What Does Your Writing Do For You?

As a writer do you write for yourself or for others? When I ask that of myself, it’s a question for which I don’t have a definitive answer. Do you?

I’d like to hear what other writers say. Writers like Jodi Picoult and Mary DeMuth, for instance, tackle some pretty disturbing social issues… ones that many of us don’t like to think about. Via fiction and non-fiction they put a human face on personal struggles and tragedies. I sometimes wonder why.

Mary DeMuth knows why she has written her recently released THIN PLACES. Check out what she has to say in this video.

Would you have the courage to write with the kind of honesty this requires? If you did would it be as personal therapy or as a form of outreach — for yourself or for others? Lots of questions today, but I hope they make you think about what your writing is meant to accomplish.

6 thoughts on “What Does Your Writing Do For You?

  1. Tricia says:

    I get The Writing Spa in my email daily. I didn’t even connect the two until I clicked on her name.

    Actually, I do have that kind of courage because I did write that kind of story. While it may or may not be therapeutic, my reason would fall more under outreach.

    I love memoir. And I think most delve into the darker side of coming-of-age, so I tried to be different and use humor as my outreach. But reading others’ memoirs have been more therapeutic to me than by writing my own.

  2. Laura Best says:

    Those are tough questions to answer, Carol. I tend to think that unless we are actually in a particular situation that we honestly don’t know for sure what we would do. I could make a guess according to where I am presently in my life but often when it comes right down to it if it’s something we haven’t experienced we really can’t know for sure. So for that reason I can’t really say if I would be that brave. It might depend upon the circumstances and what my motives were.

    I certainly respect anyone who has the courage to come forward and speak the truth, whether it be for their own personal healing or to help others.

  3. Such a touching video! Thank you, Mary, for your honesty.

    Carol, I do both. I write for myself, because it’s cathartic. I write for others, because I like trying to offer that moment of relation, when my words strike them as truth, and we’re connected.

  4. I write for myself. Though I sometimes write down my feelings to understand them better, I don’t feel called to write my personal story for publication. The difficult things I’ve had to deal with I handle through prayer and Bible study, and a frantic call to my sister.

  5. joylene says:

    Sometimes it feels as if I write for two reasons, because I don’t know any better, and because it allows me the chance to vent. Or maybe it’s my saving grace. I think it’s best not to think too much about it. At least it is for me.

    Very good post, Carol.

  6. Tricia – I admire the courage of people who can put personal experiences out on the page for others to see. I’m too private a person and I find the idea intimidating. I don’t even let my fictitious characters go there!

    Laura – I agree, if we haven’t walked the same path we probably don’t know how we’d react. There is a lot of non-fiction written to expunge or cleanse, and even fiction that addresses trauma, but as I said to Tricia, I would find it difficult to be that public about my pain.

    Janna – Personal experience certainly gives authenticity to one’s writing and I’m sure that shines through to readers.

    Carol – Journals provide an outlet for a lot of private writing. Judging by their popularity lots of people make use of them. I know I do, and of prayer, too, of course.

    Joylene – We do have a tendency to overanalyze, don’t we? Maybe it’s better to just write from the heart and not question why we say it. 😉

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