Personal writing is often therapeutic as well as creative. It can help you gain insight into who you are, what makes you happy and how you want to live.
Blogging has become my passion because it links my three loves of new media design, teaching and writing. Blogging is far more than just a job. It’s the creative outlet I’ve always craved.
I’ve prioritised lifestyle for decades. I live in a gorgeous place and work from home so I can spend time with the kids. Now I have a job I love all those things combine to make me feel fulfilled and content.
I feel lucky and never take that for granted because it hasn’t always been that way.
For the first 10 years of my adult life I wasn’t sure what to do when I grew up. Travel and teaching English filled the gap and postponed the time when I actually had to grow up.
Then I had a baby, another baby and another. Suddenly I was a mother of three but I still hadn’t worked out my place in the world.
Post-natal depression set in.
Motherhood is a time when many women lose track of who they are and stop looking after themselves and I was no different. Seana Smith, co-author of Beyond the Baby Blues, says 16% of women suffer from post-natal depression after becoming a new mother. Many more new mums endure stress and anxiety.
Although I ran a successful business and enjoyed web design and copywriting I still felt there must be more in life. I was usually stressed out and generally unhappy.
The kids pulled me one way, the business another and household duties ruled my life. There was no time to nurture my creative inner child and be me. It wasn’t that I’d forgotten who I was, more like I never spent time working it out.
I was almost 40 when I realised I needed to prioritise myself and my writing. I vowed to liberate myself from drudgery, put housework, laundry, shopping and cooking on the backburner and make time for writing because I needed to nurture my soul. I needed to feel fulfilled.
My awakening didn’t happen overnight. It took 40 years and help from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, a book I recommend to anyone who needs help discovering or recovering their creative self.
Personal Writing and Self-Discovery
For better personal writing it helps to know:
- Who are you?
- Why do you write?
- What defines you?
- What do you stand for?
How can you really tell your story to your readers unless you know exactly what your story is?
Personal Writing Practice
I’ve suggested fun personal writing exercises before here, but I’ve got more quick ideas below for exploring who you are.
They won’t help you find out who you are if you’re really lost but if you’re on the right track you’ll enjoy doing them and get to know yourself a bit better through writing them.
Take a moment for yourself, sit down with a nice cup of tea and relax with a pen and paper while you do them. You deserve it.
1. Choose 10 adjectives that describe you: 5 Strengths and 5 Weaknesses.
2. Choose an experience that shaped who you are today and what it revealed about you.
3. Choose one person who’s influenced you and what that relationship revealed about you.
Personal Writing Warning
There are many great reasons for personal writing:
- It’s fun.
- It gives people the feeling of really knowing you.
- It makes you seem more human and helps people relate to you.
- It lets you take a trip down memory lane.
- It captures people’s imagination and evokes their emotions.
Personal writing is great unless you get too personal. You don’t want to scare your readers and should never use them as a dumping point for your pain. Personal writing is about sharing your story, it’s not a therapy session.
A lot of the writing you do may be something you can never share with anyone. The point of that writing is to help you learn about yourself and grow until you can write a good personal story that enlightens you and your readers.
Need more help finding out who you are?
Read my post How To Work Out What Your Dream Is.
Check out The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
I also recommend coach Barrie Davenport’s course How to Discover Your Passion. I met Barrie at Blogworld in 2010 – she’s highly trained with years of experience and utterly passionate about helping other people discover what their passion is. Find out more about Barrie and How to Discover Your Passion here.
Otherwise remember to take time to do these personal writing exercies and stay tuned to Get In the Hot Spot for the rest of our Personal Writing Magic Series and more hot travel stories.