Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts,
to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences,
to give artistic expression to what we are living,
and to store significant events in our memories.
Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.
~ Henri Nouwen
riters, start your pens! Or your computers. Today, the 2012 WordCount Blogathon begins. I went back and looked at my posts from last year ~ out of 31 possible posts, I wrote only 10! That is pretty. . . .sad. But I refuse to become discouraged! One can only go up from the pit! And so I write!
Writing is a great gift. First, it is a gift we give to ourselves. As the 20th century theologian Henri Nouwen said, it “can help us. . .get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts.” I have often faced an emotional, psychological, financial, or relational crisis ~ large or small ~ and helped myself tremendously by expressing my frustrations, grief, or disappointments on paper. Not that the problems all went away, of course. Some did but only because when I was finished writing about them, I saw that the reality wasn’t as tragic or insane as I first believed.
Sometimes writing helps us to let go, gives us permission to grieve. Death of a loved one, of a dream, a relationship, a hope, of a grudge even.
Beliefs have been changed by writing. Once you lay something out on paper, in black and white, you finally see the impossibility and lunacy of what you thought to be true. And sometimes you are forced to accept the truth of something you once thought could only be insanity.
Writing also helps commit things to memory. Memory is a tricky little muscle, prone to bribes from other sources of the brain that try to cook the books. (Yes, I’m talking about you, Mr. Limbic System!) Easier to thwart his corruptive ways if you can write down exactly what happened, what you felt right then; and then go back and re-read what you wrote and add new insights.
But our writing can also help others. It can serve as a warning (don’t do what I just did!), entertainment (did you hear about the….?), spiritual guide (this way to peace and serenity), informative (news – national or family), or understanding support (I know how you feel/I’m right here with you).
And our writing does not have to be Pulitzer material to be any of those things. Something as simple as writing down who is in what pictures, what date it was taken, and what you felt about what you were doing that day will help you remember what you may one day forget, as well as put more colourful threads in the fabric of your family life.
Sometimes the audience we reach is “out there.” More often than not, the audience is right here, bent over a keyboard or a pad of virgin lined paper, scribbling out a trail of breadcrumbs that we hope will lead us back to ourselves.
Oremus pro invicem,
Why do you write? Have you ever solved a problem just by “writing it through?”