Five ways writing makes me a more functional human

There are a lot of things I really should do on a daily basis that somehow often don't get done--flossing, taking my vitamins, making the bed, etc. And although I usually manage to squeeze in at least a couple hundred words a day, writing sometimes joins that list. But, just like exercise or time with friends, daily writing is good for me. For some reason, whenever I drag myself out of bed at 5:30 and plink at my keyboard for an hour before stumbling into the shower, the rest of the day seems to go a little more smoothly. In fact, I'm pretty sure that writing makes me try harder, expect more from myself, and overall be a more effective member of the human race. Here's why:

1. It gives me energy

Matt always comments on how much more pleasant I am to be around in the morning, which is absolutely true. After 10:00 at night I am basically useless for any activities other than eating chips in bed and reading back issues of This Old House, but at 7:00 in the morning with an hour of writing under my belt, a hot shower, and freshly blow-dried hair? I am HAPPY and also possibly just a little manic.

2. It kickstarts my sense of accomplishment

I'm one of those people who writes things I've already done on my to-do list just so I can cross them off. So if I've already ripped through 700 words of my current writing project, I'm much more likely to wash the dishes, fold the laundry, and do other necessary chores just so I can be like LOOK I DID ALL THE THINGS.

3. It encourages me to read more

While writing does cut into my reading time, it also keeps books at the front of my brain (not that that's a problem, seeing as how I work in publishing but...) That means I'm much more likely to pick up a book after work than turn on the TV. And, really, I like reading books more than watching TV but once you turn on Glee and remember how adorable Kurt and Blaine are it's just really hard to stop.

4. It makes me read more carefully

There is absolutely no possible way to be a good, or even decent, writer without reading a lot of books. I read novels, particularly in the YA space, to figure out what is good and why. Then I apply that knowledge to my own work. And, bonus, mindful reading makes me a better reader by boosting my comprehension. So then I can get through work submissions just a little faster, which is actually what I have used my birthday candle wishes for over the past two that's good.

5.  It inspires me to live more fully

Just as you can't be a good writer without reading, you can't be a good writer without LIVING. People want to read about interesting situations and characters and I don't know about you but I'm just not that good at making up interesting stuff in my head. So I think about something weird that actually happened to me or someone I know and I twist it around and dip it in food coloring so you'd never know where it came from unless you climbed into my brain. But whenever I don't feel like going out or trying something new, I remind myself that no one wants to read a fictionalized account of the Saturday night I spent sitting at my desk looking at pictures of bald cats and pretending to write chapter six.

What makes you a more functional human? Coffee? The interwebz? I could also add cheese and fuzzy socks to my list...