Writing Therapy

journalsLast week when I was running out the door for our group meeting, I remembered I needed something to write on, so grabbed an old journal off the shelf.  It so happens our meeting was a study on poetry, and as I opened the book to take notes, I discovered some long-lost poems. Hmm…are they ‘long lost’ if I really wasn’t looking for them?

The poems were written a few years ago when I was at a retreat. I was having a bad year and the speaker that morning talked about writing ‘therapy’ – getting your emotions down on paper. So in our free time that afternoon, I took the journal and went poolside and vented. Then I forgot all about them.

They are not really good – but for free writing, acceptable. And some might be worthargument developing.  One of them made me recall how good I felt after it was written. It seemed that once I wrote it down, I set the worry and anger aside for a while and focused on better things. Was there a lesson there?

I don’t usually write about the things that bother me. I don’t want the writing to fall into the wrong hands; I don’t want to embarrass anyone; or I’m afraid to stir up old hurts. Some excuses, huh? I recall a conference speaker, talking on the same subject, said to tear up or delete these things after you write them.  But doesn’t that make the writing seem like it didn’t exist? I have trouble with that idea too. But I’ll figure it out. Maybe it’s one of those ‘the more you do it, the easier it is’ things.

Several friends say they free write first thing every morning, jotting down whatever comes to mind.  For me that would be a list of all the things I hope to get done that day. See, mornings aren’t bad for me.  It’s late in the day when I’m tired and have been dealing with things all day that I get moody.  But it seems counter-productive to the winding-down process to get worked up over something as I write.

So in the evening I free write, trying to chill out and let go of the concrete things. I write about how peaceful it is in the back yard listening to the birds, or recall a conversation or activity. Or my 15-year-old muse comes out and…Oh, gee.  Grow up, will ya? I still try to push  things aside and, like Tinkerbell, think pleasant thoughts.

I THINK about that therapy thing a lot…does that count?  Giving those feelings over to a page and letting that page hold them for a while seems nice. Giving myself a rest, and concentrating on the many blessings I have.

When you free write, do you delve into your emotional baggage? What do you make of your free write time?


free write


One Response

  1. Dorothy Johnson
    Dorothy Johnson March 24, 2015 at 8:40 am |

    If something is bothering me, I often write about it, usually in a journal. It may start with venting but in the course of the exercise I usually find myself listing the facts: pros/cons, clarifying my feelings and even coming to a decision. It usually ends with a prayer. It always helps me.

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