By Arthur Wang | Reporter
Of the many things today we do to occupy our free time — whether that’s video games, getting into arguments online, or watching cat video compilations at 1:00 a.m. — a lot of these activities tend to just be time-fillers or distractions. Instead of spending yet another hour watching stuff other people have made or virtually shouting at someone, why not try writing something?
Yes, yes, I know. There’s already so much writing that we students are required to do in order to pass our classes, whether those are essays that need to be done in less than an hour or essays that need to be done over the course of a few months (in other words, in less than an hour). When that’s combined with the veritable mountains of pages we have to comb through in our required readings, the idea of further interactions with the written word, let alone writing for fun, sounds considerably less pleasant. But unlike the assignments we have to do in order to graduate, writing for fun is much more relaxed. And then there’s the fact that you’re making something unique to you.
One of the first things I want to get out of the way is that you don’t have to write any specific thing. It can be anything from a story you thought up to a record of the things that happened to you and what you thought about them — and all of those things are helpful in their own ways. Writing a story or even just ideas for a story can help exercise your creativity. Making a journal of your thoughts and events that happened in your life can help you remember them all the better.
Finally, writing about your thoughts and feelings can act as a form of catharsis, a release of emotions, without the stress that an angry rant on Twitter might bring. The paper can be treated the same way a close friend might — without any worries that your friend might blab about any embarrassing incidents or think less of you for getting upset over a stranger’s opinions.
As said before, nearly all school assignments are on some kind of time limit — from the reading for a quiz you’ve got in a few days to the project due at the end of the semester. When it comes to writing for fun, however, you can take as long as you like. There aren’t any rubrics or grading scales for you to worry about, and unless you show other people your work (which you don’t have to do), no one is going to judge.
Writing as a hobby doesn’t suffer from the same issues that writing for school or a job does in that there’s no pressure or judgement from outside forces. But how do you actually begin writing? Well, there are a few things to help you get started:
Do a little bit every day. As with all hobbies, if you try to do too much too fast, you’ll only exhaust yourself. Don’t try to fill a page or two at the very beginning — and don’t plan to make a masterpiece right away.
Carry around a writing utensil and a notepad. Smartphones have notepad apps you can use to write, but they’re also the place where you text your friends or look for gifs of cute animals. By using paper, you can make sure you won’t get distracted.
Don’t be afraid of what you’re writing. This might sound like a strange piece of advice at first, but sometimes the things you think of writing might sound silly, and your response to that might be to avoid writing them. Just remember that you’re ultimately writing for yourself, and that no one else will judge you for what you’ve written — unless you decide to show them, that is.
Writing is a skill that’s being less and less used as time goes on, but it’s still an important one to learn and maintain. Just by writing a little bit each day, you can get more used to expressing your thoughts and ideas.
It might even make that essay a little easier to write when the time comes.