When you write with the intention to heal, amazing growth can occur that creates a ripple effect of good in your life. Writing to heal will clear the way for the writing to get published down the road. Think of it as a kind of spring cleaning, clearing of the decks, preparing of the soil, or any other words that help you remember how writing to heal can lay the foundation that you can then build a solid writing career upon.
And if you are already in the midst of your writing career and find yourself standing on shaky or uncomfortable ground, writing to heal can help restore balance and a feeling of wholeness. When the stakes are high and you’ve got a lot on your plate, it’s not a bad idea to restore a little faith in yourself. That’s exactly what writing to heal does.
I am no stranger to writing to heal. I spent several years after I completed my coursework at Columbia College Chicago just writing to repair my own cracked foundation. Then several years later, I switched gears and began writing for publication. Naturally, the latter went a lot better than it would have had I not spent years focused on filling notebooks with every thought, complaint, fear and worry.
Have I been perfectly neurosis-free ever since? Of course not. But those years of self-inquiry freed me from the perfectionism prison that I had, unwittingly, been living inside. They loosened the chokehold that my perceptions of other people had on me. And they allowed me to just be myself in a more authentic and integrated way.
Of course, none of these changes happened quickly. They all occurred gradually and continue to unfold even when I don’t devote the lion’s share of my energy to writing to heal. That’s because the payoff of writing to heal has long-term benefits. There were things I learned during those years that I will never forget.
I don’t believe that there is any perfect opportunity for writing to heal; you just have to make time for it the best you can. But I do believe that if you need to heal but avoid it, your unhappiness will create roadblocks to your success. So don’t be ashamed if you feel like perhaps you need to put writing for publication aside, and focus your energy on writing to heal instead.
If you are unsure, just ask yourself a couple of questions like those I began this piece with. Do you know what kind of prisons you are living inside? Do you know how to write your way out? If not, I recommend devoting time and energy to the process on a regular basis if you feel that writing to heal might benefit you. Best of luck on your writing-to-heal journey! Here are some books that can help you get started:
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Writing Down the Bones by Nathalie Goldberg
Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything by Cheri Huber
Your Heart’s Desire by Sonia Choquette
Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach