I know that writing has some specific benefits for me, and I don’t want to act like it works the same for everyone who does it, but I also know I can outline some positive benefits of writing without excluding too many people. Some of these are so simple that everyone will understand them: a great example is writing down a recipe for preparing food so you can make the same meal again later. It’s such a commonsense idea that many people don’t think of it when wondering about benefits of writing, but that’s just the first example I have of many.
One of the greatest benefits of writing for me has always been creating physical records of events that I can use to look stuff up later. I’m talking about accounting for one – keeping track of the money I make and how I make it, the money I spend and how I spend it. It’s a great way to look at wasteful things I’m dumping money into and cut them out, as well as look at the things I’m doing that are making me the most money so I can keep doing them. I think everyone should write out their finances in some way, maybe in a spreadsheet or text document if words work better for you.
There are other benefits to writing too. It’s not something I tell too many of my friends about, but I like to write up character evaluations of the people I meet. Those used to be very popular in China during the late Han period, around 190 AD. I find they are very useful for pointing out the good and bad things I see in people before I get to know them too well and my judgments get muddied up by friendship. I hate to admit it, but I’m human too, and knowing people for a long time makes me tend to side with them.
I’ve found that writing often helps one to be a better writer, just like practicing anything else tends to make a person better at doing that thing. But unlike most activities, being a better writer also makes a person better at communicating verbally with people. A better understanding of words, proper speech and the language being spoken makes it much easier for a writer to speak the language well. This benefit may take some time to become apparent for those just learning a new language, but writing the words will absolutely help you speak the words better.
To be honest, much of the writing I’ve done has been to express gratitude to people. To interviewers for seeing me about a job I wanted, or employers for finally picking me to fill those jobs. I’ve thanked many people in my life for the good things they’ve done for me, and I’ve found that one great benefit of writing is that I can thank those people in an effective way. If you want to tell someone you appreciate what they’ve done for you, don’t just buy a card from a store. You can make a powerful, personal statement with your own words.