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Monday, March 16, 2009

Writing to Heal, Part Two

I was thinking about this topic again this morning over breakfast. For writing to be healing doesn't mean that the world will suddenly look like you are viewing it from rose-colored glasses. Healing writing can evoke various emotions, some of which aren't on the "happy" continuum. Sadness, anger, regret, guilt, annoyance, confusion - only to name a few - can and do have their place in writing.

Personally, I like to work in little vignettes that have happened to me over the course of my life into my books. I'm grinning even now as I remember one of my favorites. Of course, not all of them are favorites, but it just goes to show how life is a writer's fodder. There will never be a drought of life (although you may certainly suffer from writer's block from time to time) from which you won't be able to garner material for writing. It's everywhere.

One of my favorite examples of a well-known author who did this is Karen Kingsbury. She wrote a series about the 9-11 attacks, and in her preface said it had been her own way to assimilate and try to make sense of what happened on that awful day. The story idea just came to her as she watched the news coverage. It was healing. And anyone reading her books (if you can get through one of her books without crying, my hat's off to you) also is taken on her journey of healing. As her characters cried out against what happened, we cry out. As they grieved the loss of loved ones and the feeling of security, we grieved. Healing writing at its finest.

So think about what issues you might have in your life currently, or in your past, that you might be able to heal - or at least allow to scab over - by writing. Usually our "issues" revolve around conflict, and as any student of the writing craft knows, conflict creates great plot. More on this in the next post.