If you’ve been following along with our more recent blogs, you may already know that expressive writing has some pretty significant health benefits. You can expect to see improvements in your mood, stress levels, and overall quality of life by keeping a journal, but what about the act of writing a novel? If you’ve ever attempted to write a book and been hit with obstacles in doing so, you’re not alone. Many writers struggle to complete their work or get it published, but the act of writing a novel alone can actually have huge benefits for your health.
What we’re interested in talking about is how book writing, and the process itself, is worth doing. Whether or not you consider yourself a writer, you probably have a story to tell. That could be a science fiction story you picture when you go to sleep, a memoir that you’ve been wanting to share with the world, or a creative adaptation of a life experience. Whatever it may be, some researchers point to book writing as a means of success and happiness in life.
Dr. James Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin has done extensive research on this topic, and points to a considerable connection between writing novels and both physical and mental health. Though some studies suggest that emotive writing can lead to a trauma response, and subsequently an inability to work through said traumas, Dr. Pennebaker asserts that writing can be an extremely therapeutic practice. Based on his research and some of our own, here are a few reasons why writing a novel is good for your health:
Sense of Discipline
Nobody ever said that writing a book was easy, and for good reason. Taking on the role of “Author” requires discipline and commitment. As an author, you need to create a healthy balance between a focus on fine details and an understanding of the total picture. Writing a novel requires a responsibility and dedication to completing page after page until you’re left with a finished product.
Sense of Purpose
Writing a novel also provides a writer with a sense of purpose. One of the cornerstones of a healthy psyche is centered around a person’s concept of their purpose in life. As humans, many of us struggle at times to find that purpose. The process of writing a novel can help establish purpose in one’s life by providing a clear and achievable goal – a finished book.
Writing often requires us to think outside the box. Even writing a novel about real life experiences can require you to fill in the blanks sometimes. Some authors use fiction writing to escape from the monotony of everyday life. Through the characters and storylines we create, we can reignite our imaginations. Much like reading an enthralling fantasy saga, the act of writing can help a writer imagine and work toward a more positive mindset.
One scientific study suggests that writing even has the power to strengthen one’s immune system. Dr. Pennebaker and associates in New Zealand found that HIV/AIDS patients who engaged in writing activities measured higher on CD4 lymphocyte counts than those who did not complete the writing exercises. Other physical health improvements in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and asthma have also been observed.
Though many of these benefits may seem fit for someone struggling with mental and physical illnesses, they are not limited to such demographics. Telling your story has the power to improve your life in ways you probably never thought possible. If you’ve ever considered the difficulties that come along with writing a book, such as seemingly insurmountable writer’s block and unachievable perfectionism, remember to trust the process. Whether you decide to publish for the masses or make one copy to keep on your bedside table, there is power in telling your story.
If you’re interested in starting or continuing your journey as a writer, there is no better time than the present. Opyrus provides content to inspire your writing and has helped authors around the world with their novels. Join for free and tell your story.