THE BENEFITS OF CREATIVE WRITING
My grandfather (R.I.P.) once told me, “Take that rage and put it on a page.” I never forgot that quote, and to this day I continue to use this as inspiration for self-therapy. A lot of people do not realize the profound psychological effects of creative writing. When you write your thoughts or your feelings on a piece of paper, you are not only telling a story; you are also clearing out the system in which we function on.
Writing Is Therapy
When I am unhappy about something, I often find myself writing a song, a poem, or a short story that often has nothing to do with the issue in question. However, what is the psychological value of doing this? To be honest, I would say that about 80 percent of those things I write down are never read, and most likely will never be read. In fact, they will sit on my hard drive for years before I ever see them. However, when you write, you are clearing the subconscious gunk out of your existence and placing it onto a sheet of paper. I have done analyses of my writings, and have found that often what seems to be a short story based on fiction is actually a subconscious mechanism for my brain to clear itself out.
James Hetfield is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the band: Metallica. He is also the primary writer, and is attributed as the author of around 90 percent of their songs. He eventually found himself in rehabilitation for drug abuse, and upon returning to songs he had written years before his induction into a clean life, he realized that a lot of the songs he had written were actually about drugs – and he never intended it to be that way. An example is the song: “Master Of Puppets,” which Hetfield said he learned in rehab that the song was rather obvious: it was about cocaine! These seemingly infamous words may sound like jargon, and to him they were…until he examined them in rehabilitation and found these songs were written about cocaine! “Have your breakfast on a mirror,” as one lyric.
Learn To Vent
So, what’s my advice?
Allow yourself to vent. Next time you feel you are upset, or angry, or even happy, you should write something down. Do not write about what it is; let your subconscious guide you into writing something that is a creative story or a poem. The more abstract you can be, the more likely you are to heal. And you may write something that is actually worth reading – even if just by you and you alone. Let us use a broad example: Donald Trump. Are you pissed off about what Trump is doing? Or are you pissed off about what he isn’t doing? Well, do not write about Trump; do not even write about politics. Just write! Clear your head and let your hand do the work. Write a short story, and think of it as a hidden message. That is the point of creative writing: allowing a sense of mystery and symbolism in your work.
They Are Inkblots
Eminem said it best: “These songs are inkblots.” The point of writing is to hide what you are really talking about. The goal is to get something out to the world that is so abstract that the meaning is subjective. In other words, “inkblots.” Let the reader decide what the writing is about, rather than trying to convince them of the topic. That way, it is up to the reader to understand the nature of the content. I often like to think of it as, what would happen if this piece of work was examined in an English Composition class one hundred years from now? I would want a teacher to ask me to write an essay on what the symbolism behind so-and-so is; what the writer was implying when he wrote so-and-so. Think back to English class and recall the many books we had to read, and the many questions we had to answer.
They were all subjective, and that is what makes those books worth reading.
Writing is therapeutic if done correctly. I would say you should be writing something new every day. If you have an iPhone, use the “Notes” section to document various poems or songs; write short stories using that function. Then, return to it days or weeks later and try to figure out what you were talking about. Can you uncover your own thoughts in words that may seem abstract? And did you accomplish something? I would actually go ahead and write at the way end: a section on how you feel after you wrote that piece. Do you feel alleviated? Do you feel more angry than you originally were? Isolate patterns in your creative writing, and remember: inkblots will always be seen the same, but through different sets of eyes!
Take This With You
Writing is about art, despite the many times I have had to explain that this is actually not true. So, to clarify: when I say that your book is not art and is, instead, a product, I never once meant to demean the true beauty of what a book or a short story or a tall tale or a poem. With that said, allow yourself to write not based on what your brain is telling you. A bit of neuroscientific knowledge for you: the cerebral cortex is where we store most of our memory, and if you call your book “art,” that part of the brain recognizes its first perception of what art is. So, catch their attention, but do not leave behind your soul. It’s on you…