When is the last time you just sat down and started writing about something heavy? You should try it sometime. It’s one of the most powerful exercises you have the ability to put your mind through. Nothing will have the power to heal you from whatever hurt or darkness you carry like writing will.
There is a reason why doctors and therapists recommend people keep journals when they’re having a hard time or struggling. Writing about stressful, emotional, or traumatic events has been proven to improve both physical and mental health. There’s actually a lot of science behind it. But to me, the science is all bla bla bla bla bla.
It’s also true.
We’re all jacked up in one way or another. Some of us minorly, some of us majorly. We all have secrets. We all have dark smudges tainting our own personal histories. We all have shame and embarrassment left over from things we’ve done, and from things that we’ve merely thought. We all, from time to time, feel like there is something seriously wrong with us, that we’re alone, or that we’re without value.
In a couple weeks I’ll be posting about a powerful writing process that my therapist taught me. As I’ve put it into practice, it has helped me solve some of the biggest mysteries of my mental life. I hope some of you will use it when I post it, and I also hope that between now and then you sit down a few times and just start writing. Practicing now will make the process a lot more poignant when I share it.
It’s okay if nobody ever sees what you write. It’s okay if you throw it away, toss it out, burn it, or destroy it. Just pick something, whatever hurts or bugs you the most in life, and start typing. Let anything that comes to your mind work its way out through your hands. Don’t let any thought that seems too disturbed or too dark stop you from writing about it. No matter how deep, how profound, how twisted, or how stupid it may seem, just start writing everything that comes to your mind.
It seems that most people are scared to really write. People don’t want to face the things they don’t like, or even hate, about themselves.
But you have to take my word for it. I’ve had one of the most tainted and troublesome pasts you can imagine. I’ve been slammed against the wall by more people than I can count. I have failed again and again and again when I was doing everything I could to succeed. I have buried things so deeply inside of me that they nearly ceased to exist.
But, you see, it’s impossible for any memory to actually cease to exist. It’s always there. It’s always working in the background. It’s always part of your subconscious thought process. Until, that is, you find a way to move beyond it.
Writing, to me, is one of the only true forms of magic that exists on the earth. I’ve seen it take the weight that has burdened me for decades and in minutes all but extinguish its heavy load. It’s not about how clever you are with words. It’s not about how well you can punctuate or form sentence structure. It’s not about your education level. It’s not about how it sounds. At all. It’s about getting it out. It’s about opening the deadbolts of your past so that the monsters locked inside can be set free.
I am asked constantly… how do I write what I write? How do I share what I share?
The answer for me is simple. I’m addicted to what happens every time I do. I’m in love with the freedom. I’m enamored by the feelings that can only come from taking control of the very things that have always controlled me. It’s not a task for me. It’s a necessity. And it’s a pleasure. Plain and simple.
So, what do you say? Will you practice writing whatever comes to your mind a few times before I post my writing process with you in a couple weeks? Just a few times, 15-20 minutes each time you sit down.
And if you really want to have some fun, sit at your computer, close your eyes, and don’t open them until you’ve written for at least half an hour. Put a blindfold on. Do whatever you gotta do to not look at what you’re writing. You’ll be amazed at what half an hour of your life will do to the entire rest of your life.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. I know many of you already practice doing this. Many of you already have a serious love for writing. Why? What does it do for you? Have any of you had things come out in writing that would have been impossible to come up with on your own? Are any of you scared of writing? If so, what scares you about it?