Improving Your Writing Will Improve Your Life
Everyone wants a little taste of the good life, but it’s often difficult to figure out just how to cook it up and savor it. After all, the recipe for success can be more complex than the method behind a Yotam Ottolenghi vegetable dish.
The first challenge, naturally, is identifying the right ingredients. And unless you think the key to a better existence merely opens the door to a Ferrari, you’re most likely part of the crowd that agrees that health, peace of mind, and happiness are critical components.
This trinity has long been at the heart of society’s idea of true richness, and while we can’t guarantee that improving your writing will put each element within easy reach, getting a better grip on grammar, expanding your vocabulary, and showing greater mastery of written communication will put you on the right track.
You’ll be more successful.
At everything, especially when it comes to your career.
According to a 2010 MetLife Survey, 97 percent of executives rate writing skills as absolutely essential or very important. Not to mention, a recent Forbes study found that one of the skills employers most want to see in 2015 graduates is the ability to create and edit written reports.
In a nutshell, writing is a critical part of business communication today, and those who do it well will, at the very least, be viewed as more capable, more valuable employees.
On a similar note, writing has been linked to strong critical thinking and analytical skills, two abilities that form the foundation of powerful decision-making, a trait that goes hand in hand with leadership. Read between the lines here, and you’ll see what we’re getting at: promotion, promotion, promotion!
Finally, even if you’re not part of a traditional business environment, writing well can help you deliver your message clearly and concisely, which will be essential to advancing your ideas, agendas, and proposals.
You’ll be more attractive.
Sure, you could adopt a Jack Kerouac or Donna Tartt look, but that’s not what we’re alluding to. Improving your writing will make you sexier regardless of your style or your practiced ennui.
That’s because it makes you happier and more confident, two qualities that bring in the dates like a dinner bell brings in the laborers at the end of a hard day of farm work.
Improving your ability to write expressively, which means jotting down traumatic, emotional, or stressful events, will help uplift your mind and body. At least that’s what social psychologist James Pennebaker found when he asked people to write in this way for three to five sessions of fifteen to twenty minutes over the course of several days.
Taking it one step further, the sense of ease you get from offloading complicated negative thoughts and feelings is an indicator of confidence, which even science has endorsed as one of the most attractive qualities in a person.
Just don’t get so good at expressive writing that your ego overinflates; there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
You’ll have stronger relationships with your family and friends.
Language scientists believe that writing transforms our complex cognitive processing abilities. Putting pen to paper allows us to more clearly think through ideas that were previously difficult or impossible to wrap our heads around. By extension, it means we can better articulate our notions and feelings even when we’re communicating verbally.
When is this especially useful? When forming and maintaining important relationships, of course.
Interpersonal connections depend heavily on self-expression and our knack for understanding how our own opinions align with those of others. Once you can make sense of the mad jumble inside your own mind, you can engage in a meaningful way with friends and family.
Not to give you any ideas, but it also means your powers of persuasion will likely increase dramatically. What was it that you needed your loved ones to say yes to again?
You’ll have more time to do the things you love.
Improving your writing means you’ll spend less time editing, which means you’ll have more time to look at bugs, go base jumping, or read that classic that’s been gathering dust on your bookshelf for a small eternity.
If the kind of writing you’re doing doesn’t demand editing, that’s even better (then you’ll have loads of time). Jokes aside, writing can make you more productive and more focused.
As mentioned, your thoughts will have a new clarity, and you won’t need to wade through a tangle of ideas stuffing up your brain.
If you happen to be writing about goals you want to achieve, improving your ability to pinpoint your objectives and your path to reaching them will make you more likely to get results. Clinical psychologist Gail Matthews effectively proved this by conducting a study at the Dominican University of California.
Then you can use your increased attractiveness and your newfound knack for making strong connections to become even more successful! Voilà!
Can you think of an example of when writing helped improve your life? We want to hear it. Tell us about it in the comment section below or via our Facebook or Twitter feeds.
Stephanie Katz is a San Francisco–based writer who, contrary to the way it may seem, won’t correct your grammar over beers, coffees, or any other normal life interaction. She tells stories about health, history, travel, and more and can be contacted via email at email@example.com.