Both writing and meditation involve taking thoughts as the raw material and processing them in various ways. In mindfulness meditation, we try to observe them calmly as they rise and fall like waves. With writing, we try to document them after focusing them toward a certain direction. Or in some cases like free style writing practice, we don't try too hard for a topic or direction, we just let them flow as in the case of mindfulness meditation. Hence, free style writing has a lot in common with mindfulness meditation than other forms of writing.
The mind is a very mysterious object, we ourselves don't know what all beautiful (and horrible!) things it is capable of churning out. Right from the literary masterpieces of renowned authors to the hate speeches and vile propaganda of ruthless dictators, its power has been demonstrated throughout history for both good and bad things. How beautiful is the fact that one can write at all, that one can not only dwell upon multiple coherent thoughts but also has the ability to record and organize them through the medium of a pen or keyboard for the benefit of everyone else.
In the digital age, this great potential of the mind is often undermined. We have lost the inner creativity somewhere, we have become so materialistically oriented that technical acts like filling an online form or logging into a website are considered more important to master than the "boring" act of learning the writing craft. What you need to do right now is to put that laptop/phone/tablet aside, close your eyes for a while, take a deep breath and then start to think what all you are capable of doing, writing, singing or even thinking! You will soon find that you are a whole lot more than the external self you think you are. You are lot more than just a face in the crowd, you have your own distinct individuality and identity. You have a distinct essence and a soul which is totally unique in this universe.
The best part about writing is that you start getting to know yourself better as you write more and more! You see, writing isn't an easy task. You must look inward, deep inside your consciousness and the realms of thoughts, that's where you find your inspiration and writing material. And the more you venture into those areas, you'll start becoming more aware of the size and structure of the roads and bridges and subways out there. You will find aspects of your personality which were totally unknown to you until now, you will get to know them as you keep writing.
Free style writing practice also helps you with other more concrete forms of writing such as writing essays, business letters and quotations, technical and financial articles, etc. For when you start writing from the heart, everyone starts appreciating you because then it touches their hearts too!
Another benefit of writing is that you document your life and individuality on the sands of time. I wish more and more people start writing, now that it has become so much easier and convenient. In the 1800s, how do you think a plebeian would have reacted if he were told that its not only possible to publish his own periodical called "blog" which can be read by millions of viewers across the world through a medium called "internet", but its also absolutely free of cost to do so? Pretty sure he'd have said that you have lost your marbles! Also pretty sure that he'd have written some of the most insightful stories or articles if given a chance to publish online.
Yes, there was a time when we used to dwell upon our individuality and soul more than the external world, simply because there were very few entertaining things in the external world. There were no iphones and tablets and laptops, there was no 52" smart TVs or Netflix to entertain us. That was the time when becoming an artist wasn't a privilege or dream but rather, anyone could become an artist! Everyone had the potential to do just about anything.
I feel that the digital age has turned us into compliant puppets or consumerism zombies. We behave as if we are a unique person but there is a great uniqueness crisis or void deep inside our hearts, and there is an urgent need to address it. Writing is just one way of addressing it and so is meditation, there are other art forms too. Whatever it is that suits you, just do it and discover yourself. Be YOURSELF and express YOURSELF from the heart, not that artificial self which is ever compliant and obedient toward societal pressures and self-imposed political correctness.