On Writing

Writing is therapeutic.

I poured my hormonal teenage heart out on the pages of my Creative Writing notebook in high school. I voiced my complaints in my Comp I journal in college. And in my forties, I expressed my fears and resentments, as well as my gratitude, by blogging. Although my blog has been essentially dark the past year or so, I have been getting my therapy. Last November, I completed the first draft of a book, which I am in the process of editing.

The transitions I have made in the past year astound me. I have taken back my maiden name (again, and for the last time). I am fully self-employed for the first time in my life (after being out of work on worker’s comp for two years). I now edit a newsletter for a professional organization, coordinate a group of volunteers at a spiritual center, and sing regularly (at a coffeehouse where I also MC). And throughout all of this, I wrote.

I wrote essays for classes I took. I wrote copy for a personal growth organization. I wrote affirmative prayers. I wrote 750 words (Morning Pages) of daily brain drain. I wrote poetry. I wrote handwritten notes and cards to friends and family. I wrote lyrics. I wrote personal inventories as part of a 12-step program. I wrote gratitude lists. I wrote letters to God. I wrote “to do” lists. I wrote a book.

All of it therapeutic.

Sorting out my thoughts and feelings on paper is healing… choosing the words with just the right tone… creating a certain mood… poring over the subtle nuances of each synonym… hearing the ring of a well-chosen phrase. These are the things that have helped me create order in chaotic times, make sense of (or peace with) the events that make up my life, and simply get things off my chest.

Regardless of the reams of paper I have filled, I have only recently accepted the title, Writer. Now that the dust has settled (for the time being anyway), the latest catharsis complete, I have come to the realization that I am a writer — not because I have a certain number of words under my belt, not because I have been paid to write, nor because I have something unique to say.

I am a writer because I write.