What do I mean when I say, “Writing is a powerful tool for self-development?”
Does everyone around you seem to be trying to meditate? Or have you been hearing in the media about how meditation is a boon for everything from stress reduction and anxiety to improving sleep and reducing pain? Well, while I am a believer in meditation and keeping a clean, tidy mind (think about your mind as a space with good hygiene) I also believe that journaling, writing from personal experience, and memoir writing perform a lot of the same functions.
Unprocessed events, feelings and memories are particularly difficult because according to the magazine Psychology Today, “You have painful facts with no story to bind them together.” Part of writing your story is doing the hard work of getting your point of view down on the page so that it can be seen (which alone is very important) but also so that it can be held (instead of shifting in ephemeral memory, you can actually sit with the page, the notebook, the story and see it as an event outside of your self).
In my experience, and I have seen this hundreds of times, by writing your own story and sharing it with trusted readers you get a chance to uncover unconscious connections, suppositions, and patterns you have not been fully aware of. By bringing these ideas to the surface we are able to grow in our understanding of your personal experiences and memories.
The question we always ask is – what does the writing and retelling communicate about our understanding of ourselves and the world? Is it true? Does it need to be altered based on time, hindsight and a deeper understanding?
Curious about learning more? These are the types of issues that I created MemoirClass community to address. I’d love to hear from you – email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.