Writing as Therapy

It’s been a long time since I last blogged. I have been dealing with some big personal problems since March and haven’t had time for technical work or the will to blog on anything. I have however been doing a lot of private writing or journalling. So I would like to talk a little about writing as therapy.

So far I have written 73,000 words in 5 months in a private journal. According to the wikipedia entry on word count that is nearly enough words for two full length novels.

Every day I open a text editor and write about what has been going on, what I have been worrying about, and in particular – how I have felt. Some times I combine the writing with exercise, like riding my bike to a cafe with my laptop to write and think. If I don’t have my laptop I jot down a few notes on paper as thoughts enter my mind, then type them up later.

I think it helps. Perhaps getting the thoughts down means getting them out of your head. It makes you express the ideas clearly, rather than half formed thoughts. It’s really interesting to go back a few months, read what you wrote, and see your thoughts and emotions evolving.

Another useful technique is writing an email that you don’t send. When there is a lot of tension it can be really difficult to write an email. It’s easy to tie yourself in knots trying to get the wording right. It’s hard to write while trying to avoid offense or unnecessary hurt. But the problem is you really need to express the bad stuff. Unfortunately if you say what you really feel, or even just mess up the wording, it can make the situation much worse.

So I have gotten into the habit of writing what I really feel, then not sending the email. Sometimes it helps to print it, or just save it as a draft. Tip: remove the intended recipient from the “To:” box – avoids embarrassing accidents.

10 thoughts on “Writing as Therapy”

  1. Best of luck to you David during your hard times. I’ve always really enjoyed your writing. I’ve also learned quite a bit from you.

    Take care.

  2. Glad to have you back, David. I hope you can come to a satisfactory conclusion to your issues.

    I’ll tell ya, being a responsible adult is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    Jeff

  3. I’m sure I speak for many when I say that your postings have been missed. You have contributed much and many have benefited. I hope you’ll be able to get back to your projects soon. Best wishes to you.

  4. David,

    Writing has been very important to me. At times when I felt helpless with anger, writing was a way to do something about it and not be helpless any longer. Mine was a different situation and I was able to publish my writing. What I found was that a lot of people were angry in the same way, but that they didn’t have the words to articulate their anger, and were grateful that I had given them the words. Even though publishing your current writing would be harmful, please remain aware that you are not alone.

    It is always a conflict to follow your muse and to fulfill obligations. That some of us get through it at all is more luck than anything else.

    Bruce

  5. David,

    Your writings and work are an inspiration to me and everyone I have pointed to your website. My best wishes to you and your family.

    Take care,

    Bob Boerner

  6. IMESHO, writing things down will get them processed in ways which don’t happen while they’re sitting idly in synapses.

    I say too much too fast anyway, so writing may not seem so necessary for me, however on the occasions when I have taken the time to write things out (-: if you ever see my hand-writing, the reasons underlying my strong preference for a keyboard will become instantly obvious :-) it has always helped to identify/crystallise/resolve whatever is being written.

    People (particularly blokes) tend to write off “feelings” very lightly, however since feelings change what you do, & may carry “broadband” details absent from a written description, discarding them is not a good approach.

  7. I was missing you and had no idea what was going on until now.

    I never managed to get over quite a few things until I had a chance to write them down, and re-read them – sometimes, years later. Publishing was not required – although it proved helpful – in breaking my internal ice and pain so that I could see clearly a path to the other side.

    Welcome to the path to the other side. There’s suns shining in it, beautiful dawns and dusks left to savor, and peace to be found.

    I adore your writing and your projects and have missed reading/seeing you very much. Keep on healing!

  8. I couldn’t agree more. I write every few days and find it very helpful. I’ve also done the email/letter thing on occasion

    I wish you best with life, both professional and personal.

  9. Hi David,

    I’m sorry I haven’t been following your blog for over a year. I hope you are completely healed of whatever ails you. When we were working together, you held yourself to a very high standard, and worked to that standard. You have therefore done a lot of good things while raising kids. I would not have had anywhere near as much energy as you. I hope you always find ways to re-energize when you need it.

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