top of page

Write for Wellbeing

Why I Write 


Writing helps me make sense of my turbulent and often conflicting thoughts. Through the process of writing and editing, I can glean what I truly think, feel and believe. It helps me find my way from being overwhelmed by a problem, to finding a solution. Writing helps me explore my hopes and dreams, to celebrate all that is good and beautiful in life. It helps me to heal and forgive, to find the humility to admit when I am wrong, and the courage to say sorry. Writing helps me stay motivated and strong. In a nutshell, writing is vital for my mental health wellbeing. This does not mean I no longer struggle with my mental health, but writing helps something good come out of my bad days. 


I wrote the poem ‘Sanctuary’ quite recently, when my mental health was not good. Initially it was simply an outpouring of disjointed thoughts and a lot of pain. Yet as I continued writing, it evolved into something with a clear understanding of what had happened, why, and what I needed to do about it. By the end of writing 'Sanctuary', my battle-weary inner warrior, had got to her feet, dusted herself off, and was ready for whatever life was going to throw at her.  


Getting It Out of Your System 


Putting pen to paper or taking to our laptop keyboards, can be a great way of getting whatever is upsetting us out of our system. In an hour, a week, a month or longer, we may feel very differently. Sometimes our feelings can change even as we write. Without an outlet, our negative feelings can grow and consume us. Getting it out of our system through writing is healthier than blowing up at loved ones, work colleagues, the boss or someone who jumps the queue in a shop. These people may be the cause of our negative feelings, but often they are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  


Looking back over our often emotionally charged writing, gives us the opportunity to edit what we have written, take the heat out of our words, decide what needs saying, what should be reworded, or left unsaid. For this reason, when emailing someone about an issue I feel strongly about, I never write in a draft email, just in case I accidently hit the send button. I create a Word document, then when I am happy with what I have written, copy and paste my text to email. Email gives me time to think things through, something face to face communication does not always allow. If we do prefer speaking to someone in person, if we first write about how we feel, and why, even if no one else ever reads it, the process can make talking to that person a lot easier. 


For some people, the act of writing down their thoughts and feelings is enough. Once they have got it out of their system, they simply throw away what they have written, or press their keyboard delete key. Others find this difficult to do. Sometimes this is because they see their writing as an intimate part of who they are, and often a vulnerable part. Despite lockable physical journals, online passwords and one-time codes, they worry someone will gain access to their writing, and think they are either mad, bad or both. But when purging their writing from existence, it needs to mean something. Over the years, I have discovered just how creative people can be in doing this.  


Letting Go 


Whether handwritten or printed, some people read what they have written for the last time. Then in the garden, they watch as flames consume their words. And as smoke rises and fades away, they let go of the thoughts and feelings that inspired their writing. Someone told me they once wrote a poem for a loved one, who had recently passed away. When they felt the time was right, they buried the poem in woods that had special meaning for them both. Another said they cut their writing into small pieces, then incorporate them into the papier-mâché they make to create sculptures. 



Nurturing Our Inner Lives 


We all have an inner life. A life that if things were different, we would be that person, live that life. Our outer life is the one the world sees, and in many ways, expects us to live. A life of responsibility and duty towards family, friends, employers, society. Yet it is not all we are, or could be. Writing can help us explore another life, if only circumstance and chance allowed. Sometimes, writing can guide us to changing our circumstances and creating our own chances. 


Antidote Writing  


Sometimes writing about something funny that has happened, or makes us feel good, can be an antidote to a low mood. Likewise, using dark humour when writing about a difficult or painful situation, can be surprisingly therapeutic.   



I Don’t Think I Can Write 


There is no right or wrong way to write for wellbeing. You can write about anything you want, however you want. You don’t need to have a qualification in creative writing, understand all the rules of punctuation and grammar (I still don’t) or even be good at spelling. So long as your writing expresses what you want it to, that is all that matters. Writing for wellbeing is not about producing perfectly written writing, it is about being honest with ourselves, it is about being real. Some people like writing in a structured way, a poem, a paragraph, a short story, a novel, lyrics to a song. Others prefer writing down their meandering thoughts and random feelings as they occur. Whatever way you choose to write, just pour your heart out. If it all comes out in an incoherent string of words full of pain, anger and anguish, so be it. Writing for wellbeing is about you expressing your innermost feelings, your hopes, dreams and fears. It is not about what others may think if they ever read your words. They won’t, unless you want them to.   


To Share or Not to Share 


If you are worried about what others may think about your writing, think before sharing. Not everyone will like or even understand what we write. Some will take comfort from our words and realise they are not alone in how they think and feel. Sharing can help others, but when writing for wellbeing, the person it should help first and foremost is you. 


Writing is not for everyone. Once upon a time, I didn’t think it was for me. I was wrong. I may not be living my happily ever after, but writing is helping me get there. 

bottom of page