- Michelle Sterling
Back to Blogging: Why Writing for Yourself Still Matters
With an abundance of social media apps to help you log and share your every move, it would seem that traditional blogging would be on its way out. But should it be? Here are 3 reasons it still matters.
I used to have a blog. Back in the day. Before there were so many rules. Before everything was about monetizing and influencing and building an audience. I'm a Gemini. And a redhead. I'm not really big on rules.
I do love to write, however. Writing helps me process what I'm thinking so I can either move it forward or let it go. Writing allows me to travel to the far reaches of my creativity and wash myself in emotions that nourish me. It's also the best way I've found to remind myself who I am.
This is why I frequently find myself talking to my clients about the power of putting a pen to the page. Here's what I tell them:
1. Writing is a Direct Connection to Your Authentic Self
If you know me, you know I'm a bit of a neuroscience junkie. What you may not know is that that fascination started with my discovery of the research on the mind + hand connection.
A researcher at the University of Texas, who is appropriately named Dr. James Pennebaker, found that the process of writing by hand allows you to more effectively convert your emotions and visual memories into words, allowing you to then organize your thinking around your experiences into stories, or narratives. This then allows these experiences to be more efficiently summarized, stored, or forgotten, as you choose.
This idea that the writing process could support me in creating a narrative for the life I could choose to live sent me down the research rabbit hole. What I've found personally is that writing is instrumental in supporting my goal of living more intentionally and authentically.
2. Writing is Cleansing for Your Mental Self
There's this idea that I talk about a lot in the context of helping clients with time + energy management and that's the idea of using techniques to help you become "memory independent."
Many people have a love/hate relationship with their to-do lists. But the truth is, if you write it down you don't have to waste bandwidth trying to remember it. Of course, the joke that follows that is "Now where did I put that list?"
Our brains are inundated with data all day long. I like to think of writing as a way to release what my brain is holding on to. This can be tasks, like what you'd find on any to-do list. It can also be sparks for future endeavors -- places I want to visit, ideas I want to explore... And it can also be sources of stress or frustration, those things we all have a tendency to ruminate on. Conversations I wish had gone differently, conversations I need to have... Which brings me to my next point.
3. Writing is Healing for Your Emotional Self
The blank page has no prejudice or judgment. It is a container for you to fill with whatever you want. So go ahead and use it to release all of those emotions. Rewrite those conversations. Say what you wish you would have said but couldn't in the moment. Even if those words are "I love you."
The page is the place to live with no regrets.
And if you really want to release something, you can always burn the page, sending the energy of it all to the heavens along with your gratitude for being alive, and able to feel.
Bonus Reason: Writing is fun!
When I talk with my clients about the power of writing, the expression on their faces visibly shifts as if they are having painful flashbacks to high school English classes. All those red marks...all those rules (again.)
But you're a grown up now. You have earned the right to write without rules. At least when it comes to writing a blog or a journal or a poem, or whatever your body is nudging you to do.
The best way to experience what I've talked about here is to pick up a pen, put it to the page, and see what magic happens. If it's been a bit since you've tried this, be patient and give yourself some time and practice.
See if you can allow yourself to express something for yourself, without judgment. Without the need to monetize. Without the need for likes. Without the need for anyone's acceptance beyond the one that matters most: You.