There’s a lot we learn from spending a lot of our time writing.
We learn how to construct grammatically correct sentences. How to develop effective marketing strategies. How to persuade people to do things they might have never considered before.
But there’s much more to get out of a career in writing than a bunch of followers or a solid reputation as a literary mastermind or even a semi-decent paycheck.
Writing might actually make you a better person in the long-term.
It forces you to think about other people more than yourself
Most people are born selfish and stay that way their whole lives. I’m not saying none of us are a little bit self-centered depending on the circumstances — sometimes, thinking of yourself is the best option.
But being a writer means you can’t focus only on you, your thoughts, or your needs. You have to be aware of what other people are saying, thinking, and seeking — because that’s how you gain an audience, create relatable content, and attract loyal followers.
It teaches you when it’s necessary to respond and when it isn’t
The longer I write, and the more I publish online, the more angry/mean/troll-ish tweets I receive. I eventually learned that not all communications require responses.
There are people that want to have open, constructive conversations with strangers. There are people who have nothing better to do than force their opinions into your face and expect you to agree or disagree rather enthusiastically. Effective communication means that, sometimes, some people aren’t worth the words.
It requires you to look at situations from multiple perspectives
If you can only write about something from a single perspective — typically yours — you have a lot to learn about what it means to “be a writer.”
Good writing forces you to look at something from many sides. Especially when you’re making any kind of argument. “I’m right because I said so” is not a valid statement. And one of the best ways to create relatable stories is to tell them from multiple characters’ points of view.
It reminds you that your issues aren’t the only ones that matter
In many ways, writing is selfless in the sense that just because you might want to write about how hard it is to make money as an [insert your generation here] doesn’t mean that’s the biggest problem facing your audience right now.
Being aware of what’s going on outside your bubble doesn’t just give you more to write about. It also reminds you that there are a lot of causes out there that deserve attention, and there’s a lot you can do, as a person good with using words, to help.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.