Writings are almost eternal! Whether it is fiction or philosophy, information from eons has reached us through literary works. Great thinkers across the planet have reformed the world through their literature. In the ancient world, whether saint or seeker, writing their perspective was a common practice. Hence, we come across all kinds of scriptures, from atheistic viewpoints to realizing this entire creation as the Divine.
Many saints recorded their experiences. Sometimes, they also documented meeting notes. While it’s clear why the saints composed their work, why did the seekers write? Especially if they didn’t have anything much to say besides what’s out there? Welcome to the world of Writing Sadhana or, in more modern terms, Writing Therapy.
Sadhana or Therapy of Writing
The Sadhana of Therapeutic Writing has numerous benefits and can supplement other forms of emotional healing. For one, writing therapy is cost-effective compared to visiting a counselor! If you’re an influential kind, you can post your work on writing forums like os.me and even earn some moolah for this therapy. If you aren’t the one who can open up to this world, you can privately exercise this cure. Whichever route you choose, Writing Sadhana can promote your personal and spiritual growth.
A simple journal or diary entry can make a meaningful difference. However, writing as a Sadhana is different from that. In a journal, we can scribble whatever we like. Journals promote noting events or expressing random thoughts. On the other hand, Writing Therapy is structured writing. In this, you need to take an idea, expand on it, and write a proper essay about it. You have to polish and create a finished product. The entire process counts.
Benefits of Structured Writing
- Our worldly fulfillment comes from using both our logical and creative sides. Structured writing is a powerful Sadhana that can help us achieve that. Identifying a topic and improvising on it kindles our creativity. Planning, organizing, and presenting our work nurtures our analytical aspect.
- We all have our share of traumatic events. Those sit in our subconscious minds and hinder our happiness. Quoting the American poet Maya Angelou — There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Opening up about our distress unleashes our trauma and reduces our burden.
- When we write formally, we tend to be a lot more focused. That’s where the healing happens. In 2005, Baikie & Wilhelm at Cambridge University conducted a study on writing therapy. They observed that participants who wrote about their personal experiences for four days in a row, for 15-20 minutes each, had a significant improvement in their physical and psychological health.
- To write a page of quality content, we have to gather about three pages worth of information! That’s a 3:1 ratio between input and output. In the long run, this process enriches us intellectually and aids in improving our memory. Also, reading good literature increases our worldly awareness that subdues our insecurities.
- Expressing ourselves routinely through structured writing promotes clarity of thought. The process requires analyzing our thoughts and categorizing them. That clears our mental clutter. Perhaps, it would be fair to say, writing kept many saints and philosophers in a meditative state.
Writing Tips For Beginners
- Personal Experience: For those writing as therapy, finding a topic can be daunting. Hence, sharing your truth, that is, writing about your personal experience, can be helpful.
- Finding an Idea: We can’t write without a topic, and we can’t finalize an idea before writing. That is a chicken and egg story. How do we solve this? Scribbling! Yes, you heard me right. I jot down everything that comes to my mind. When my mind stops rambling, I read through that dump. In there lies the seed, the main idea of my next post.
- Idea more than Language: As they say, content is the king. While an elegant style of writing can help, most readers don’t care about the rich language. Interestingly, many writers tone down their work. If you have a decent theme, a brush-up of your 8th grade English lessons can make you a good writer.
- Following a Format: If we observe many famous writers’ works, we can find that they all adhered to specific formats. That became their writing style. One simple pattern is the introduction, body, and conclusion. That is, you give an overview of the topic or issue without providing much detail. Then, you slowly build up the article and conclude with a lingering thought.
- 500 Words a Day: You can’t be a writer without writing! If you consistently pump out 500 words a day, you can tame this beast sooner than you think. For an average writer, one idea generates about 500 words. So, we can safely state, writing one ideology a day is a great goal.
Pointers For Bloggers
- What’s in it for me: If you write for an audience, kindness can help. People read our work for a couple of reasons. Either they relate to us as a person. Or, they’re getting something out of our writing. The reader comes with the mindset of what’s in it for me. Instead of pleasing your audience, if you strive to enrich them, you’re a distinguished author.
- Three concepts for a blog: A typical blog (1000 words) becomes enriching when it has around three concepts — one primary and two supporting. For example, the central theme of this article is writing. Yet, merely advising my readers to write won’t make for a good piece. So, I’ve resorted to my two supporting ideas. The first is explaining how writing is a Sadhana or therapy. The second is providing pointers to encourage budding writers.
- Review and Choosing words: A person who doesn’t review is not an author! Improper formatting, typos, and incorrect grammar can throw off readers. Typically, I ignore the grammar in my first draft. However, I’m brutal with my reviews. Additionally, I run it through Grammarly (I have a paid version) and also perform a vocabulary check.
- Using the Power of Images: Images can bring life to our writeup. Many websites offer free images, but I prefer to make customized images with parts purchased from Shutterstock. I also frequent Unsplash and the free poster tool Canva. To support slower systems, I optimize them using Squoosh.
- SEO Optimization: In the last year, my blog’s readership has grown exponentially. What caused that? Divine Grace, the writing practices mentioned above, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO helps Google and other search engines locate our work. Dedicated bloggers can benefit from learning some SEO basics. This topic is an ocean, but you can get a head-start from experts like Yoast.