Writing as Healing, Not Hurting

You know the cliche. The one that says that the suffering artist creates their greatest work.

I’ve found that the claim is BS.

Writing when it hurts isn’t easier. It’s hard. When you can hardly find the strength to roll out of bed, that doesn’t make it any easier to open up your laptop or journal and write. When you can hardly put one foot in front of the other, how can you put one word after the other, as well?

The way for me to get out of that, the rut of just, well, nothing, to describe it best to someone who often finds myself in combat with the looming dragon that is mental health…

It’s to put aside the projects. The deadlines. It’s to write what you feel.

That’s what helped me. To write as therapy. (Not a replacement for therapy, but as a coping mechanism that brought me joy)

Not as a job. Not as a hobby that’s forced. Not as a looming schedule.

Use it as therapy.

I originally got into writing because I had a lot of imagination, and the only socially acceptable place to pretend there are dragons and the Fae is when you’re creating a whole other world. Through writing.

I love my characters like I love my children, but forcing myself to reenter their minds and walk around in their worlds takes a lot of mental energy. It’s keeping plot threads woven together and tracking down names and backstories to no end.

When I hardly had the energy to keep myself awake, I wrote down my thoughts. What I was feeling. I wrote until I cried. Until I felt aware enough to formulate my own thoughts into whatever they wanted to be.

Snippets of dialogue. Poetry in my diary.

And then, when I felt like I had my thoughts sorted out, I went back to writing my characters. My blog. The deadlines/hobbies/job didn’t feel so forced anymore.

Writing is kind of like plunging into a pool. You don’t know how cold the water is. You stare at the water, wondering if the bottom is really as deep as it looks. Wondering if you’ll remember how to swim or if the shock of the water will render you motionless.

Then you leap. Find your breath. Take long, steady strokes.

Great writing doesn’t come from needless suffering. It comes from taking log of your emotions, starting small, and then remembering why you loved it in the first place. Writing is art, but it can also be therapy.

It can come from a place of love just as easily as it comes from necessity. You need only remember why.


  1. Kathy Steinemann on June 15, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Excellent post, Sophia.

    I often wonder how writers like George R.R. Martin and Diana Gabaldon manage. They have so many interviews and obligations related to TV production. Do they still enjoy their writing? Indie authors can set their own pace and deadlines.

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