Why Writing Is a Form of Therapy
“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the pain and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” –Graham Greene, Ways of Escape
Therapy can be used in so many ways that the word itself is open for interpretation. Sure there’s a concrete definition of the word therapy, but what one person calls therapy compared to the next person can be as unique as a snowflake. Some people workout. Some people play video games. And it’s the same principles can be applied to writing.
Sometimes we need to write to literally get away from whatever is going on in the real world. It’s a breath of fresh air to write your latest love story or your main character killing zombies in the newest apocalyptic thriller. But what are some of the stressors that cause us to feel this way? How can we identify them and handle them accordingly before we flip all the way out? Those are the things I’ll be discussing in today’s post.
Let’s start off with ourselves—the writer. We’re unique because we are personify the idea of insanity. I believe to be a writer, you must have a certain level of passion. Anything less than said level and it’s just a hobby for you. For the people who do this for the love, we can be our own stressors sometimes. We stand in our own way whether it’s artistic pride, writer’s block, or pure laziness. Bottom line is, we’re the problem (sometimes).
The irony in it all is that even though we stop ourselves from creating, all we think about is the next thing we’re going to create. The next scene. The next chapter. What the title of our next project should be. There’s something about being creative that brings us to our happy place.
Life is One Big Movie
My life is like one big movie with mini movies in between. For example, I take real situations that happen to me or could potentially happen to me and run the scenario as I see it playing out in my mind. I think about what I would say, what the opposing person would say back and it may be a little bias, but I always come out on top. In my fantasies I can choke slam Chuck Norris if I wanted to. But this is the therapeutic process. Not only am I working out my problems in my head, but I’m also creating story lines for potential projects.
Character development is being molded from the people I interact with. Their speech patterns, mannerisms, accents, are all being soaked up by me. I also find it relieving to do it this way because I always go to the absolute extreme with my scenarios. So when I finally face them and they’re not the end of the world I can say, “Wow. That was it?” And that’s even if I have to face the problem at all. Sometimes we can over think things and make them more than they are. So I plan out this whole monologue of what I’m going to say and end up never using it. It’s great for dialogue though.
Anyone Can Do It
I think the best thing about writing as a form of therapy is that literally anyone can do it. Not everyone can bench press 300 lbs of pain away or wants to kill everything in a video game. But anyone can write to relieve some sort of stress. Now I know not everyone is creative, but you don’t have to be creative to write something down. You can free write also known as journaling. Write about what happened to you that day. Don’t be afraid of your thoughts no matter how crazy you might think they are. Instead, acknowledge and accept your thoughts and feelings. You’d be surprised how it can change your view on things.
Another form of writing that anyone can use is writing a letter. It can be to someone or to yourself. Try to imagine someone writing you a letter first and answering the question, “How are you really doing?” Whether you actually send it to someone is up to you, but I strongly recommend against it since your laying it all out on the table so to speak. The idea is to get a clearer understanding of your own thoughts and feelings toward a person, a certain situation, or to yourself.
Being a part of something that everyone can use as a stress reliever makes me feel good. Whether you’re creative or not, writing can take you away from the madness that we call life. You can make up your own world with a story or address your current world with a letter. Whatever you choose to write about just make sure that you focus and clear your mind. No outside distractions. No bottling up emotion. And you can be your own therapist. Let what whatever you have in your mind cascade down to the page. I promise you will feel better.
How do you guys get over stress? What form of writing do you practice. Sound off in the comment section below and make sure to subscribe!
Author: Ty Mitchell
I write books and help writers get through their literary journey. I am the author of The Color of Love. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity. Follow me on Twitter @Ty_Mitchell or on Facebook @the-vpf.