Why writing is good for your wellbeing
Creative writing for wellbeing – learning to let go!
How often do you hear people say ‘Oh, I can’t write to save my life’? It seems so harsh. Because the truth is, everyone can write, and writing for wellbeing is something that we can all do, whether we got an A* in English at school, or not.
Some people go on to write Hollywood movies or bestsellers. Most of us don’t. But writing can give your wellbeing a powerful boost – and it’s a simple way to free your creativity and process your feelings.
Anyone can be creative with words. You just need to give yourself permission to let go.
What writing for wellbeing does for you
Writing for your own personal emotional wellbeing is like talking to your subconscious self. In fact, it’s like doodling – but with words.
It’s also amazingly emotionally cathartic. The words that spill out can be raw, messy and often passionate – because it’s coming hot off the emotional press. But it’s never ‘bad writing’.
What comes out can be even more creative than a perfectly written story or poem.
How do I do it?
“Turn off your automatic filter (the one planted inside all of us), resist writing what you think you should write – and write what only you can write.” Natalie Goldberg, freewriting expert
It sounds scary – but writing for wellbeing isn’t about ‘having ideas!’ There’s no pressure to use your conscious imagination at all. After all, it’s not an assignment!
Some people call it ‘freewriting’. The important thing is just to start to write and then keep writing for at least 5 minutes, without stopping. Whatever words spring to mind. You’ll be surprised where your mind will take you if you let it. You don’t need to worry about spelling, punctuation, or ‘getting things wrong,’ because no one’s going to read it except you.
Resist the temptation to plan, do a draft, or even self-edit. Just get that pen moving, and the words will start flowing.
You don’t need an idea to write!
Sounds controversial! But often it’s feeling that you don’t know what to write about, that acts as a creative roadblock.
Some people use their emotions as creative springboards – and it can often help you process overwhelming feelings such as anger or disappointment. By letting those feelings ‘write themselves out’, however they come, you can literally get them out of your head, and onto a page.
If you write a journal, you’re probably already using this technique when writing about your personal experiences or emotions.
Here are 5 things that you can also use to get started:
- The colour of an autumn leaf
- A dog barking
- Your favourite word
- The strongest emotion you felt today
- Your oldest friend
Write whatever comes into your mind when you imagine your subject – and keep going!
Get comfortable, and write by hand
All you really need is something to write with, something to write on and a little time. Wear something comfortable, find a quiet moment in your day, just as you would if you were meditating.
Choose a pen and paper that you like – but not your best. Your everyday Zebra Z-Grip, and a fresh notebook rather than your favourite fountain pen and expensive stationery, will stop you worrying about making mistakes or crossing things out. And you can save your favourite pen and that gorgeous paper for long distance friendships that deserve the best – which we’ll be talking about in our October blog!
It’s not about what you write. It’s about how it makes you feel
Writing for wellbeing helps us turn thoughts and feelings into something that helps us feel better about ourselves. Even if you think you can’t – you can!
And it feels really good to write for yourself, and no one else.