Social Media plopped something in my lap today that I found fascinating: Writing is good for you. My friend Wanda shared an article on Facebook that prompted a click: Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write by Rachel Grate. It turns out that people who write contribute measurably to their own physical and mental health. I wasn’t really shocked that writing is good for you, but how good it is for you.
The benefits include less stress, better sleep, lower blood pressure, faster healing, etc., etc., etc. I thought this was relevant material for what is ostensibly a business blog. I’ve often encountered the therapeutic impact that creating content has on the small business owner’s psyche. A common refrain I’ve heard is, “I feel better after posting to my blog.” Regardless of its size, running a business can be stressful. There are positive and negative cycles to surf. Lots of money usually means lots of work. No work means no money. Only for brief periods do we experience a balance between the two, if ever. Think of a mechanical metronome swaying back and forth. Writing, even about business, can keep us from becoming dizzy.
Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, a family and addictions therapist based in both Malibu and Manhattan, says, “It’s no small reason that writing is used as a clinical tool in most recovery programs.” He goes on to describe how effective writing can be for trauma survivors. For those same reasons, he believes, writing can help us quell the fears we face in our business practices. For instance, if you run a client-based practice such as a consultancy, you may get frustrated at times that your clients aren’t listening to you. You have a voice in your content. As soon as you push send, you’ll likely feel better as you thrust your thoughts out into the ether.
New York City acting teacher John Howard Swain talks about the positive feeling he gets from writing his blog, “I always feel a sense of gratitude when I’m drafting an article. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community of artists and actors that have given so much to me.” Other small business owners have described how posting to their blog and/or social media makes them feel like they’re taking a positive step towards the success of their business, especially during low ebbs.
Ms. Grate states in her article, “Cancer patients who write have more optimistic perspectives and improved quality of life.” Perhaps there’s no better example of this than Brenda Michaels. She co-authored a book with Marsha Mercant titled The Gift of Cancer: A Miraculous Journey to Healing about Brenda’s life-threatening ordeal with the dreaded C-word. The women joined forces with Marla Williams to form Intentional Shift to turn the book into a movement espousing, among other things, the impact that sharing your story has on your overall health and wellbeing.
Something that I’ve witnessed in dealing with my clients is how writing about their field of expertise can bolster self-esteem and self-confidence. It has a way of warding off nagging doubts and fears while validating that they have something to contribute. Not to mention how satisfying it can be to watch a body of work grow over time. Writing is important enough to me that it’s on my daily to-do list. It doesn’t matter what I write – whether it’s for my own blog or someone else’s, or whether it’s business, personal or creative – I derive the same satisfaction. As far as I’m concerned, content marketing can pay dividends that never hit your bank account but that are no less valuable.