Sit down to write what you have thought, and not to think about what you shall write.” — William Cobbett Click To Tweet

Ever since we are little kids at school, we learn how to write. We start by drawing some lines, circles, dots and then we start connecting them to create letters. Then we use those letters to create words, then sentences and finally a text. We soon realize that our writing has meaning. As you can see, we start out by not even knowing what writing is and then suddenly some of us become writers. This is the first step to personal development and we do not even realize it.

Our journey goes on to middle school, high school, and university. We start by writing our own experiences and then try different types of writing. From descriptions to narratives, and to scientific papers, as the quality of writing evolves, so do we. The thing is that writing is not just leaving a piece for someone to read, the process itself changes you.

Writing Can Help Your Personal Development

So let’s take the first type of writing that we learn. Writing about ourselves and our experiences. Most people might have a journal, either for everyday notes or for travel purposes, others have their personal blog. Either way, we have this constant need of sharing our lives with other people. This is mainly why social media sites were created.

Let’s think for a second. While walking down the street, would you share details about your day with a stranger? your life? what you eat? what you drink and who your friends are? Probably not. Do you do the same thing on social media? Probably yes. Why? The thing is that social media removes the direct social interaction and thus, it is like having your inner voice come out and start talking for everybody to hear.

You start expressing your thoughts on social media and soon you realize that you have just learned something about yourself. One year later, you look at what you used to write about and find out how much you have changed. You start to know what really matters to you. You see a pattern. Posts reveal many things about you, sometimes it might take a time to find out what, but the answer is definitely there.

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Writing can also serve for remembering things. Even though there are some things in life that you will never forget, some experiences have marked you in a positive way, there are some events that you simply do not want to slip away from you. So, you start to write. A couple of years later, you reread the text and soon, the writing becomes a time traveling machine. Reading takes you back to a time and a place where everything was okay, to your happy place. It is like living the experience for a second, third or one-hundredth time.

When we can not really rely on our memory, we start writing things down. It all starts in school when we rely on our notes. After that, the things that we want to remember are simpler. From shopping lists to plans and things we might not want to forget. It is like we are testing our memory. Having the post it, the agenda and the note lying around on the desk are like our written contract that we will not forget, and it works. We concentrate so much on not forgetting, that our memory improves. And, of course, if it fails, we can always cheat by looking at the note that we made.

Another thing that writing about ourselves can help us with is getting over traumatic experiences. Maybe it is a death of someone you love or you have been in an accident. Sometimes, keeping it in and not discussing it with anybody might hurt you. If you are not willing to open up about your experience, there are other options. You can start by writing about it in a journal or on a piece of paper that you can later burn. You will soon see that you will improve. That burden on your chest will soon shrink until you are ready to move past this moment.

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After some time passes, when you are almost through with your process of grieving, you will start to see some changes. Writing, however, in addition to making you “heal yourself” from your problem can also help others. For example, if you have a blog or start writing a book, your audience is bigger than just yourself. People will be able to learn from your experience and you know that it takes just one person to make a change. If your lesson can help somebody, then it might be worth to share it in the end.

Another example of how writing can help you improve yourself is in the case of learning a foreign language. At first, you make mistakes but soon enough, you evolve. By writing more and more, you start to learn new structures and how to apply them. Your conversation skills also improve. When you learn new words, for example, it is always very useful for you to include them in a sentence and write it down. This way, by putting the word in a context, it will be easier for you to remember it. That is why songs get stuck into our minds; they have some words, put into contexts that make the words stick.

From learning how to write to doing it as a living, writing has been and will continue to be a great part of our lives. It helped us improve from drawing lines to giving meaning to those lines by proving how powerful it is. Just think about it. Sometimes, a simple line (an accent) can change the meaning of a word and not to forget about the importance of a comma. However, it is beyond those lines where we find meaning and start learning more about ourselves that makes writing the perfect tool for personal development. A letter, a word, a sentence: So little and yet, so much meaning.

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