Monday, August 8, 2011

Why Writing is So Important to Me

"Words are tears that have been written down. Tears are words that need to be shed. Without them, joy loses all its brilliance and sadness has no end. Thank you, then, for your tears." ~ Paulo Coelho

As an extrovert who posed as an introvert for most of my life, I think I have an interesting perspective on using writing as a way of expressing myself.

Growing up, I was overwhelmed with all the experiences I had in my day-to-day life. I went through all these things, but I didn’t seem to have a good way to process what I was going through.

As I mentioned before… I started writing. In fact, one of the first things I wrote in my very first journal at the age of 9 was this poem:

Some People

Some people are happy,
some people are sad,
some people are mad,
and some people just don't understand.

But most of all,
people are different and have different feelings.
So don't feel left out
just because you have different feelings,
because you can only be you,
and no one else.

Um, yeah. I was 9. I promise!

Writing began as my lifeline.

In college, I wrote a lot to counterbalance all of the pain my mind was opened up to, as I learned about the state of education and our schools around the country, as I learned more about politics, foreign nations, and the plight of third world countries. My world opened wide, my heart hurt for those I could not touch, and I needed an outlet.

And it was writing.

In those college years and shortly after… writing was sometimes the only thing that helped me maintain any semblance of sanity.

During my senior year in college, I took a non-credit class called Creative Inquiry. The facilitator helped us delve into what makes us creative individuals and why that makes us special. At the end of that class, the facilitator gave me a gift: Natalie Goldberg’s volume, Long Quiet Highway.

In that book, I read about Natalie starting a writing group. I instantly knew that I wanted to do the same.

In 2004, my journey as a writer took a new turn when I created that writing group. This wasn’t a typical critique group, though. Those are a dime a dozen, and available just about anywhere. This group was a writing practice group, where I created lessons including snippets from experienced writers, writing exercises, and then sharing those exercises.

It became a safe place for budding writers to dive deep into their potential, shake things up, and see what happened.

At the beginning of the four year stint that I facilitated the group, I started out completely unable to write fiction. I wrote angsty prose about my life that really wasn’t terribly interesting to read. I didn’t go very deep, I didn’t process much, and it felt… empty.

At the end of that four years, though, I was writing well-crafted fiction and personal stories that were interesting, and at times even deeply moving. I not only grew on a personal level, but my writing progressed exponentially because of the type of lessons we did during our meetings.

I am bringing some of the same exercises to Writing for Growth, and with Mark’s psychology background, we have created a really exciting class.

I think we are born with all the wisdom we really need. And as a wise man recently said… we’re born with all the genius we need, but during the violence of birth, we forget.

And we spend the rest of our lives trying to remember why we were placed here in the first place, and learning how to allow that person to be.

I have felt that journey very deeply over the last year of my life, as I have learned how to better express myself verbally as well as in writing.

And I’ve learned quite a bit in my journey.

I’ve seen how writing has helped me, at times, when nothing else could. I am positively passionate about writing, the impact that writing can have on your life, the way it can help shape you, and how it can help you grow.

And now, I have a whole new attitude towards expression, freedom, and writing, and I am excited to share it in Writing for Growth.

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