Writing gets our words into the world.
Writing helps us impact readers.
Writing conveys ideas.
But there’s something else about writing…Ruth Vaughn explains it well in her book Write to Discover Yourself:
I am convinced that writing creatively is a beautiful and rewarding experience for discovering one’s self. For writing is one of the most forceful ways of learning, perceiving, maturing, expanding. (Ruth Vaughn)1
This is why I became a writer.
This is why I coach writers.
While I delight in helping writers move toward their publishing goals, I love it most when, through writing, they sort through life and better understand themselves. Every new insight adds depth to their words. Every new truth enlivens their work. They are more thoughtful, more precise, more whole.
Writing has forcefully unlocked my emotions over the years and helped me sort out truth. I found Ruth’s book Write to Discover Yourself at the library while browsing the shelves as a teenager. I brought it home, hid in my room, and worked through each of the writing exercises, scratching out my heart in a spiral-bound notebook..
“Page after page,” I write in On Being a Writer, “the author encouraged me to continue being specific, to use concrete details and metaphor. I poured out stories from my little world.”2
Ruth’s book urged me to discover myself through journaling, through writing creatively. I explain: “Digging into yourself requires a depth of honest that is painful, the author said, but imperative. She quoted a professor who said a writer ‘is the person with his skin off.’ This is how I began to decipher my life. On the pages of a journal, I wrote with my skin off—bare, vulnerable.”3
Is this why you write? To learn, perceive, mature, expand? To decipher life and discover yourself?
- Write to Discover Yourself, by Ruth Vaughn, Doubleday, 1980, out of print (p. 2).
- On Being a Writer, by Charity Singleton Craig & Ann Kroeker, T. S. Poetry Press, 2014 (p. 92)