Is writing about your life healing?
I remember driving home from my first writing retreat. It was a fifty mile drive through the backroads of New England on a late winter morning. I was buzzing in the aftermath of having spent two full days with my favorite teacher, and a company of other women nestled around a fire discussing our writing, our work.
It had been years since I devoted any time to the craft of writing. And as I drove with the sun’s rays beaming on my windshield, speeding past snow banks piled up on the sides of the road toward home, I was excited. I had remembered how much I loved writing. I remembered how much I could write. And I was determined to arrive home and make writing a part of my life. I was determined to write my story. I even said to my husband as I reported the events of the weekend, “I am supposed to be writing.”
Yet, me saying I was ready to sit and write my story was a lot like Cheryl Strayed’s character in Wild thinking it would be a good idea to hike the Pacific Coast Trail. That moment in the hotel room when she stared at her hundred pound backpack, trying to hoist it onto her back realizing that she might have bitten off more than she could chew? That pretty much was me sitting at my computer for months. There I was trying to navigate the discipline, wrangle the doubt and muster the confidence to keep going.
I spent hours of my day reliving the pain of a difficult part of my life. I spent months sifting through a past I was still trying to understand. When I finished the first draft, a writer friend of mine who volunteered to read it said, “It must have been cathartic to write your story.” I winced.
I didn’t write my story with the intention to think it would heal me. Do we ever really know what form our healing needs to take anyway? When I take a closer look, I realize the catharsis lives in the writing practice itself. It wasn’t in the what I was writing. It was that I was writing, period.
And, writing simply for the sake of writing, teaches me not only how to look at life, but also shows me where I haven’t maybe looked before.
If this resonates, then perhaps we should write together. Hold each other accountable. Get some work done. And if we happen to heal from something because of it, then bonus.
My next course Flash Memoir focuses on true stories and is just about full. If you want to grab one of the last spots then click here to enroll. No scheduled meetings. You write whenever you want. I provide accountability, feedback, prompts and community. One scheduled call is optional.
If you are interested in future courses then click here. My courses are for all levels writers from people who think they can’t write, to published authors, to curious journal writers. The courses are prompt based and run the gamut from story telling, letter writing, ten minute free writes, to month long narratives. We write. We share. We love.