Creative Writing & The Therapeutic Process.
We can all feel overwhelmed at times when life gets to us . When relationships become strained or we are trying to establish healthy boundaries or due to trauma. Trying to keep it bottled, a lid on it - can often make things worse. We can end up exploding in some way, it can happen often in the wrong place at the wrong time at the wrong person. Making things a lot more strained.
Its important to recognise our emotions and find ways of releasing that hurt in a way that is not harmful. For some it may mean running 10km, or baking or cleaning! Creative writing is another way of helping you release that pent up emotion.
Its a way of processing your feelings and emotions and letting it "out". It can also feel extremely rewarding when you have a piece of creative writing or poetry to show for your pain or trauma. You may find it therapeutic to just leave it in a draw somewhere or you may enjoy sharing your work with others.
How can creative writing or poetry help you?
I became a (secret) published poet - not through a deep desire to write poetry, but kind of by accident, really. In fact, memories of poetry at school left me like many others - shuddering with unhappy thoughts. Poetry for me was something amazing creative intellectuals did - not for someone like me. I wonder if anyone else can relate to this? Ironically, I found myself on a 'write a collection of poetry in a year' course a couple of years ago.
One thing that became apparent for me was that poetry gave me a voice. It can be a place to release anger; a place to release emotion, a place to process trauma or just a place to be heard. The best thing I love about poetry is that you can say things without actually having to say them. If you are open to creative writing, or you just want to release some emotion, I would encourage you to view poetry not as something to be anxious of, but to welcome as a therapeutic tool.
How - or where - do I start?
Here is a guide to getting started and writing your first emotion releasing poem.
- Decide on the way you are going to jot down your poem - pen and paper, notes on your phone, in a new notebook.
- Find some time - whether a quick 20 minute sit down on your own with a cup of coffee, on the commute to/ from work, or settling in for a weekend on your own.
- Think of a topic that you might keep thinking about or a situation you want to process and help heal.
- Jot down some random words about this event, issue, situation, person - the words don't have to be in sentences.
- View your issue as the tip of an iceberg.
- Then, think about what words come to mind that are part of this iceberg but are under the surface. These are the feelings and emotions not easily seen.
- Jot these words down randomly.
- To get inspired, go to an online thesaurus and find synonyms you like the sound of, or rhyme with the words that you jotted down earlier. Jot these words down randomly.
- Now stare at the words and create your story using the one fundamental rule in creative writing - 'show but don't tell'.
- But what does that "show but don't tell" rule actually mean? For example, if we look at any good poem, you get the sense of what the poet is saying, yet nowhere does it tell you, the reader, the story. Showing paints a picture the reader could see in their mind’s eye.
- The final step is to choose a title. Then, put your poem away for a short while. When or if you come back to it, you may want to edit it, rip it up, enter it into a poetry competition, or keep it private to you. Its your poem!