I am not a writer, per se, but I like to write. I have been on a few writing retreats lead by nationally known author Laura Davis. I learned from her that anyone can be a writer. Writing can be so healing, cathartic and a real way to figure out what is going on inside of me. She has taught me many tools and techniques for writing, which I share in my articles, with my clients, and they have been personally helpful and transformative.
One of the first tips she taught me is- write. Just write, no matter how bad it sounds. Get the thoughts and words on the paper, editing is not necessary and is counterproductive in the beginning stages of writing.
Here are some ways to get started:
- Get a journal that does not cost much money. I got mine at CVS Pharmacy for a few dollars. It is the spiral bound version that I used to use in high school. Really inexpensive. Why? My other journals are too pretty or expensive to use to write down the common stuff that comes to my head. I would always save the “good writing” for my pretty journals and then I never wrote. I know I am not alone in this.
- Make sure you can keep your journal in a safe place.Really safe. When you are writing your most personal secrets, you do not want someone else reading it. I find I am freer with what I write when I know no one else will look at it. Some people put their journal in a special place, some hide them in a place no one can find, and some hide it in their car. The first car I bought was a used Datsun B210. The woman who owned it before me did not remember her journals secret hiding space- in the car I just bought from her. Needless to say, I learned too much about her.
- Set a really small period of time to write, like10 minutes. Everyone has an extra 10 minutes. Really, you do. Just keep the pen moving on the paper and see what comes out. A good starting point is to say, “Today I will…” and then fill in the blank. Keep writing until the 10 minutes are up. If you cannot think of anything to say write, “I cannot think of anything to write.” Keep writing it until something else pops into your head and write that.
- I do not suggest you openly share what you wrote with friends, spouse or family.They might not be as open to what you have to say as you might want them to be. Writing is powerful and exposes our vulnerabilities, be careful who you share it with.
- I am happiest when I am…Writing is a powerful tool to the unconscious. It can be your starting point to telling yourself some truths you otherwise were not willing to listen to. If deep issues arise, you might need to seek the assistance of a counselor to work it out.
I cannot say I am a good writer, what I can say is I now enjoy writing and the benefits it brings me, I feel better after I write in my journal. Do you write? Let us know some of your tips to get started below.
Kim McLaughlin, MA is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in helping people with eating issues and eating disorders. If you are concerned that about overeating, weight or your use of food in general please contact her here. Sign up for her FREE Top Tips to End Emotional Eating here. Check out her website at www.FeedYourSoulTherapy.com.