing in this form won’t feel like an assignment and it doesn’t have to be written for anyone but you. No grades, no proofreading, just you and your pen and paper. If you’re someone who doesn't write much for fun, this is a great place to start.
Try out some writing prompts
Writing prompts can kickstart your creative process. They inspire you to start writing with a framework in mind, but give you the freedom to take your own creative liberties. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t feel connected to a particular prompt and remember that you can always choose another. With the right prompt, you'll find yourself thinking through a dozen different storylines and directions in a matter of seconds.
If you’re an author, utilize daily prompts to work through writer’s block. Many authors will find themselves in a static state with writing, but studies show this is an artificial construct that can be overcome with a change of perspective and some fresh creativity.
Once you’re a little more comfortable with the process, try to commit yourself to one prompt per day or week. Push yourself to write about topics that might not be so easy, but find ways to make them work. If you feel yourself writing with a flow on a certain prompt, keep going! There’s no limit to what you can create.
Forget about time
Another reason you might have lost your love for writing as an adult is the feeling of impending doom that’s associated with it. Okay, maybe the term “impending doom” isn’t quite right, but as students, papers were associated with deadlines. The great thing about writing without limits is that your practice doesn’t have a due date. Sit with a topic for hours, days, or weeks before you start writing. Write on the days when it feels right, whether that’s once a week or once a day. Learning to love writing is done on your timeline, not someone else’s.
If you knew of a practice that could benefit your life in a variety of ways, why wouldn’t you incorporate it into your life? The process of learning to love writing simply requires us to restructure and reevaluate the way we feel about writing, and that’s exactly what we’re doing for our members at Opyrus. If you’re looking for ways to become a better writer and find creative inspiration, sign up for Opyrus.