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How Writing Can Help Us Through Times Of Disaster
From:
Kathryn Brown Ramsperger -- Author & Intuitive Life Coach(R) Kathryn Brown Ramsperger -- Author & Intuitive Life Coach(R)
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Rockville , MD
Thursday, April 23, 2020

 

We live in overwhelming times. Never has the world experienced a shutdown of all economies while battling an entirely invisible foe—the novel corona virus. Adding restrictions of personal freedoms, conflicting news reports, and the uncertainty creates a perfect recipe for fear and panic. Everyone has their own way of handling crisis. Yet writers can share their talent and skill to get them (and others) through troubling times. Yes, you’re in a unique position to help yourself, and the world, right from your home computer. Here’s how writing can help us through times of disaster.

Some research suggests that writing about negative or traumatic experiences can boost a person’s immune system and improve mental health. The caveat: we help ourselves when we write only when we can derive meaning from it. Conversely, if you describe a trauma in words, you’re actually reliving the experience. Without exploring how it encouraged your growth or changed your perspective, it may have writing can have deleterious effects.

“To tap into writing’s healing power, people must use it to understand…their emotions.”

Joshua Smyth, PhD

“[T]he key to writing’s effectiveness is in the way people use it to interpret their experiences, right down to the words they choose. Venting emotions alone—whether through writing or talking—is not enough to relieve stress, and thereby improve health… To tap writing’s healing power, people must use it to better understand and learn from their emotions, says psychologist Joshua Smyth, PhD.

There isn’t just one way to write through overwhelm. You can simply journal to express your feelings. It may help to provide details about events and your reactions to them. Of course, look for insights gained to work through a challenge or negative emotion.  Identify your emotions and fears. Evaluate your expressed fears to see if they are founded on reality or on speculation alone. Most of what we are afraid of never comes to pass.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

H.P. Lovecraft, American novelist

Journaling captures how you feel and perceive in the moment. Go back and read what you’ve written and observe how things have changed–how you have changed through the crisis. Knowledge can empower when it’s coupled with positive action. Writing gives you a way to express your deepest concerns. It also helps you to develop a plan when appropriate. Many of our fears spring out of a feeling of helplessness, so coming up with ways to take action creates a sense of purpose and control. It also allows us to better manage a situation when the time comes.

Fiction writing provides a safe outlet. It allows your imagination free reign to run wild, in the shelter of your mind, allow you to create scenarios with problems and solutions, defeats and victories, placing yourself in the role of protagonist. Author and professor Jessica Lourey wrote her first novel in the aftermath or her husband’s suicide. She wrote,

“I had these questions, this shame, this fear, and I needed to get it out of my head or it was going to destroy me. Channeling it into fiction seemed like the safest method. And you know what? Not only did I create a publishable book, I began to heal.”

Jessica Lourey

Some of the most powerful literature emerged out of periods of conflict, social upheaval, and change, from the American Revolution to the Civil War to World Wars l and ll to the present. All the best literature rests its laurels on surviving conflict and finding peace, meeting a challenge, and arriving at resolution. Authors have used fiction to confront racism, sexism, drug abuse, depression, sickness, poverty, and other subjects that have relevance to their life and times.

I always keep a journal, but I’m attempting to be more regular with my entries right now. We need a record of this era so that others won’t repeat our mistakes. So they’ll be inspired by our courage.

A journal can result in a memoir (a nonfiction narrative book based on your memory). I am teaching a memoir class now. My students create stories, , every single week, filled with a tumult of emotion. These times have brought that strong emotion, and strong emotions make for riveting words that change people’s lives.

Some good news: You don’t have to be a creative writing student, professional writer, or published author to benefit from putting pen to paper (or keyboard to computer screen). Transferring your negative emotions and swirling thoughts to written words on a page moves them a step away from you. There you will be able to see things with more clarity. Writing through a crisis may not give you all the answers, but it can calm a troubled mind and put you in touch with yourself and others. After all, writing isn’t just something you do but an expression of who you are.

I can help you step into your life and your story. It’s not as difficult as it may seem to finish and share a book. You can contact me here if you want to find out how easy it to express who you are.

 
Author & Coach
Ground One LLC
North Bethesda, MD
301-503-5150