Expressive Writing

Usually writing in your free time, aka not for school-related subjects, is a hobby of English majors, students taking creative writing classes, or cool and interesting travelers, right? WRONG. Writing is for anyone who thinks. Writing is for anyone with something to say. Think you don’t have something to say? Do you ever find yourself troubled with an occurrence that just happened? Or say, pondering over the meaning of life, asking yourself, what is this? Maybe even just trying to figure out, yourself? Maybe you haven’t, but if your one of us humans, taught all these words that help us string together these thoughts directed at trying to figure out what to do with our own lives, did you know writing it down, can help?

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Got your attention now? Well, yes it can. I am a psychology major, and just recently I have picked up a creative writing concentration, so I guess you could say I’ve transformed myself into one of those artsy kids with a reason to “write on the side.” But, I wasn’t always taking creative writing classes. I was actually pretty lost my first two years of college. I used to write a lot when I was younger, but as most fun tasks we do while were young, I stopped. My parents among others didn’t consider it to have, “profession potential,” and wanted me to focus on other things. But that silly thought worth debating, is for another day. Needless to say, I forgot about writing.

One day in one of my psychology classes I learned about the technique of expressive writing. It is a more personal and emotional type of writing in which you spew out whatever comes to mind targeted at whatever you feel like writing about. For once, don’t worry about the grammar or spelling. Yes! That is the best part. Have you ever been fumbling in bed at night, rehearsing what you should have said to so-and-so in that stupid fight you had? Or trying to recite everything you have to do tomorrow in your head, over and over again? Ending up delving deeper into frustration and anxiety than doing any good?

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Have you ever tried writing those discombobulated thoughts down? Getting it down on paper, is actually a form of getting if OUT of you. Even though it sounds weird, it’s true. And speaking of insomniacs, some of the most honest, true, and reflective pieces of work, even ideas, have come from people who get up out of their wannabe sleep to scribble their thoughts out of them, or awake out of a dream at 3 am and just have to write it down.

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But seriously, people struggling with conflict so deep, can use writing as a coping mechanism. Even doctors agree! People who write about their traumatic or stressful events show improvements both mentally and physically. Getting it out of you SOMEHOW even if it is not to that person you want to directly, helps. It’s like a release of this inhibited energy you have brewing, festering even, in you.

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Ever hear, if you say it out loud, you might realize something you haven’t? Well, same goes for writing. Sometimes I find myself writing in circles, and then all of a sudden one sentence, gets me out of that circle, and into the clear. My mind in the clear. Don’t worry about spelling. Don’t worry about form. Write like you think. Let it flow, maybe even slowing down those mile a minute thoughts we all sometimes let get the best of us.

Click here for some expressive writing prompts. Or, here for some creative writing prompts, if you want to escape the world in a more fictional way. Sometimes dealing with your own issues through fictional characters can be helpful, fun and creative. It depends on what’s write for you! Excuse my exceptionally creative pun, but all I’m trying to say here is writing, being the art form that it is, can also be used as a therapeutic process.

So, the next time your upset, angry, frustrated, just write. What’s the worst that can happen? See how you feel after. Maybe even blog about it. It’s an experiment, worth trying. And who knows, you may find your own niche in this big, creative world that we all share.

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