Write It Out
Updated: Feb 26
Asking their clients to write things down has long been a strategy of therapists. From helping with the healing process to just finding a more productive way to express one's feelings, writing it out and writing it down is beneficial. When we write, we see it. When we write, studies show that we are more likely to remember it. When we write, studies also show that we are more likely to do it. Writing out just some of what lives in our head brings those things to life, and that can be the difference between action and inaction, change and stasis, internal discord and peace.
You don't have to be a novelist. You don't have to have perfect grammar or beautiful handwriting. You need not worry about the quality of paper or whether you have a pretty journal. Just write.
Write down your plans for the day.
Write down your menu for the week.
Write down something funny your child said.
Write down that inspiring quote that you don't want to forget.
Write a note in your lunchbox.
Scribble down something you saw on television that triggered an idea.
Jot down what you did on day 2 of your vacation.
Write down your dreams for this month.
Write down your goals for this year.
And then write more. Write a letter to a friend and mail it to them. Write a letter to an enemy and don't mail it to them. Write a letter to someone who has disappointed you so that you can start the process of healing on your end.
Writing is free therapy, available to you whenever you choose. By writing things down, we reveal so much more than just our words. From our hearts, to our heads, to the paper, things we can then see on paper in plain sight become a deeper part of what we remember, what we care about, and what we believe. Whatever it is you choose to write, feel no obligation to show it to anyone. It is for you.
Devices and electronics are just different. Typing something doesn't have the same impact as seeing something you created in your very own handwriting. I think using electronic calendars are brilliant for keeping track of busy family schedules. But I also worry that writing things out and down is a dying art. The task of taking time to produce the written word is significantly more therapeutic than hearing the clicks of the cell phone. The sound of the pen on the paper. The quiet moment to think about what to write next. The finished product that will persist through time if we so choose it to.
Writing it down, or writing it out, probably serves to help us work it out. Work it out of the recesses of our mind so that we can think about it with more clarity. It is our reminder to take action. It is our reminder to finally let it go. It is our opportunity to present it to ourselves in a new way, allowing us to gain perspective. What we write down essentially talks back to us.
Find your post it notes. Find your fancy paper that you never use. Pick up your favorite pen. You know the one that writes so smoothly that you pocketed from the hotel? And just let the words flow. Nothing fancy. Just see how it feels to write. See how you feel after you have written something down. Connect with your thoughts in a new way that leads you down a road of acceptance, action, enjoyment, and release.