It’s early in my blogging relationship and I wanted to write for a purpose. I wanted to get all the voices in my head out and give them a place to feel at home. This blog is the one of the best places for it. For as long as I can remember I have loved the art of writing. I wrote songs when I was first able to form sentences, later I realized I had ZERO talent generating a song that was lyrically sound. Later, I began toying with poems and when I get more comfortable here I may share some here. My high school career began and writing projects became a little more in depth. That’s when I was thrown to the wolves. My papers were torn to apart regarding grammar and flow. My senior year I dropped my creative writing class because I didn’t want to suffer through more criticism.
Fast forward to my sophomore year of college, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up so I bounced around a few different majors; while on this journey of self-discovery I found a class titled “Youth Literature”. It sounded interesting, I loved to read and I had a joy in writing even if everyone told me I was terrible at it. So I decided to take a chance. I fell in love. The love of the writing process and perspective. I say perspective because we were required to read the books on the syllabus and then give our perspective of the story. My professor was brilliant, he didn’t tell us we were right or wrong. He encouraged me to look into the depth of stories, feel what the characters feel. The class was surrounded around developing our writing and to really look at what a story is made of. For the mid-term I had to write paragraphs regarding the two books we had read. It was raw writing, we wrote in blue books without drafting or revision. It was amazing and I loved it. The coolest part? I was good at it. I was scoring A’s on my papers and on my perspectives. My professor told me I had a “knack” for it. I began to write short stories for fun and I used my journal for reference points. So here we are, me taking the plunge into my writing “career” and I look forward to the ride.
All of the above was just the precursor to me developing a faith in my writings and following the feeling I should attempt to share my thoughts with the world. But that doesn’t touch on the therapy behind it all. Personally, I have kept a journal for over 20 years, I am 33. My journal writing began as a church experiment to find our spirituality, and I found that it helped in other areas of me. I began to write about all my various childhood loves and drama; you know, that time before Facebook and twitter? Teenage angst was written out on lined pages, kept locked with a tiny lock. You know, to keep out younger siblings nosy eyes. All while listening to the tunes of The Verve Pipe or My Chemical Romance.
It was a place where my teenage brain could call my mom names (you know you did it too) without repercussions or I could confess my love to the boy I grew up with and he had no idea I thought he was cute. It was single-handedly the best way for me to learn who I was. Writing and listening to music molded me into who I am, they gave me the coping skills I have today. I looked into if there was any real research behind writing and the support behind it being therapeutic.
Benefits of writing
Helpscout.net/blog has a post about this very subject, a couple of their notes included that writing in whatever format can lead to more goal achievements, happiness, clearer thoughts, coping with difficult life episodes, and improving verbal skills.
The research in the post mentioned a couple different studies done on various types of life situations. One of them was regarding engineers who had been let go from their jobs. They were challenged to write about their job search and the stress of finding a new job. Those who wrote actually found jobs more quickly than those who were in the control group and didn’t do the writing project.
Writing helps hold you accountable, it helps remind you of your own goals and desires. It’s easy to get lost in the tangle of the world and forget yourself in all the hustle and bustle.
I won’t launch into how you too can have your most inspirational journal moments by following the next five steps. Instead, I want to encourage you. If you want to keep a journal then write when the feeling strikes (sometimes that is 4 am for me!), if you want to keep a gratitude notebook to help you keep perspective or even a notebook to write seething letters to your boss (or ex) then burn the book. GO AHEAD! If you have zero desire to write but want to find a way to be more reflective, then find that outlet that speaks to you. Run in the morning, do Yoga, learn mediation, start a blog! The possibilities are endless in this very digital world we live in.
What are your favorite personal growth or therapy outlets?