During the past 11 weeks of being a GovLoop featured blogger, I have had to routinely dedicate several hours each week to brainstorming, researching and writing posts. Some of my posts have been largely unrelated to my specific job, but the routine practice of posting has undoubtedly made me better at my job.
The benefits of writing are easy to name:
- Writing every day keeps your skills fresh.
- Writing every day gives your mind the space and time needed to engage in creative problem solving.
- Writing every day allows you to practice formalized long-form narratives – a writing style that is largely absent amidst brisk emails and media sound bites.
- Writing every day is fun. Some part of your workday should be fun.
The blog Zen Habits has built its success on the concept that writing is a healthy activity. Blogger Leo Babauta found his daily writing routine helped him develop more empathy for others and strengthened his persuasive writing skills. For those of us who craft campaigns and public messages, these skills are vital.
Writing is a literal way of taking apart a big idea one piece at a time. That can be helpful when we need to communicate highly complex ideas to various audiences. Writing also helps teach us the inverse – how to arrive at one big idea through bits and pieces. When pitching a story or planning a long-term communications strategy, we don’t always know what the end goal may be. Having the ability to head down the rabbit hole and explore a little bit may help us arrive there.
It’s not just mental health that writing protects. Research shows a correlation between writing and positive health outcomes. A 2007 study found that participants given writing assignments focused on life goals topics had fewer illness-related health center visits than participants who were assigned non-emotional topics. Expressive writing has also been linked to improved mood and reduced stress levels, according to entrepreneur.com.
If writing isn’t already a part of your daily ritual and you’re looking for inspiration, consider these sources:
- 365 Creative Writing Prompts from thinkwritten
- 500 prompts, 301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing, and more from The New York Times blog
- Read your local newspaper and journal your thoughts about the articles (not only will this sharpen your writing skills – you’ll become more knowledgeable about local issues)
Kim Schoetzow is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.