Writing Is More Than Just Writing: It’s Self-Discovery, Growth & Healing

writing is more than writing
Photo by Cottonbro

It’s early morning, the time I usually write, but today I am sipping coffee and reading.

I recently discovered a writer’s website with some real substance to it. Yesterday, they published a piece by a young and successful writer whose essay was written by me. Well, not literally, but I could have written it, at least parts of it.

It’s entitled “Being a Real Writer,” and in it, the author touches the places I hide, reveals the insights I have every time I write something meaningful. She says out loud what I’ve thought about being accepted as a writer and how it is so intimately connected to the vulnerability of being accepted as a person.

She knows my struggle to allow the internal to be revealed as my external. The words come from my soul when I write like this. For most, that which comes from there is never meant to be exposed. It is a place intended as a private, inner sanctum where secrets are securely stored.

Inexplicably for writers, it’s different. We write to tell. We look where it is deep and dark, dredge the recesses, pull up nuggets left undisturbed for years, and hold them up for the world to examine. Then we feel ashamed for our indecency, for standing naked and exposed.

But we can’t help it. What starts as a need to express our constant pondering and wondering exploration of self can’t possibly remain there. It pushes us to write it out until it is released in the written form.

When the light hits the page, it comes to life, and we see it for the first time. It becomes real, often too real, and we must write more and more to unearth it completely, which only serves to exacerbate the misery of having shared too much.

But you see, we are compelled by some mysterious force to do it, in hopes that somehow by writing and by sending our words out to the world, we will be absolved, and the angst of it all will be relieved.

The first time someone praises our writing, magically, the content becomes acceptable no matter what it is. Our opinion gets validated, our childhood memories become treasured, or our hurt gets healed. The external approval makes the internal worthy.

The truth of the matter is, for some of us, this young author and me, the writing process is more than writing. It is self-discovery, a path in personal growth, and ultimately a way to release what we’ve stashed away in the darkness for far too long.

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