It’s no surprise that writing is good therapy. It’s a bridge between the writer and his or her emotions. It’s a safe place where we can expose ourselves without recrimination, in turn making sense of those emotions. It’s a way to help us articulate things that might be terrifying to say out loud.
If that’s all we do with this writing, that’s okay. It’s been worthwhile to sit and spill ourselves onto the page. We may never want these thoughts to be ‘out there’ in the wild. Why is that? Is it because we are too frightened to expose our true self? Is it because we don’t want to make people uncomfortable with our deep dark secrets? Are we worried that we will be judged?
While terrifying, that next step where we offer these thoughts out to a reader can be powerful. Is that too strong a word? I don’t think so. By taking this next step, by owning our truth, we take ownership and that is empowering. But why? Who wants to know these truths?
By nature we are curious creatures. Anyone who wants to learn and grow wants to know the truth about everything. This is the only way we become better people. By seeing into someone’s heart, we gain so much knowledge about humanity and ourselves. We want to know how it feels to be you and what makes you tick. We want to know what it really feels like when you are lost and broken and how you mended yourself. We want to know how a person loves another, what it feels like to lose a love, what it feels like to face death, what it feels like to attain a goal, what it feels like to be scared and lonely, what it feels like to feel loved and fulfilled – just some of the many things we all want to know.
These truths can be offered up in many ways in writing. They can be poems, stories, memoir. There is truth in all writing, whether fact or fiction. Good writing. The more truthful, the better the writing will be. Authentic, real, honest, plain truths.
And guess what? Your honesty will touch someone. It will connect to someone who also feels what you feel but doesn’t know how to articulate it. They will read it and say, ‘Yes! That’s just what I think, what I feel, what I know. How does this person know me so well? Maybe I’m not the only one?’
Our stories are really all we have in the end. They define us whether we like it or not. It’s up to us what we do with them, whether we let them rule us. Or we can harness them and throw them back out into the world. We can share them with others and reduce our own loneliness as well as theirs.
If you need some guidance about life writing, check out the upcoming Life Writing Seminar on Saturday 11 May.