Business Insider had an article this morning titled, “16 daily habits that are easy to practice and can significantly improve your life.” I found several of these particularly helpful, but among these number 12 caught my eye. It said, “12. Write: Writing every day can help you keep track of your progress, feel good, and stay motivated to make even more progress.”
Here’s the way I came to think about writing awhile back. Writing is therapy. As much as talking about my life, my hurts and my fears, to a trained therapist, writing is therapy. When I write I spill myself onto paper. It is there that I can “spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways,” as T. S. Eliot would put it in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Proofrock.”
And this is true whether it be confessional poetry (something I did in high school quite a bit) or fiction (which I lean toward much more now). On numerous occasions I have written scenes that stemmed from something in my childhood. I have wept over events in a character’s life. I have even written amore into a book when I had no intention to do so whatsoever, simply because my wife was out of town for a couple of days and without consciously realizing it, I missed her. Writing brings out what is inside of me, and while a good friend might also draw these things out, such friends are rare, and the time needed to go that deep even rarer.
So I have another reason to go on writing. It is not my life, as some would say. It is not a career, nor a dream of riches or fame. Writing for me is enjoyment and it is therapy. I am happiest when I write some every day.