Writing has provided me with unexpected benefits. Here’s how.
Benefit #1 Time management
Time management seemed to be the eternally unachievable goal in my life. Sometimes I wonder if I could have enjoyed my growing years more had I known and mastered this art. The few achievements that I can think of during my teen years and youth are academic. Never did I consider to allocate time for art, music, dance, sports etc. The exception was reading mysteries and watching cricket; those somehow always got the time even if the exams were hovering on my head.
Forwarding to present, ever since I discovered writing, life did a somersault.
How do I make the time to write when I am already busy with family, work and social life? Most importantly, before I am a writer, I am a mother, a wife, a friend, an engineer and I would feel terrible if any of those roles are compromised. I tried to write at ad-hoc times, and it most definitely interfered with my life. Wanting to write when my family needed my attention led to frustration, guilt and a sense of helplessness. Writing became the cause of joy and misery at the same time.
I was left with two choices; either make the time for writing and ensure that the other things are worked on schedule or say bye-bye to writing. But when you finally get the satisfaction of pursuing a passion, you automatically get the grit to do whatever it takes, even of it means waking up at 4 am or giving up on T.V. time. It had not been a sudden transformation and I am still working on perfecting it, but surprisingly, I feel much more energetic and passionate about my family and my work now.
Without planning, there is this false sense of having an unending stretch of time, a bucket full of minutes that will deplete gradually at a slow pace. Managing my time has made me realize how little time we really have in this world and how important it is to spend it carefully.
Benefit #2 Focus
So, you finally mastered time management and allocated time for specific areas of your life. But what if your mind kept on going to the stuff that was unrelated to whatever you were supposed to do then. What if you worried about a deliverable at job to implement instead of the dialogue of your story while you are sitting to write at 4:30 am in the morning and ended up writing only half a page in two hours. What a waste, right? Or worse, your kid is complaining about bullying by a classmate and you are too busy thinking about a scene. I know it sounds horrible but most writers have probably been in a similar situation. I have been there and have felt horrible. There is no way around this other than practicing to focus on the job at hand. And nope, I have not perfected it yet, but I am getting better at it everyday.
Benefit #3 Passion
How does it feel to be passionate about something? The experience of this feeling is what writing has given me. Writing is a method of communication but is different than casual talk. You need much more clarity of thought in order to write. Though we can communicate verbally and visually with the advent of audios and videos (you tube etc.), I still prefer writing because it is serene in its own way. You cannot hear the voice of the writer, you cannot see the face of the writer, but you get a glimpse into the writer’s soul in the purest form possible via his or her writing. I have also realized that the real joy in living is to infuse this passion into everything thing that I do, in performing the daily chores, spending time with family, my job etc.
Benefit #4 Self Confidence
Sharing my thoughts via writing has given me the precious gift of self- confidence. As a child, I had a hard time fitting into a group and could not make many friends because of constant moving from one city to another or my introvert personality. I used to be extremely critical of myself and would also be sensitive of criticism from others. I never met my own expectations; I was never satisfied with the person I had become, with how my career turned out, with how I managed my kids and took care of my family etc. I would envy the people who seem to know it all and seemed satisfied.
But writing fiction is creating something from thin air; it’s like seeing a baby that you created with your own mind.
When readers appreciated what I wrote, it meant a lot to me, perhaps much more than anyone would ever realize. In my book, ‘The Independent Girl’, the little bit of appreciation that Sandhya needed when she was broken was what Mr. Roy provides. I too was lost in the monotony of life, bogged down by everyday chaos and circumstances. This hobby has brought me closer to hundreds of people all over the world; people who respected my thoughts and work.
Benefit #5 Life is made beautiful
Just as you can create a beautiful story by visualizing about it in your mind and typing it away, I have begun to believe that I have the power in my hands to make my life beautiful. One particular evening, I crashed into the sofa in our living room, feeling burned out and restless. Our house looked stuffy and messy with all the furniture and items thrown around but my kids still played away cheerfully, creating more mess in the process. I was about to shout at them, but held myself back, wondering why I felt so low; why did this feeling of helplessness threaten to overcome me numerous times. So, instead of ordering them to cleanup, I sat there for a few minutes and dwelled in self-thought. I had a say in choosing our house; in choosing the furniture around me. Most of the stuff that I seemed to hate at that moment, were purchased or approved by me. In hindsight, I should have not stuffed our house and left some open space. I should have removed the clutter at regular intervals and reduce buying. My kids made a mess but I never truly taught them organization the right way. I myself lack discipline often, so how were they going to learn from me? I decided that I will make my house and my life beautiful and clutter free. However, I will treat each moment as precious and beautiful, even when there is mess all around, for it’s the journey that matters, as that is all there is to life. What we think of goals are really checkpoints; there’s always a next destination to reach.