Tag Archives: healing

Writing as healing

Every single writer starts writing to heal some part of themselves whether they are aware of it or not. Writing is a healing practice. Some start with journaling. I think the benefits of journaling for healing are now well established.

But what is healing is not so much the words we use, or the way we do it, but more the fact that we tell our stories. This is how I got started myself. I was experiencing a very difficult time in my life as one of my closest friends got into heroin and dragged me along with her in her inferno for nearly ten years. I started to write the story of our friendship at that point because it became just too overwhelming to deal with it on my own. And so a writer was born. I could have journal but I decided to write it as a novel.

It has come to me recently that talking therapy is actually therapeutic and a deeply healing process mostly because it creates a safe space for the client to tell their story. I know many aspiring writers who want to share their story with the world to inspire others, which is a very noble thing to do. But they should remember first that they should be their first priority in the healing process, the possible impact on the reader and inspiration comes second. At least in the first stages of writing.

The healing power of telling your story as it is (your version) has actually been researched by several teams. A study published in The Oncologist showed that expressive writing could help cancer patients not only think of their disease in a different way but also improve their quality of life. We are talking help with medical conditions. Another study was done with physical injuries. Scientific America reports that a study made in New Zealand shows that writing as little as twenty minutes three consecutive days could impact healing of a wound. However, there is no magic bullet. If events have been extremely traumatic, writing about them can trigger PTSD symptoms, so please exercise caution when embarking on a writing journey.

I personally find great joy in using material from my personal life and realising that life is a big play. We are all on a hero’s journey, as Joseph Campbell so aptly reminded us with his exquisite work. What we experience has probably been experienced by many other people. The beauty of it, though, it we can use for our transformation and the transformation of others. We can transcend our condition and make an impact on the world. For this, I encourage you to define a purpose for your writing so that you sharpen your writing even further.

For example, only yesterday, I realised that the purpose of my book “Journey of the Slim Soul” was to help people step off the hamster wheel of diets and self hate. I wrote it out of frustration with the diet and fitness industry that sent so many false and confusing messages to slimmers. I was myself struggling with weight and body image issues but so were my clients. Writing the book was indeed therapeutic for me. And if I can achieve that goal of helping others step off the hamster wheel of dieting and self hate, I will be one happy author indeed.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

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A little light on writing memoirs

I have been writing my memoirs for a while, despite the fact that most people laugh when I mention this and tell me I am far too young to be writing memoirs. Apparently, only celebrities do that.

The first time I tried to write about the part of my life that I wanted to share, I couldn’t go past the first page. It was too painful. I had to wait another two years before I was ready. I kept trying and I kept being stopped by the pain. And then one day, it started. I wrote the whole first volume in six months. The gates were open. I was unblocked. This is one of the difficulties about writing memoirs, you revisit events and if they have not been resolved, you have to come to terms with your past. This is not always an easy task.

Writing about your past just to settle the record does not work.

Writing about the past to help others with similar issues does not work if you haven’t worked on your own issues.

Writing about the past can make you stuck… in the past.

On the positive side, writing about your life is an incredibly healing process. It cannot be rushed.  There are even medical studies that show that people who have had accidents and who write about it heal faster than those who haven’t journaled. I find this really impressive and to me, it validates the importance of writing one’s story.

As Maya Angelou said beautifully: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

One of the pitfalls of writing memoirs is you write it as it is. Then when people tell you it’s missing a little action here or there is a bit that is long there, you defend yourself by saying: “That is how it happened”.

With experience you will understand that the art of writing memoirs is just like any other writing skill. It’s not just the story, it’s how you tell it. Memoirs are still a story. And they have to obey the genre of story telling. It has to be exciting. It has to sustain the interest. It has to have conflict and an obstacle. So honing your plotting skills is just as important. Character development is also as important. Just because it is your story, doesn’t mean it is not “a story”, although when you hear this, you might be feeling hurt.

When I started writing my memoirs, I had not found useful advice to help me started. I hope this helps you.

To your creativity,

Ange de Lumiere