How Writing Can Help You to Understand Yourself

Outlet. It’s the word we use to describe how writing transforms us, or how we transform it. We are getting it out, corralling all the chaos. Mostly, we are learning to put the most acute parts of us on paper, where they can’t continue to overshadow our reality. How can writing help you understand yourself? By giving your heart a chance to be free.

Journaling

Yesterday’s thoughts, prayers, and worries may seem inconsequential to you now, and you may be surprised at how readily those issues are eventually resolved. Final exams, landing your first job, and attracting your first date are now immaterial concerns that once consumed your little world. Many times, trusting that the future will turn out okay involves looking back and remembering how things worked out in the past. Journaling can help you to commemorate small successes and keep your current woes in perspective.

Blogging

During my first few chaotic months as an adoptive parent, there were few things that mitigated my self-doubt more than reading the posts of other folks who had adopted children internationally and dealt with aggression, language barriers, and developmental delays that eventually ironed themselves out. Friends and family members tried to give support, but none had jumped into parenting during the school-aged years and they couldn’t help me normalize my experience. Blogging can help you to organize your problems and develop solutions, but it also helps other parents in that “wow, I’m glad it’s not just me!” kind of way. You never know who else out there has ten-year-olds who can’t tie their shoes yet, and you will be glad to hear they are in their corner!

The Write Life

Ray Charles once said that “I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me – like food or water.” If you are a writer, it is hard to make sense of life without reciting in your head and jotting it down on paper. That is not something you should fight! Don’t be afraid to express your feelings, hopes and dreams in language and sensitivity that is all your own. If you find it hard to live without the power of the written word, you may have been born to create it. As Cicero said, “a room without books is like a body without a soul.”

Diggin’ Deep

There is nothing more frightening than not knowing where your feelings of anxiety or sorrow are coming from. The hurtful words, confusing experiences, and loneliness that the world levels at us each day come pouring out in structured sentences, where they have names and are no longer indefinable. Here, we can begin to celebrate the power and uniqueness of our journeys, and know that there is a purpose to our pain. We can hit backspace, ignore our critics, and dream all over a blank piece of paper.

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