As I start blogging or rather writing I am reflecting on my personal writing journey. It has been long and interrupted. I started writing as every kid does; school. They ask you to write book reports, or reports on your favorite president (Abe Lincoln) or descriptive writing to practice for the state exams. I remember having fun with these papers. I was excited to learn something new about my topic. I also remember my mom helping. She is good at coming up with that ONE WORD. The ONE WORD that I needed to utilize so my paper would be next level. We loved the search for that word.
In high school I wanted to be in newspaper class. My friends were and it was a cool class to be involved with. So I wrote for the school paper. It was fun and I liked seeing my name in print. I felt proud to contribute.
In college, writing is taken to another level. When I mean another level I mean requirements of 10 plus pages on one topic, with bibliographies, table of contents, indexes and footnotes. Another level. I loved the challenge and organizing ALL that information. I also learned about documentation. APA and MLA style. I do not consider myself friends with either.
I also tried journaling and letter writing. Most therapists’ recommend one or both as a coping skill. It’s a safe place to say whatever you want. I found it to be cathartic and eye opening. After I read what I wrote I could find the insight. It helped.
When I went to graduate school writing was then taken to an even higher level. The highest level I had ever met. I accepted the challenge. I loved it and found the demand enthralling.
In my 30s, I was hired to begin a non-profit that supported Autism. I wrote an article for The Oklahoman newspaper, promoting our services but more importantly attempting to empathize with those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Having the skill to write, at that time, seemed to come in handy and hopefully it was helpful.
I taught at the community college level and asked students to write. My goal was to have them process and think deeper. I wanted to challenge them to reflect on themselves and their experiences. I wanted them to know themselves and their world more intimately.
Writing is one tool that can be used as a coping skill. And you get to decide how to creatively utilize this tool. While I have wanted to be a decent writer over the course of my writing “career” I am not sure the aptitude of writing is important. What’s important is that you write. It’s important that you list. That you brainstorm, create. It’s important to let go of those thoughts and feelings cycling over and over like a cassette tape (yes, I said cassette tape). They are giving you a message and it’s important you hear it. It is important to connect with yourself. Through my writing journey I got to connect. At first it was with my mom, then with fellow high school friends, my professors, myself, and other colleagues. Further, it was with the Oklahoma City community and families experiencing Autism Spectrum Disorder and then it was with students at the community colleges.
And now as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, Texas I am blogging. I hope to blog about current events in mental health and I would like these creations to be at the least interesting and at the most helpful. I am writing to connect. I would like to connect with you and others on a soulful level.
Thank you for taking time to read and for wanting to know more. More about you, me, mental health, people, life, and all the rest. This is a fascinating journey we are on, isn’t it?