Periodically the question of why people should write comes up, there’s several benefits to writing on a regular basis, here’s six reasons I write:
Better than bookmarking.
There?s a reason my website has several resource guides and posts about specific references, I hate having to hunt for links and I?m often out and about without the luxury of my personal computer.? I also dislike signing up for third party services which may or may not vanish overnight. ?If I really want to keep track of a resource, or information on a subject long term I create a post or resource guide. ?This gives me access to the things that I think are important from any computer with web access and total control of if my list of links. ?When I write about links in a post I tend to annotate links that lead to something especially interesting or important. ?I don?t have to remember where I found things long term because I have it available through my webpage.
Finding your voice.
One comment which is often made about new writers is that they sound like someone else, and while their writing topics are interesting, the writing itself lacks an original voice. ?This is a difficult one for me because my default mode of writing for many years was writing detailed step-by-step instructions for laboratory procedures. ?This experience honed my instruction writing skills but hampers writing interesting presented content. I tend to get list happy from time to time which probably releases some pent up instructional writing desires.
Organizing your thoughts.
One of the main reasons I write posts like this is to organize my thoughts on a subject into a cohesive whole so that I can then explain them to someone else. ?If I can?t express myself in a page or two of writing on a subject how can I speak about it with someone else? ?It?s interesting to write about a specific topic because it forces you to do a little extra research, extend your knowledge and really think about the stance you are taking.
Other people might be interested too.
One thing that always surprises me is which posts are the most popular. You never really know what topic (if you write on a variety of topics like I do) is going to appeal to people. ?Given the semi-permanence of leaving a comment you might not get much if any feedback through your blog, that doesn?t mean that no one?s reading you. ?It?s always a pleasant surprise when you meet someone for the first time and you find out they read something that you wrote. ?Maybe you happened to touch on the one resource which solved their research problem, or maybe they liked the way you covered a topic. ?On the Internet you never know who or how many people your voice might reach, it may be one person, or it may be a couple hundred; writing should be mainly for yourself but I think if you help just one person with something you?ve written you can count that as a major win!
Practice makes perfect.
I recently came across an essay I wrote as an undergraduate that I was very proud of at the time and cringed. Fortunately I?ve written quite a bit between 1997 and now, other may not agree but I think my writing quality has definitely gone up over the years. The more you write in any medium the better all of your writing will become. ?One advantage to writing blog posts is the ability to correct errors as quickly as you can login and type the corrections. ?If you want to be a better writer the number one thing you have to do to improve is plant yourself in your chair and write.
Sleep, I like it!
This one may seem like a non sequitur but I?m one of those people who has a hard time shutting their brain off at night. ?I can and have laid there perfectly still breathing deeply for over an hour while my brain refuses to shut up about a subject. ?Whether it?s writing a blog post, jotting down research notes, or just a note on something I want to look up, writing helps quite the noise in my head so I can sleep. Sleep is good, it keeps you sane, at 6 or less hours of sleep there is a noticeable decrease in mental function of all people (no you cannot train your body to function at full capacity on less than an average of 7 hours of sleep per day, although a combination of naps and night time sleeping works just fine.)