I have no trouble not speaking to another person for many hours, even days. I have been on many a silent retreat and found them refreshing, rejuvenating, and sometimes life- saving. So it’s no wonder that I find writing a form of personal therapy. The solitude and silence of my writing times are in themselves therapeutic as it gives me relief from all the voices around me, the noises and demands that are constantly a part of so much of our day to day life. Not only do I enjoy the silence and solitude but I find it essential for my well-being.
I also find that being completely immersed in another time and place, another person’s story, enables me to internally reflect on life’s issues; the consequences of actions and words, the meaning of life, the mental and emotional processes of dealing with forgiveness, grief, fear, pride, conflict, faith, love and all the other aspects of personal growth and relationships, which form part of my stories.
In doing this I also wrestle with these issues at a deep level for myself. As a psychologist, I listen to others in counselling sessions, as they deal with these things, and it’s obvious for a lot of people that reflecting with other people is very helpful. But I’m sure I’m not alone as a writer, in being able to do this through my writing, which becomes cathartic, challenging, revealing and inspiring for me.
I think the creative aspect of writing is also very therapeutic. Words are precious, powerful and wonderful things. As writers we get to play with them, put them together in ways that describe something beautiful, or terrifying, or reflect a character’s feelings and thoughts. We can reshape and reconfigure words until we’re satisfied that they paint the right picture or reveal the right emotion. I love to plot a journey of growth and change, and then explore and experiment with words until they carry my characters along those paths, hopefully in ways that also carry the reader with them. It’s incredibly satisfying to have this creative outlet.
So writing nurtures my heart, mind and soul. I can think of very little that is equally therapeutic for me. I wonder if others have the same experience in their writing?
This week I will be in a chalet in the snow country with my family. (Not this one, but something like it) This will be a wonderful time for our family, but will also mean I have little contact with much of my usual world. I’m looking forward to this – as any introvert would - but it means I am unable to respond to any comments to this blog for a week or so. I will look forward to catching up with your thoughts when I return, so please don’t take my lack of response as disinterest.