This post will be somewhat very personal. This is about why I am a writer. It is also about something I learned about myself and my writing this past Sunday during church services. Actually, this is something I have been learning for a little while, but it finally hit home after leaving services Sunday night.
Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly evaluating ourselves. The trick is to do something with those evaluations. This revelation on why I write is the catalyst for the Journaling for Entrepreneurs process. Rather than accidentally coming to terms with my beliefs, ideas, and reasons, the process of journaling helps me to work through those things before I start putting ideas out there in the world.
The whole concept of Journaling for Entrepreneurs is to start your journey with a grasp on what you want to accomplish, and the reasons for those accomplishments. The process is about defining your purpose (you have a purpose), and understanding your purpose. This is the story of the beginning of that process for me.
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. My earliest works were a way to process the death of my mom. While I didn’t fully understand that’s what I was doing, writing was a process that allowed me to work through my feelings and reactions.
Even now, I can use some of that pain in what I write both to process those emotions and hopefully to help others be able to do the same. This is the big revelation:
I write because it is a way to get some baggage off my shoulders.
When I write, I can take huge loads of emotional baggage, and wrap them up nice and neat (maybe not always so neatly) inside a blanket of fictional prose. Doing this allows me to let go of some things.
If necessary, I can do this without anyone reading what I have written knowing what is real for me and what is made up. Writing is actually pretty safe. Paper (or computers) will not argue with you that your feelings or ideas are invalid. Even when writing nonfiction, you can put yourself out there without having to be noticeable.
For me, writing is a way to express things I couldn’t do with people around me. (People use all kinds of creative outlets to do this exact same thing). But, writing is more than that to me now. While at 12 writing started as a way to process emotions (something I still struggle with outside of writing), it has morphed into something beyond me.
Now, I also write because I hope with the words I put to the page I can help someone else. I hope someone will read what I have to say and be able to relate. At the least I hope to give someone the reassurance that someone else has an idea how they feel.
What I really hope for, though, is that I can give something real and uplifting; I hope another person can see an escape from their emotional baggage in what I put to paper. I know it is possible. I have read books in my life that did this very thing, and that is my goal.
Now to switch gears a little…
How the Revelation Happened
This Sunday we were studying from Ephesians 4. In verses 22-24, you read of putting off the old man and taking on the new. We are supposed to be new people when we come to Christ. This is a daily choice of putting aside the old and taking on the new.
I have read these words many times since I have become a Christian, but last night I realized something. This is what I am trying to do with my writing; what I have been doing unconsciously since I began to put pen to paper.
Each time things from my past bubble up, I write about them in some way. I have been worried sometimes that in doing this I am wallowing in my past. I have worried that by allowing the time I give to these thoughts in turning them into a story, I am holding on to them. Last night I realized the opposite is the truth.
When I wrap my past up in fiction, I do two things for myself:
First– I get the poison of these things out of my system. By putting these things on paper I let go of them. I am actually taking the power away from my past by releasing my personal hold on these things that try to plague me.
Second– I shroud these thoughts in fiction, therefore making them seem less real. Doing this allows the hurt to have less impact. When something is not real it cannot hurt us as much.
It was a great feeling to realize that I have found my outlet for the old man. I now have a renewed desire to write the words that well up in me. And I can still hold out hope that my words can help someone else release their hold on their emotional baggage.
I can write with the goal of letting go of my bitterness and helping someone else let go of theirs. Maybe I can have a greater purpose than myself in the world.
Do you know your why? Are you still trying to find your why? Tell us about it in the comments.