2 min read

Let’s get writing!

Picture of notebook with a pen balanced on top in front of a laptop. A white coffee mug is set to the right hand side.
(Main image credit: Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash)

Writing, just like any skill, takes practice. It is easy to assume that most of us have been writing since we were children that we have this mastered. I think most writers will argue that simply isn't the case. It takes time and the mental preparation to focus on it. I love writing. And since launching this site I find myself writing more and more each day (and I am loving that!).

This blog led me down a rabbit hole of curiosity to try and uncover the benefits of writing – to see if there are actually physical and mental benefits. We often hear how reading is good for the brain. The biggest names in business, including Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, have spoken about the books they have read and how reading has fuelled many of their biggest inventions. By reading more, we learn more. We become open to new ideas and are exposed to new ways of thinking. Reading can also be a source of escapism. A time to lose yourself in a book and forget other stresses. But what about writing?

In Amazon, writing is a huge part of the culture. So many documents are produced every day; from business reviews to press releases, roadmaps to promotion documents. Writing is often described as a thinking exercise.

A study in 2018 by Cambridge University Press uncovered some staggering benefits. It showed that just 15-20 minutes of writing each day can reduce stress and improve mental health. It found that writers are able to be more in the moment and maintain focus. Writing can even help manage depression, by building greater Emotional Intelligence.

Those who know me know I love writing on actual paper, and will take a note pad (not my laptop) to meetings. I just can’t type and listen. It piqued my interest to find out if it was just me that "suffered", as I saw so many of my colleagues typing notes in the moment (especially during interviews!). I struggled to type, listen, and process what I was hearing.

I was fascinated to learn that writing with pen and paper can lead to increased brain activity. The process of writing stimulates your brain to remember the information (more so than typing or even writing on a tablet!) The research found that “the unique, complex, spatial and tactile information associated with writing by hand on physical paper is likely what leads to improved memory.”

So how can we build this skill?

Writing like any skills requires practice. I often find that if I am writing a lot, I find starting new narratives and documents easier. If I have taken a break it becomes harder to know where to start. That's why I am challenging myself to write every day (and emails don’t count!) Here are a few ideas of how to practice and hone your writing skills:

  1. Schedule time to write every day - start with writing a line a day and work up from there. It could be documenting what you did, achieved, or challenges you faced (and hopefully overcame)
  2. Write a LinkedIn post - short, snappy, and can be about anything
  3. Write a Press Release about an idea you have - these are used a lot in Amazon and can be a fun way to harness your creativity
  4. Write about a business problem you are facing and document how you would go and solve it
  5. Buy a notebook - carry it around with you and jot down interesting observations or thoughts

I’d love to hear more of your ideas in the comments section below!