As I type these words, I notice one thought vying for my attention—I am not a writer. Yet, I rely on writing tremendously for most of my work and communication. Essentially, devaluing myself as a writer is a creative tactic for minimizing my worth and value. Our minds can be very tricky.
Even though the words "writing" and "writer" are loaded terms, the act of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) can be incredibly cathartic. So while I do not call myself a writer, I know with absolute certainty that the act of writing has made me a far more resilient individual and has provided me with a greater depth of self-knowledge.
What are the essential elements that make writing so powerful? Is it pure alchemy? These are questions that I needed to ask a "real" writer, a person who asks these same questions himself. This writer is Dave Ursillo. His words are powerful, his writing magical, and his message invaluable. I am grateful to Dave for sharing with the Psychology Today community today.
Writing is not alone a method of communication or a practical skill that people ought to learn: writing is itself a profound teacher that will guide you toward a happier, more contented and positively purpose-driven life. You don't need to be a writer, creative or artist, whether in name or profession, to achieve those benefits, either.
As a devout writer, author and the founder of a digital writers' group (of some 50 writers spread across the world), what I've come to understand about the power of writing is that the creative process is its own teacher: a multidimensional catalyst of change and learning, spanning self-awareness and personal growth that dawn from the act of creation to the practical communicative power that writers wish to harness to inspire, influence and help others.
But the act of writing also functions like a sieve, separating extraneous fears, worries and insecurities from the core of our being, which compels us to do the scary duty of confronting them, understanding them, and ultimately leaving our fears behind. Such is the origination of "tortured artist" syndrome. But when you commit to the healthy habit of confronting those fears and worries--whether through writing or otherwise--what remains is confidence, truth and purity. As these seven historical writers and thinkers once conveyed, writing is itself a profound teacher that can guide every human being towards realizing the ideal life that you truly desire to lead: a confident life, fully aligned with your truth and values—and completely without apology.
It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around. —Stephen King
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. —Aristotle
Did you ever admire an empty-headed writer for his or her mastery of the language? No. So your own winning style must begin with ideas in your head. —Kurt Vonnegut
In short, you have only your emotions to sell. This is the experience of all writers. —F. Scott Fitzgerald
To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. —Joseph Chilton Pearce
Writing--and this is the big secret--wants to be written. Writing loves a writer the way God loves a true devotee. Writing will fill your heart if you let it. It will fill your pages and help to fill your life. —Julia Cameron
A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from human lips; not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself. —Henry David Thoreau
Throughout history, writers, artists and creative thinkers have long espoused the power and impact of influential writing: an art capable of shaping change and permeating ideas through stories of the human experience.
And yet, within these quotes, something more is revealed: that writing, itself, is a teacher, too. The act of writing is a reaffirming process that you are all you need to create the change in your life that you desire. Writing is a support system for our lives that teaches us to lose our fear of "wrongness" while compelling us to cultivate our own unique, confident voice and style "within our own heads."
Whether in ink or the inner monologue that we listen to every day, writing guides us toward our higher callings.
Writing is truly a unique tool for self-exploration and inner growth as much as it is a facilitator of change in our lives as we desire. And, from the art of writing, we learn and grow alongside a practical, far-reaching skill and method of communication that empowers us to share our own happiness, gratitude and fulfillment and, through our words, to do good and sow love in the lives of all those around us.
Thank you so much, Dave, for sharing your insights on the lessons of writing.
What have you learned through writing?
(image credit: Joel Carillet via iStockphoto)