The upside to writing is almost limitless! Which is fortunate, because few of us gain significant income for our efforts. Here are some of the best things about the writing life for me.
1) It’s good for your brain. Writing requires rational thought, planning, focus, and practice, all of which is good exercise for maintaining one’s intellectual health.
2) It helps develop empathy. Getting inside heads other than one’s own, being able to take the other’s perspective, even express an opinion not one’s own are all conducive to a broader world view.
3) Writers are interesting people. I’ve never met a boring writer—although I can’t say the same for all their spouses! But writers all seem to have rich, complex lives and thoughtful views on everything from history to art.
4) Writing is good for your physical and mental health. Yes, there is actually evidence of this! You can look it up online. Writers get sick less often, heal faster, and are less likely to be depressed.
5) Writing gives you something to think and talk about besides your poor health, job complaints, etc.
6) It makes you a more discerning reader. You notice bad, poor, sloppy writing. You may even drop some formerly favorite authors—which I guess could be a downside, if you look at it that way. But you will appreciate good writing more than ever.
7) When you finish a piece of writing, and especially when something is published, you have a rewarding sense of achievement.
The downsides are fewer, but powerful.
1) It’s difficult and time consuming. Enough said.
2) When it becomes a habit, you feel guilty when you don’t do it.
3) Writing to deadlines can raise your blood pressure and exacerbate your ulcers. (However, you’re less likely to have these issues if you write. See above.)