One of the biggest reasons for me to be writing consistently for 6 months now (I have been publishing 2 blogs posts a week) is the assurance that it’s possible to develop a positive habit.
That assurance has helped me in not eating sugar for a month, in doing cold showers for 2 months, and in reading 40 pages a day. It has drastically improved the direction of my life in positive and efficient ways.
There are a lot of other good things that I can/should be doing — but the point is — that I am most likely headed that direction because of the consistent change that I am seeing in my life.
Now, before I get to my main point, here are some scientifically compelling reasons to be reading on a continuous basis:
1. Reading Prevents Memory Loss
A study which included almost 300 participants who died at an average age of 89 discovered that those that were engaging in mental activities such as reading experienced slower memory decline than those patients that did not read.
The rate of decline with those that did not train their minds was 48% faster than those who did (http://www.neurology.org/content/81/4/314).
2. Reading Prevents Depression
Another study from the PLOS journal showed that self-help books can help prevent depression. Since depression causes hopelessness people stop believing in the capability of change, self-help books boost the parts of the brain that are associated with happiness, rather focusing on that which is ahead and your ambitions (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0052735).
3. Reading Relaxes You
At the University of Sussex a study reported that reading can relax you more than listening to your favorite tunes, going for a walk, or even enjoying a cup of coffee/tea.
This is a hard one to believe, honestly. I love my coffee. And I love my tea. Books are great as well. But let’s be honest. You probably feel me on this one. Don’t be telling me how I should feel about my tea time (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/5070874/Reading-can-help-reduce-stress.html).
The Power of Consistency
“If you work on something a little bit every day, you end up with something that is massive.” — Kenneth Goldsmith
I started finding this pattern from some authors on Medium. A lot of them attribute success with consistency. From reading them, I gathered these 5 points.
1. Show Up Everyday
Consistency is an underrated virtue. And in our world of Instant Gratification we forget that to creating something beautiful requires us to show up each day. Even if we’re tired, hungover, unmotivated, or distracted. — Khe Hy
2. We Improve by Doing
Writers write. Every day.
Whether identity drives behaviors or behaviors drive identity (I think the case can be made for both directions), neither is sustainable without consistent practice.
We improve by doing. By figuring out what works well and trying new things. We can’t do that from the sidelines. — Jake Wilder
3. Writing is a LONG Game
25 clicks. During my first six months as a writer, this was the average number of page views (mostly coming from family members). It’s impossible to play a long game, when you check the scorecard in real-time. — Khe Hy
4. Energy Follows from Routine
Consistently following routines creates physiological energy spikes. — Anthony Moore
5. Success is the tip of the Iceberg
It’s easy to judge those who achieve overnight success or gain a lucky break. Truth is, had they not toiled away at their goal for years they would not have been in the right place to attract success. Had they given up or changed their goal, the opportunity may not have been presented to them. . . .
The tree shows no sign of growth for four years. Once it is planted, it requires constant nurturing, fertilizer and watering, yet nothing happens within the first year. The process of nurturing and watering takes place in the following years and still there’s no sign of growth.
But then something magical happens in the fifth year. Within five weeks the bamboo grows between 25–27 metres (82–88 feet). The tree lies dormant for four years and its biggest growth occurs in the final period of its life. . . .
I recall listening to an interview with the Australian 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans who was runner up in 2007 and 2008. He said, winning the 2011 title was the culmination of 20 years of dedicated work resulting in near misses. Persistence pays off no matter how long the race is.
Angela Duckworth says in Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance “As any coach or athlete will tell you, consistency of effort over the long run is everything.” — Tony Fahkry
All of these express that writing is a consistent practice. Don’t expect overnight results. It is expected that you make these mistakes.
Benefits of Writing Everyday
Many people implement this activity into their lives by journaling. You’ve probably done this if you’re reading this blog. People that read blogs tend to have ones. Or they’re thoughtful and like to write down their thoughts.
It helps your self-awareness and ability to be present, since you reflect on almost every significant event that is happening in your life.
The problem with this is that we usually end up stop doing it. There are plenty of reasons for this, most obvious of all is how busy our lives get. Too many friends to see, books to read, textbooks to study, profs to email, etc.
But being diligent about writing has been scientifically proven to boost almost all of our cognitive functions.
For me personally, ever since I started writing, I started being more aware of what I was reading and when I was reading it. It is also a great way to vent your frustrations with yourself.
It’s always fun after a couple of years to go back and look at what you wrote about your life situation in 2014, or 2015.
“Steven Pinker believes that the improvement in our reasoning abilities may have begun when the development of the printing press spread ideas and information to a much larger proportion of the population. He argues that better reasoning had a positive moral impact too. We became better able to take an impartial stance and detach ourselves from our personal and parochial perspectives” (Peter Singer, The Most Good You Can Do, 96).
- Vocab Maintenance and Expansion — I have been noticing serious improvements in both my writing and speech because of having to think about the words I use repetitively and attempt to substitute them for other vocab.
- Evening Contemplation and Relaxation — I have been writing about Peter Singer’s book, The Most Good You Can Do for the past 2 hours and I feel great, rejuvenated and productive (included link below). It feels good to write, especially about things that matter.
Let Us Try to Give Intentionally & Vocally
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
I Want to Write a Book
The main reason I read and write everyday, is that I want to publish a book.
Timothy Ferris said that every time he writes a book he wants to give up on multiple occasions. But he felt a moral obligation to write it. He said that if you prioritize writing a book for a year, you will be able to publish a great book.
Make sure you don’t release a mediocre book — release an incredible book. He gives these 3 assumptions that you need to be aware of, if you are about to publish a book:
- You need to feel a moral obligation to finish it.
- Assume that you will dislike the book a year from publishing. Because you will.
- If the book changed the life of 1 or 2 people, that would justify the pain and the loathing of the book and the opportunity cost.
The Four Hour Workweek was rejected by 27 publishers — keep that in mind. For Timothy Ferris it was less painful for him to keep these ideas in his mind, then to keep them in. That is the main reason he published the book.
If you want to read some other content on writing, I really enjoyed the Article given below on writing consistently from Zak Slayback. You can follow him here and/ore on Twitter @zslayback
The Easiest Way to Become a Better Writer
“I’m an aspiring writer and I want to become better. What advice do you have for me?”
I also wrote a summary response to the blog post, which you can find here:
Before you go…
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