Conventionally, writing is thought of as a creative act. It is creating something from nothing, giving voice to an idea. While I don’t entirely discredit those notions about writing, they seem almost too simple. In my experience with writing, I have found it to be an act of courage. All my writings (poetry, stories, essays, journals) have a singular connection: they express what I can’t or won’t communicate with others. This can include certain people or events that have impacted me or very private thoughts and feelings. Writing can be an act of courage because it brings private ideas into reality when a pen is put to paper. There is something seemingly concrete about writing a statement out. It gives preservation to a though with the once fluid ability to slip through one’s mind and memory. Put simply, the action of writing declares our ideas in a more definite form. From this concept come the reasons that writing should be merited as an act of courage. For myself, the reasons are: writing allows me to face necessary truths about myself and it is a source of strength.
Writing allows me to face necessary, if sometimes unpleasant, truths about myself. This is because writing is a skill nurtured in solitude. Long before being shared or circulated, writing is a sharing of secrets kept between the pages and I. The best example of this in my writing life is my private journal. My journal is where I reflect on my life and myself as a person. There is no need for filters or social graces. There is an amazing sense of trust in solitary writing. Pages cannot talk, nor can they judge. I can openly process my feelings and motivations, even those that make me seem small. Writing allows me to face necessary truths because they are harder to deny when they stare back at me from a page. Writing gives the truth a state of permanence.
Writing is also a source of strength for me. My writing allows me to process. Writing helps me process feelings, fears, ideas, and thoughts, in my most articulate way. I’ve always thought of my poems as pieces of me. If read as a collection, they would give a mosaic-style complex image of who I am. Or at the least, how I see the world. Writing poetry is a form of exorcism. This is especially true when I write about a difficult topic or from a deep emotional state of mind. Poetry is a means of expelling heavy emotions that weigh me down. Casting those emotions from myself and onto the page gives me cathartic relief from them. If I’m able to contain emotions within a finite page, then I can understand them, communicate them, analyze them, and maybe resolve them. This is where strength comes from.
While concepts like creativity are relevant for writing, the most important lesson is in courage. Writing is an act of courage, it expresses commitment to ideas and will to own them. In writing, we confront deep personal truths and find strength in processing our own emotions. These skills require all the courage we have.