A huge thanks to Alise Wright for today’s guest post. She’s a self-proclaimed lover of coffee, texting, and Zelda. You can find her blog at http://www.alise-write.com/, or follow her on Twitter: @BigMama247. Enjoy!
Blank page, blinking cursor.
That’s what writing looks like for me on most days.
In the past, it was a ratty spiral bound notebook, a pretty, flowery journal, a green composition notebook, the back of music theory homework. Anything I could find to get my thoughts down. It didn’t matter if it was private or public, I’ve just always enjoyed writing. I believe that writing has played a part in shaping me into the person that I am today.
When I write and write honestly, I get the bad stuff out. Maybe that’s not the most attractive thing in the world, but I find writing to be therapeutic. When I bury what’s going on in my brain, I end up turning it over and over and that creates a not-very-pleasant person to be around. But when I write it out, I find that it cleanses me in a way that no other method does. Talking through difficult issues can help, but writing it down gives me the perspective that I need.
What is really fascinating to me is that when I write this bad stuff out, it gives permission for others to share some of their difficulties. That helps me to step outside of myself for a little bit and consider others. I’m naturally a very selfish person and writing can certainly feed that, but on good days, it causes me to look beyond my own issues and care more deeply for the people around me, both in my face to face interactions and with those in my virtual village.
I have also found that writing has helped me connect with people that I may not have had the opportunity to otherwise. I’ve met people who are like me, people who are different from me, and these interactions have all pointed to show me that I’m not alone – that no one is alone. Writing is a fascinating paradox. I do most of it for me, but it gains so much more meaning when there is a community of readers. Any time I have the opportunity to connect with other people through my writing, it makes me a better person.
Writing has taught me to choose my words more carefully. When I’m talking, I have the benefit of body language, tone, inflection, physical contact, and real-time clarification. When I write, I have one chance to get it right. I can always go back and edit and I can certainly carry on a dialogue once the piece is out there, but as we all know, once something is written, it has an element of permanence. This means that I need to be thoughtful when I’m writing. As I have done this, I have found that it carries over into my regular conversations. Writing has helped me become a more effective verbal communicator.
The only way I can truly gauge if I’m becoming a better person is through interactions with other people. I find that writing helps me to engage with more people and that in turn helps me become a better version of me.
And now, the blank page and blinking cursor beckon.