Power Of Words: How Reading & Writing Shape Our Lives

Have you ever found yourself lost in the enchanting world of a book while someone else breezes through it in one sitting?

I have both examples at my home.

‘Papa takes forever to finish a book,’ my daughter remarks.

‘What’s the hurry,’ I reply.

I savour every word, allowing it to marinate in my mind like a rich, flavoursome dish.

If I like a line or a paragraph, I reread it. If I find myself lost in the labyrinth of the writer’s words, I set out on an adventure, retracing my steps and decoding their hidden message. If I cannot visualise the part I read, I reread it.

It doesn’t matter to me if a book takes a week, fortnight, or a month to complete. It’s not a race. I read for pleasure. I do it my way. I need to enjoy doing it.

Sara, my daughter, mostly finishes a book in a day. So, she says.

Sometimes, I raise an eyebrow and challenge her with a mischievous grin, ‘Oh? Prove it!’

‘You ask me any question from any page, and I will answer it correctly,’ Sara responds.

Both of us follow different speeds, but we enjoy reading. Give us a book, and our eyes light up.

Sara spends most of her time reading. Everything else takes a backseat. Nothing gets completed on time.

It’s strange how the same habit can have good and bad consequences. I have tried to explain to Sara to keep a balance, but it hasn’t helped.

She does overdo it but I am glad she reads.

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Frederick Douglass

Reading: The Gateway to Writing

Reading is among the best habits to inculcate. I began reading well as a child but lost touch when I became an adult. I resumed during middle age and often agonise over the decades that I lost the habit.

I wish I hadn’t.

Intrinsically linked to reading is writing. You tend to write better if you read more.

My writing pattern didn’t mirror my reading until now. I never wrote regularly during my growing-up years. Nor did I after I began my professional career. It is only now that I am regular. I wish I had done that all my life.

Since I couldn’t, I tried to get Sara to begin writing early. So far, she hasn’t taken to it. While reading comes naturally to her, writing is a push. I’ve stopped pushing now. It won’t be fun for her if it doesn’t come from within.

You’ve got to enjoy doing it. That’s when it develops and grows on you. You tend to shine at things you’re passionate about. No one prods you to do it. You pick it up at the first available opportunity. That’s what passion does.

If you’re reading this, you are probably an avid reader.

But do you write?

When you do, you will get to know yourself better. It will develop your thoughts besides many other advantages.

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

Anne Frank

Embracing the Joy of Writing

Writing has been a game-changer for me and has helped me in many ways:

  • What I enjoy most about writing is that it has been therapeutic. It calms me in a manner nothing else does. Once you get into the habit of writing, you will experience what I mean.
  • Writing allows me to express myself fully. A practice much needed for healthy mental development. We all need a vent to let out. Our thoughts and feelings get suppressed within us, leading to undesirable outcomes.
  • As an introvert, writing is the best way to share my stories. Or views. Consider this: you have a lot to say, your opinions are strong, and you are passionate about issues close to your heart. But you may feel uncomfortable speaking about it in public. Writing opens a way to let it out without physically facing the public.
  • I get to document my thoughts, feelings, and experiences forever. It remains on the web for future generations to know me. And the wider world to sample.
  • Nothing is more fulfilling if you have something to share that can benefit others. You may have acquired insights through years of experience. But what good is it if it remains within you or is limited only to your near ones? Once you experience the impact of sharing, you will be glad you did.

I can go on and on. But it’s more gratifying when you discover it yourself. So, go, do it!

Cultivating the Habit

Let’s say you want to start. But you can do only one thing between reading and writing. What will you choose?

I’d suggest what Sara does.

Reading opens your mind. It expands your comprehension and knowledge. It can help you later one day when you start writing.

Not reading won’t have the same effect on writing. It will limit you.

I urge you to try both.

You should read whenever you find time outside your daily chores.

Writing requires discipline. The best way to write is to set aside time each day. If you’re an early riser like me, you could start your day by putting pen to paper. Your mind is fresh and the early morning silence helps.

It will grow on you when you form a habit of reading, writing, or both. You will cherish being with yourself. You will enjoy the process of reflection. You will look forward to life.

Go, get it!

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