Hobby for the Soul: Writing

Book Author Amanda Dickson, Deseret News Columnist Ann Cannon and Blogger Annie Valentine weigh in on the personal benefits of writing and how to get motivated to express yourselves through words.

“I’ll be honest. Sometimes I DON’T like to write. I look at the blank white page and freeze–as though I’m standing at the edge of a snowfield without a coat on. What if I have nothing to say? Or what if I DO have something to say, but it isn’t worth saying?

When I feel like this, I do a “free write”–I grab a notebook and a pen, pull a noun out of my Magic Noun Hat, and write about it for ten minutes. I don’t worry about spelling or punctuation or even if I’m making sense. I just write everything I can think of associated with that noun WITHOUT STOPPING. By the time I finish, I feel less anxious. I say to myself, yeah. I can do this.

Here’s what I like about writing—or at least about having written. I don’t know what I think, sometimes, until it’s on paper. The act of shaping my thoughts with words helps me sort through the stuff tumbling around inside of me. I think I’d go crazy if I didn’t write.”

-Ann Cannon, Columnist, Deseret News

“Being a mother and a wife is wonderful, but it can also be soul sucking. Some women need to run, some need to cook, I need to write. There are times when the only way to figure out what’s the matter is to sit down and write it out. And there’s nothing that beats the mental sigh that comes from watching my feelings materialize in a tangible form. “See?” I say to myself, “Look at that, I’m not crazy after all!” And that’s why I write.
When I can’t think of anything to say, but desperately need a little time alone with my thoughts, I like to use this simple exercise.”

-Annie Valentine, Blogger, www.regardingannie.wordpress.com

“Writing is, as it turns out, my only hobby. I’ve tried my hand at other things over the years, but nothing stuck. I am a journaler and a blogger too – I just write wherever I can, not always with an eye toward the words being read. It feeds my soul and helps me figure out where I’m going.
The only writing exercise I have is to do it – to write – sometimes mindlessly. If I don’t feel like I can write on topic, I write off topic. I just write. That’s sometimes what the journal is for. I complain about petty things, wander around, talk about food – and something will occur to me in the wandering. So . . . I write in order to write. ”

-Amanda Dickson, Author, “Change it Up!”

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