Sandra Rodriguez Barron
1. Sleep. If you write about what matters to you, your demons will feel "heard" and they'll leave you alone at night. Talking to others is one way to process life, of course, but there are things you just aren't ready to share. Journaling or fictionalizing our emotions is a way to express it, process it, and perhaps even synthesize it into art. If we keep it all inside, we find we can't sleep and that can snowball to expressing this pain in destructive ways. Writing allows us to let out the steam slowly and steadily. I think everyone should journal, whether or not they want to write for the public.
2. Empathy. The writer is a lot like the actor in that she has to slip into the body and mind of another; to inhabit worlds in which she herself does not exist. I think this is why many writers are also involved in social causes. The act of writing engages the heart and mind with the outside world and squeezes out the selfish part. To write a good story you have to care about people, to notice how they behave, and to try to figure out why.
3. Community. Writing brings with it the opportunity to meet other like-minded people. From writers' critique circles to people you meet at conferences, people you learn from or teach, to readers who reach out on social media with their comments, each step in the life of a book brings new opportunities to meet writers and readers. You can't beat that feeling of being with kindred spirits!