When I talk about writing, I talk about two separate worlds.
In one, I write happy, comedic novels where the guy gets the girl, and the girl has amazing friends, and they can all overcome everything that gets in their way.
In the other, I teach people that it’s okay to write the sad things. The true things.
I’ve been working on my research project for my MSc, working with some amazing women who are writing their truth, and are being honest on the page and with themselves. And it makes me honest on the page too.
In novels, we want everything to be okay, we don’t want to go on a four page rant about how the heroine feels like shit that day. Why? Because no-one wants to read that. It’s a bummer. It doesn’t achieve anything but make your reader think ‘Jeez, this is one whiny narrator. Buck the hell up, kid!’
But in personal writing, in journalling and reflective writing, there is absolute value in writing about your crappy day or your sad moments. It’s a moment of pure, unadulterated honesty with yourself. And if you’re someone who’s used to putting a happy spin on things, it can be really empowering.
If you want to write therapeutically, about something negative, I’d recommend timing yourself, giving yourself over freely for 20 minutes (if you’re a seasoned writer, maybe less if not). Decide what you want to do with this writing…mine ends up moving towards the positive, I guide it that way. I get out what I need to get out, and I end it on a high note. I don’t like to leave things sitting there without a full stop, festering. I want to end things with hope. Or, you could rip it up, burn the thing. Leave that negativity somewhere else, trap it in the page.
Being honest about what you want to write and what you feel is important, so here I am, giving you permission, if you think you need it.
And whilst we’re at it, if you are writing stories or novels or poems…write what you want to write. Write things you’d like to read, things that would make you feel safe, and excited and not so alone.
I write for a lot of reasons, and one of them is fun. So I’m excited to say that the first book in my new series will be out next week! On the 28th April, Goodbye Ruby Tuesday will be released. I hope, if you read it, it’s as fun to read as it was to write.
And if you happen to be at Larmertree Festival this year, I’ll be doing some workshops around Writing and Nature, and Writing and Body, but more on that soon!
How and why do you write? Do you think there’s a benefit in cathartic writing?