You open your journal, turn on the computer, grab some paper. You start writing. You write about what happened today, yesterday, years ago. You pour out the details, relate your thoughts and impressions. You go over what happened, transforming the event into understood, or at least accepted, memory. It has lost it’s control over you.
Louise DeSalvo explores how writing can be a means for healing in her book, Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives. Louise provides pages of evidence through the stories of “famous” authors, her own experience, and scientific studies of how writing can be a means to heal our trauma, figure out our lives, and share our lives to help others.
The first six chapters are particularly helpful as multiple lists and how-to’s are included. While DeSalvo focuses on more serious writers, the stories, examples and grace-filled instructions are helpful to anyone looking at writing as a means of healing.
Here are a few (of many) important points from this book (I’ll let you read it to get the rest):
- When you write, include your thoughts, impressions and feelings about the topic when it happened, and now.
- Understand that it isn’t easy to write about difficult times in our lives. Treat yourself well, get help, and take your time.
- Write intentionally. Write with the purpose of exploring, learning and healing, and intentionally take time to write as writing is important.
- Find a method that works for you – either timing, rituals (I have to have coffee and an inspiring view), # of pages to write at a time, etc.
My additions from a spiritual perspective and years of writing in a healing way:
- Invite God into your writing, allowing God’s Grace and Love to help support your process.
- Use prayer as a means to open your heart, mind and spirit to the mysterious journey – even asking others to pray for you as you go on this journey (they don’t need to know the details).
You may not know it, but you likely are already writing as a way of healing. Many writers write to “figure something out”, and in the process find ourselves better off than we were before. DeSalvo helps us understand how to do it with intention and make the most of our gifts, time, and lives.
Are you a mom? Use Your Words is also resource along these lines with a particular focus on the challenges of life as a mom.
Are you in the Minneapolis area? Join Under the Trees on 2nd and 4th Thursday nights for our writing group where we explore writing intentionally for personal and spiritual growth, which includes a lot of healing. Or, check us out on Facebook.
Spiritual Practice: Writing for Healing, Quilting for Peace
Writing to Make Sense of the World
Three Communication Tips that Changed My LIfe
Another Review of Writing as a Way of Healing