What is your purpose for your writing? Do you want to keep a record of major thoughts, feelings, and experiences of each day? This is the diary approach and can help you monitor your progress as you look back at earlier entries and see how far you have come. Most likely, you will see a “one-step-forward, two-steps-back” rhythm in how you are feeling over time. That is the way healing happens at first and sometimes for quite a while. Eventually, you will see a difference in your life. Pain softens, sorrow yields to other emotions, memories bring more joy than pain, and you find new pleasures in life: a sunrise, a child’s laughter, a deeper sense of compassion.
A journal is also a good place to work on specific goals. If you choose this method, you might have one or more specific things you wish to accomplish. Each one can be broken down into manageable steps you can work on over time. Some of these may be completed quickly; others will take longer. Your dreams and goals may be different now than they were before your loss. Stay open to possibilities.
Another way to use your journal is to record your thoughts about what you experienced. Describe what happened. Talk to the person you love who is no longer in your physical presence. Ask questions. You know this person so well that you can probably answer most of these.
Perhaps you have a specific goal for your writing. Do you want to publish a book or start a blog? Maybe you would like to share how you feel with other people or write helpful articles. Leaving a family history or writing a memoir and all these other things begin the same way. They start with your ideas and goals and with a few words written down and examined each day. The words grow as you grow through frustrations and discouragement, through success and failure.
ACTIVITY: Decide on a spot where you will do most of your writing. Use a pack of small sticky notes. Each day, write one word on one note. Place it on the side of your refrigerator or on a bulletin board near your writing desk. Let that word start your daily writing.
Remember, private pages in a journal are good places to work through your emotions. They can also be shared with a counselor or someone else if you choose.
Welcome to Telling Your Story Through Writing!
My name is Jan McDaniel.