Life,  Work in progress

Why we write: self-expression

Writing for self-expression, image by Blaise van Hecke
Writing for self-expression, image by Blaise van Hecke

In my last blog, I talked about writing for significance, one of many reasons that people write. Self-expression is probably one of the first reasons that people start to write. And for many writers, the need to write is a compulsion or a way to offload, some feeling wound up if they can’t get back to this form of creating (it may be similar for other art forms).

Have you ever gone through adversity or struggled to come to terms with something but found it too hard to verbalise it to anyone? This is a very common experience. Writing it down can be the bridge between the writer, and a better understanding of a situation. In the act of writing, the problem may solve itself, or the writer may find a way to express it verbally to another person. The writing becomes an avenue of self-expression and therapy – quite a powerful activity and one to have been known to save a person from real pain and depression.

At some point, this act of self-expression may move from scribbling in a journal in private, to further outcomes like short stories, novels, poetry and memoir. This is a natural progression as the writer becomes more confident.

In the act of writing, no matter what genre, the writer gets to express beliefs, values, and ideas in a way that invites the reader to engage with them. It’s like having a private conversation with another person without interruption and fear of rejection. The writer can write his or her own truth and put it out there. It may be received in a positive way, or not, but it allows the writer to have a voice.

So while many people think to be a writer you need to be writing something commercial that earns money, it’s worth looking at the many facets to writing. The end result, where money is made, isn’t the whole story.

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