On being a writer: discover

I’m continuing to join in with Kate Motaung’s online discussion group On Being a Writer, which is based on Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig’s book On being a writer: 12 simple steps for a writing life that lasts.

Wednesday’s prompt asked us to think about the word Discover. The prompt asked us to think about what “When I write, I find myself” means to us, and to discuss what we’ve learned about ourselves through our writing.

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It’s taken me a while to get in to a frame of mind where I could even begin to answer this, as it’s kind of a heavy prompt! Writing means so many things to me, particularly in relation to self that I’ve been a bit stumped to tell the truth.

I’ve always written, always write. It’s so much part of who I am that I’m only myself when I’m able to write.

Recently, however, as I’ve lived through things no-one should have to live through, I’ve found myself journalling as a way of getting all the ‘stuff’, all the negative emotions, out of my head, to be able to have a head that’s clear enough to be able to write.

I then write the imaginary characters/places I have in my head, which transfers me to a different world. I freely admit that I often get lost in these worlds for longer than I should, for longer than is viable practically, because I feel so comfortable there.

It’s a place where I’m me, safe, where no-one can judge, where no-one can spoil or damage anything; it’s a safe haven.

So I guess I’ve started to use writing, in different forms, as some type of therapy: to process and understand but, also, to escape. 

In this escape, I’m ‘me-er than me’ (as Seuss would say) and I feel at home there, perfectly comfortable, perfectly safe.

I sometimes find the messages my inner self is trying to tell me when I write. They pop up, out of the font of words, from my subconscious, telling me what it is I wanted to know, or what it is I’ve been too afraid to tell myself.

I think, reflecting on this, that part of the vulnerability of revealing myself as ‘a writer’ comes from the fact that my writing has begun to take on this deeper significance for me personally, as a way of overcoming everything I’ve lived through recently.

And then I get angry all over again, because this, even this, even my writing has now, somehow, become part of the abuse, in that I use it now to process, to understand, to overcome….even this deeply personal, deeply ‘me’ part of me has become tainted and I kind of hate that.

Then I realise that all this ‘going round in circles’ isn’t helpful in terms of me ‘realising my dreams’ when it comes to my writing and I quickly snap myself out of it and get on with it. 

It’s not easy living with trauma, it’s not easy overcoming but I’m damned if that’s going to stop me doing what it is I want to do.

I reveal and simultaneously discover myself, my inner workings, every time I put finger to keyboard, or pen to paper: there’s power in that, actually, as it enables me to get stronger, more secure, more sure with every word typed, every word written out long.

There’s defiance in my act of writing.

Defiance to not be defeated.

Defiance to not be lost. 

Defiance: to reveal me, even despite the fact that, some days, I wonder who ‘me’ really is any more….

Helen

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8 thoughts on “On being a writer: discover

  1. Joy Lenton says:

    This, oh yes! – “I reveal and simultaneously discover myself, my inner workings, every time I put finger to keyboard, or pen to paper.” You and me both, my friend, You’re still winning in the cathartic pouring out. It doesn’t signal a losing of yourself but rather a finding of who you are and owning of your (often painful) story. Feelings may overwhelm for a while. That’s okay.. feelings do that sort of thing. But you are having days where you feel free, whole and connected again after life had splintered you apart. Hold on to those. Blessings and love. Xox ❤ PS:I'll try to catch up with your email over the weekend. It's lovely to hear from you. Stay strong. 🙂

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  2. carlybenson says:

    It’s great how writing can help us through difficult times in so many different ways- helping us process, helping us empty negative thoughts and emotions out of our minds, helping us escape… I can relate to all of these too. This line stood out to me too: “I reveal and simultaneously discover myself, my inner workings, every time I put finger to keyboard, or pen to paper.” I think there is great power in that, and I like your defiance and your determination to overcome.

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  3. Gabriele says:

    I was just listening to Elizabeth Gilbert talk about how writing is the only place she is entirely authentic. Other times she is just posing a little bit. Being just a little smarter and such. I hope that is true for me. I feel your writing is very authentic and seems true. Yeh, for writing to get the gunk out of our minds.

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Gabriele, I definitely agree with her sentiment….still can’t put my finger on it but, yes, I honestly only feel ‘me’ when I’m writing…(very much appreciated your thoughts on my writing; thank you)…Helen xx

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  4. Tara says:

    Helen, beautiful post. Writing is so much who I am too. So much THIS: “I’ve always written, always write. It’s so much part of who I am that I’m only myself when I’m able to write.”

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Thank you Tara….had so so much trouble reflecting on all of this….this week’s definitely been the hardest in terms of getting down to the ‘grit’ of it all, for me….looking forward to next week…..[I’ve found this series so so useful and will be very sad to see it end]…Helen

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