Monday, December 14, 2009

Healing power of writing

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, a program at Iowa State University pairs people who have a chronic illness, or a mental illness, with a graduate student for six weeks of free writing classes. (Click here to read more).

The article includes the story of a woman with cystic fibrosis who was able to come to terms with the progression of her illness through her writing.

This article brought up some beliefs about writing that I hold to very strongly.

Firstly, writing is healing. It helps us explore wounds, figure out what was real, write about them, and move on. It takes pain that is jumbled and sharp when it's in our heads, and lays it out on paper, clean and neat and precise. It is not going to fix everything, but the process of writing definitely has the ability to help the healing process along.

Secondly, writing is important and has that power because it forces us to be honest with ourselves. If we write about an experience we are going through now, we have to think, what if someone read this? How would it sound to them? Would they see a side to it that I'm missing? The process of writing, esp. when it is nonfiction writing such as personal essays, is that it gives us a framework that is more objective than our own point of view, from which we can explore conflicts and tensions.

I'm glad people realize the power and potential writing and other creative pursuits have to help people heal.

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