Writing Regularity: A Blessed Necessity

Even though you’ve heard much less from me here on the once-regular blog (the least since its beginnings in 2002), I sit behind the keyboard every morning and think about you–the mostly Imaginary Audience of Fragments. Without You I’d sit frozen and motionless, not having a would-be friend to tell my stories to. Finally, it’s okay that you are, mostly, not out there. I still remember and leave a place at the table for you.

And I am still writing most days, invisible behind the store front of the weblog.

As I have mentioned, I continue to harbor the hope of a third book, am making progress in that direction, and am taking some concrete exploratory steps towards potential publication avenues later today.

But I also write because I find that the effort of gathering my thoughts in a structured expressive journaling kind of way generates a number of benefits to body and spirit. Writing regularly has become a matter of psychological hygiene, you might say. Prunes are sometimes required, but mostly, the keystrokes just come naturally from an internal rhythm.

If you have thought “I should really write about ___” but have not yet made expressive writing a part of your daily routine, here is prescription for that new habit that offers a number of potential benefits.

The Psychological Benefits of Writing Regularly

The paragraph from this article that caught my attention, that resonated with me, was the one that briefly discussed “Writing and Gratitude.”

It quotes findings from this longer article (pdf) that finds that people who write regularly (but not too much) about the “good things in their life” were more positive and motivated about their current situations that those who did not write in this way.

Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change

That sounds rather much like the fourteen years of ramblings at Fragments from Floyd.

Yes there are frequent blog posts here about the sorry state of the world, especially our neglect and abuse of the planet and each other. There are occasionally whiny pieces about the weather or the wife  or the dog du jour or the indignities of age.

But mostly, over the years, the blog has been a vehicle for appreciation, celebration and proclamation of the good things in life in Floyd County, on Goose Creek, and under this roof, be it ever so humble.

And I feel certain the gratitude that comes with a deep sense of belonging in place will be woven all through the hoped-for book, should I have enough keystrokes on a regular basis to give birth to it.

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Fred, I appreciate every word that you write.

    Gretchen and I are eternally grateful for having found Floyd through your blog.

    I, too, find that writing every day keeps the juices of Life flowing.

    Carry on!

  2. I read every entry of yours that I find in my “in box”. Wouldn’t miss it for the world! I write regularly as well–and for me, “regularly” is the key word! I wake up early (no later than 5:30), and spend an hour or two at my computer, writing. Even though I continue to develop ideas during the day, it’s those early morning hours that inspire me!

  3. I am not a writer but I am definitely a reader, Fred. You are one of my favorite wordsmiths and I look forward to your posts.

  4. Another Sharon here-in the Midwest. You are my go to for every post you make. I walk those paths with you and watch the buds unfold or wither, whichever the case may be. You give me pause to think and breathe, and I so miss you when you aren’t there. Keeping wring-we are here!!

  5. Focusing on gratitude is a very good practice for mental health. I am no writer, but I have kept a gratitude journal, especially during trying times. I have a very low need to use my brain I just found out. Studying my thoughts and getting them well said on paper is not in the cards for me. I shared a Washington Post article on Facebook regarding this fascinating aspect of human difference that had not come to my attention before. You can be intelligent and not care to think, and you can have a low IQ and enjoy mental challenges.

  6. I am not alone in the wee hours then. Hang on, I’m going to hunker down towards book three, One Place Understood, target pub date spring 2019. Lots of keystrokes and details needed to make this happen.And I need to live long enough of course. But I will excerpt from the book here from time to time if I can. In my silence at Fragments, hear me typing! Thanks for being there.

  7. You’re definitely not alone in the wee hours. I’ve looked forward to your posts for several years after stumbling across your blog (having become enamored of Floyd, though I live outside Cincinnati). Keep writing! You have things to say we want to hear and enjoy!

  8. That phrase ‘Psychological benefits of writing regularly’, struck a chord with me. Have had a journal most of my life, it comes and goes a bit, but it sure makes a difference to be able to articulate your thoughts and record your day, put that on the shelf and then get on with life.

  9. I’d definitely agre with this. Even after 11+ years, I find this one of the best things I do regularly. It serves as a counterweight to all the societal misery our country seems to be going through at the moment.