Why and How I Write: Let’s Talk Writing

maya-angelouWhy I write

I write because writing helps me to make sense of my life. Putting past events and traumas outside of myself allowed me to see my life with more clarity and to have more compassion for other people too. If before I saw only my side of the story, writing helped me to tap into the perspective of other people.

When I started writing, I had masses of resistance to it. I had a lot of sexual trauma in the past, which I kept hidden from everyone. For many years I was convinced that my life depended on keeping my past secret. Writing a book which involved unravelling what’s been hidden for so long was painful to say the least.

I remember having a self-imposed writing retreat for 10 days before I started working with Barbara Turner-Vesselago, my writing mentor, in June 2012. My aim was to write down the worst memories and events of my life so that they didn’t come up when I worked with Barbara. So much shame was attached to those events that the thought of being exposed felt unbearable. Yet my soul wanted me to write. It was not negotiable.

Writing now feels as natural as breathing. When I’m in my writing flow, I feel as if I am possessed (in a good way). I pray there are no interruptions and writing is akin to channelling information. It’s as if something writes through me, and I just need to sit still in front of my laptop and allow the words to pour out. I don’t pause to re-read or negotiate every word. In those moments, I’m falling into the unknown, and don’t know where the story may take me.

To read the rest of this post, please visit Viga Boland’s website, where I’m a guest today.

And if you’d like to contribute to Viga’s series too, then here’s how you can do it.

14 thoughts on “Why and How I Write: Let’s Talk Writing

  1. I’m just getting ready to write about some of my shame and guilt in a book. I have a lot of notes of brain dumps, but nothing coherent except an intro. I used my writing to help me get through the early years of motherhood, but I never used it for my sexual trauma except attempts at writing it out for My Duty to Speak’s website. I’ve been very afraid to touch this subject, like I am telling myself I’m going to do it, but I never do because I don’t want to face it. You have given me some inspiration and motivation.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing, Michelle. I think sometimes just writing these things down is step number 1. Sharing them with the world is another story. We need to be ready. Rushing things can open things up… Tune in, you know the answer when the time is right. If it’s now, then I’m so glad you’ve got motivation and inspiration from this post. And please, drop me a link, I’d love to read, comment and share. Have a lovely w/e.

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  2. I enjoyed your enlightening posts. I look forward to learning more. Sexual experiences can be frightening even from a bit older age as I experienced. I’m glad you were able to write about the trauma you experienced. You do a great job of writing honest.

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    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Gwynn. Yes, it’s been scary and uncomfortable to write things down, but also incredibly healing. Not sure what form the book will take in the end, but it’s been an important part of my journey. Wishing you a wonderful w/e. I’m hoping to pop around to read your posts this w/e. Big Hug.xx

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  3. As always good article…I had to giggle at this line “I feel as if I am possessed (in a good way)”…because you felt the need to add that ‘in a good way’…hahaha
    Have a wonderful weekend dear Gulara. Big hug, XxX

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    • Thank you, Patty 🙂 Yes, I had to add that. Not sure I want to be possessed in a bad way 😀 Just making sure… Have a wonderful w/e too, Patty. Thanks for reading.xxx

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  4. I’m sure it isn’t easy to write about such trauma; i have no such similar experiences at least not so appalling but writing about my parents is much easier to be fully honest now they are dead than my living family; we self edit so much that to reveal all how one feel about something when a person only sees the end product of that filtering would be damaging. Even something prosaic as someone’s cooking skills – as harmless as it is, I really do not like meatballs – my wife likes them and cooks them. They are as good as meatballs can be but to tell her now, after years of eating them that i really don’t like them would be hard. So I eat them and she will never know. I missed the chance to say, I feel, though of course she may not care and that is the other side to self editing – we judge other’s reactions, partly as we might react and do not know what their responses might be and deny them the chance to be understanding and generous. So, yes, writing is both cathartic and compelling and I will not stop but it also remains a challenge to be honest, even in one’s private little corner. After all the one place no one can read you is your mind. Release it from that dungeon in any form and it can be seen!

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    • Geoff, I do love your comments. Thank you for sharing so generously and I hope your wife won’t come across my blog to read about meatballs 🙂 I know what you mean about keeping things safely in one’s mind. But here’s the thing. I imprisoned myself by keeping everything to myself. In some ways, just outing things can be so liberating. No need to hide, self-edit, self-sensor – with time it becomes so exhausting, especially when one does that all the time. Whereas when we stop hiding our thoughts then people can have the response they have. I was taking too much responsibility for how others may feel. Anyway, this is a big topic, and I appreciate your views. I don’t have a perfect solution yet (apart from changing the names in my book, as well as delaying getting it out into the world), but it feels like a muscle. I constantly need to work on strengthening it. Blogging has been so helpful in that respect. Have a lovely weekend, and many thanks again for stopping by.

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  5. I can relate so much to what you say here. I have never felt more ‘me’ as I do when I’m writing and like with you, it didn’t feel like an option for me, I was compelled to write (although it took over 40 years to compel me!). I look forward to reading more from your journey 😊

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