Thursday, April 12, 2007

Writing as Therapy

Last night was not a good night for a myriad of reasons. Work, stress, more stress...but anyway, enough of that.

While taking a long, hot shower (why is it ideas always come to us in the shower?) I had a great idea for a short story based on my evening. And as soon as I was able, I opened up Microsoft Word on my computer and started typing. I typed for probably an hour and the time just flew by. I didn't stop to edit, didn't stop to stare at the page and wonder what to write next - I just wrote.

And by the time I was done, I had a complete short story. Rough, but complete. And boy, did I ever feel better. I felt like I'd cleansed my soul from all the gunk that had been clinging to it from the evening's activities. I went to bed feeling exhausted, but strangely refreshed.

This isn't the first time I've used writing as a form of therapy. I remember when I had a relationship go south on me in college. I wrote a novella of it, and put the male character through the ringer. After I was finished, I felt incredibly better.

I've also written pages and pages in my journal when I've been upset, or just sat down at the computer and wrote, a sort of stream of consciousness. It has a way of emptying the well of bad emotions and making me feel rejuvenated. I've also written poetry when the mood strikes, usually when I need to deal with a difficult situation or work through some rough emotions.

Have you ever used writing as therapy?


  1. That's a great feeling isn't it? :) I use writing as therapy all the time. My last blog post was about journaling. I couldn't live without my journal now. :) Glad the writing is going well.

  2. Oh, all the time! But I don't write about what's upsetting me. I use my work to block personal problems for mind, even if just for a few hours. Probably not the healthiest thing to do, but it works for me. ;-)

  3. I'm sorry the day job is being a bit of a nightmare.

    If someone upsets me, I might "murder" them in a story, or base a spiteful parody character on them, who gets their comeuppance.

  4. Hope you're better now Melissa :(
    I used to write loads in my journal when I was upset. Now not so much. I find it harder to concentrate if I'm upset though I usually just drown myself in the story and the problems go away. DH is the king of ruining the perfect start to a writing day--but what can you do?

  5. Michelle3:02 PM

    Isn't it great when the ideas just flow? WTG! :)

  6. I find it hard to write when I am upset about something, but I will sometimes write letters I never send or bad poetry.

  7. Great ideas come in the shower because that is when you are most receptive to new thoughts - cos you're relaxed and not drowning in your own! ;)

    Interesting, writing as therapy. There's something I just started (not what I normally write, so it's just a side project right now) and it's first person (also not how I write) and, well, let's me do a few things I have thought about doing.

    But shouldn't.

    So if I get to do it on paper in a book, maybe I will feel better. That's therapy in some universe, no?

  8. It's an example of how anything a writer experiences is inspiration -- even if it's not always pleasant.

  9. I like Diane's idea of tormenting irritating people in your novel. Might have to try that.

    Personally, I feel every time I sit down to write (in quiet) is like therapy.

    Good for you!

  10. Wow that's awesome Melissa! And yes I use writing as therapy all the time. It takes me away from the stress of real life that's for sure...


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