03/22/2010 (10:15 am)

Writing as Therapy

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“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” –Lord Byron

Today, I’m going to step away from the business aspects of professional writing and look instead at another aspect of putting words to paper: as a theraputic.

Many writers, especially of personal journals and fiction, are tortured souls with a lot to deal with internally.  Hemingway would go into bouts of severe depression and usually come out the other side of it with a new novel.  Stephen King describes his writing as a “need” in the same way a heroin addict describes their habit.  Ann Frank likely found much solace in her enclosed, fearful world by putting pen to paper. Benjamin Franklin said:

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.”

Many psychologists and psychiatrists have realized the healing benefit of journal writing.  It’s also likely that many writers are drawn to the business of writing (especially fiction) as a means to vent or deal with their inner psyche. In fact, studies have shown that those who write on emotionally-difficult issues in their lives generally not only experience better well-being, but can actually become more physically fit as well.

Culturally, many peoples have noted the benefits of journal writing.  It’s encouraged amongst many cultures and religions world wide, including the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), in many public schools, amongst Jews, and in the Japanese culture.

So writing does have some great benefits beyond the business income and the learning and education that goes with it.  Remember that as you write your articles, website copy, personal journal, poetry, novel, and friendly emails.  Writing is communication and, as humans, we are all creatures of social interaction and putting words down is one way we do that.

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