While teachers may be apt to tell you that writing is a craft and a skill with rules and order, and to some degree that is the case, writing is also therapy.
In an interesting move when I was 22 years old I fled to New York from Los Angeles, got an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen back in the days when I would need to walk over people smoking what I finally came to know as a crack pipe to get into my stifling second floor apartment, and wrote a novel based on my life thus far. Learning to type with one hand and smoke/drink coffee with the other ( I later became an early adopter of passionate yoga practice and ditched this insanity!) , I created a piece of fictional fact that took three months to type one-handed from the depths of my very caffeinated soul.
The day I finished, having started at 8pm the prior night and stayed up until the 6am sun filled my industrial sublet, the very last moment, I sat at a big metal desk and felt the words as I said them out loud until I cried. I actually cried myself to sleep. I woke up later that day, elated. That was a big day.
I feel that writing may primarily be therapy.
Indeed, the New York Times Magazine just last year mused on the decline in traditional talk therapy and the rise in writing workshops. THIS article by Steve Almond explains well the very circular argument surrounding the idea of writing as therapy. Autobiographical writing has been used in Gestalt therapy and found particularly enlightening for seniors to reflect upon and even re-frame the span of their lives in words. Method writing workshops (THIS one in LA in particular) – similar to method acting in that you really become one with the story you are telling in a profound way- have transformed the moods and the expressiveness of many of my friends.
And, when I finished writing that first book, I was able to let go of 2 years of life madness that I thought would forever own me in my own guilt. I was free.
I am not a therapist. Therapists are not for me. Writing has been self-reflective, soul-searching alchemy in my own life. Writing your life story, in particular, is a certain kind of therapeutic action.
You may not ever want to publish it, you may have no desire to be detailed, you may feel you don’t know how to write… but writing may just help you find more purpose, your own voice and new direction. Writing may actually bring you freedom.
If you don’t know where to begin, try grabbing a copy of The Artist’s Way book by Juila Cameron. You may find it increasingly easy to write while working through the creativity exercises that “feng shui” your creative mind clear of self-defeating words, and the clutter pf excuses and everyday life obstacles. Create a space at home to actually write. Get yourself pens or a notebook. I love old-school Composition books. I love Bic pens. you may not start writing your life’s story… but over time it seems that it’s impossible- no matter how fictional the scenario- to avoid writing from your life. All this writing also gives you a great reason to go live more, to write the next chapters…!
And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101. Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks. It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow. Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE… And, as always, please let me know what happens! xoxo Dana
That explains why your writing s so readable 🙂 you’ve had loads of practice. But I totally agree I use writing in situations of emotional turmoil. It works like magic. It lifts anger, sadness like baking soda lifts grime 😉
It’s my second post from France. I want to thank you for all of your support throughout your amazing blog. Your daily quotes and advices really support me to manage my new way of life.
I applied feng shui’s rules from the tao of dana and jamie barret’s posts and reconnected with my true nature, and nowadays I pratice everyday my painting.
So my question is about outside’s feng shui. I keep my wellness and self-confidence at the top when I’m at home and surrounded with all of my support.
But when I have to go outside. I lose my self confidence and feel me fearing about dealing with people, which could be a real handicap to develop my creative business.
Could you give me some tips to bring my feng shui with me when I go outside !
I would be pleased to thank you in painting of you and Bobby !
You are so sweet! Confidence is practice. There’s nothing else, no other way. No one and nothing brings you confidence but you. Meaning…real confidence in my life has been a function of being in those uncomfortable situations, taking a breath and confronting them. Practice. Practice. Don’t think too much. Live. Remind yourself that you are awesome and you are learning. None of us are perfect. Just keep going 🙂
I agree with Janina — I just love your writing and this made me think “hmm, maybe it’s the practice of writing morning pages!”. You’re a great writer.
I write too and I’m considering the morning pages. I just don’t know how can I fit it in my schedule — everyone seems to call as soon as I wake up! (Seriously, sometimes I can’t even start to sip my coffee and they’re calling…) Excuses, I know. The thing is, I think I’m going to read The Artist’s Way and try this. I feel like detoxing emotionally in any way I can, really.
Yay Becky! Stay tuned…I’m gonna be starting a free, online Artist’s Way forum/ guiding an online group through the book in a week or so! It certainly will be no-pressure, but I think it will be super-fun synergy!!! xoxoxox
about 6 years ago you started an “artist’s way” group, following julia cameron’s book.
it was one of the best experiences i’ve ever had
i got into this wonderful habit of writing and it helped me make many many changes.
wish you would do that again
Hi Shida!!! I do it, every year. This year I’m doing it for people who are working with my creativity E-Guide Creating Genius (as its also all about creativity) to sort of amplify the book experience!!! And I LOVE that you were in the early group. I remember it so fondly and it was literally the most exciting experiment in its first run, and so expansive!!! YAY! I’m so glad to hear from you!!!
E-Guide Creating Genius, sounds wonderful. how can i join the group?