‘Writing isn’t really to do with sitting at the desk at all,’ said the late, much-lamented, Helen Dunmore in a Guardian interview in 2016. She was talking about writers connecting with the world in order to write about it. I could riff off what she said and suggest that writing for wellbeing isn’t really about writing at all. It’s about making space, shedding the ‘shoulds’ and giving permission.
Making space, shedding the ‘shoulds’ and giving ourselves permission in order to take better care of our wellbeing, both physical and mental (given the two are inexorably linked).
I believe we humans have a lot of ‘displacement’ activities – eating too much, drinking too much, shopping – to name just three. What they do is stop us from feeling awkward or uncomfortable emotions and give us ephemeral moments of pleasure. What they don’t do is feed and nourish our selves at some profound level. In order to do that, we have to stop doing. Once we stop doing, we can start feeling, we can start noticing, we can start accepting, we can start being.
I have found a number of routes towards reclaiming a space to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’ – yoga, swimming, walking, connecting with nature and the seasons, collage. However, for me, the one thing which holds it all together is writing. It may not be so for other people.
Writing in this context cannot become another ‘should’, another ‘to do’ in a life of frenetic activity. Find what it is for you which leads you to a place where you can breathe easily, where you can touch the creative part of yourself, where you can become absorbed in a ‘flow’ of creative energy which means time appears to pass more quickly. Find whatever it is which leads you to that place where you genuinely have the thought, ‘Ah, yes this is me.’
Perhaps it will be writing, perhaps it will not be writing. If there is a possibility that it is writing, then join me for my next post on Writing the therapeutic journey.