Friday, August 22, 2014

Writing Therapy

When Robin Williams died last week, editors all over the world ran to their keyboards. Many did so because they knew writing about Robin Williams would generate readership. In the business, it's known as "click-bait." The Huffington Post is the best at playing the click-bait game. There's even a Twitter account called @HuffPoSpoilers that mocks how silly their headlines are. But crazy headlines generate more readers. The Daily Show recently spoofed click-baiting, and it was hilarious.

But I ran to my keyboard for a different reason (mostly—we're all a mixed bag of motives, and I'm sure part of me wanted to write something that would generate clicks). I ran to my keyboard because writing is a cheap form of therapy for me. I write to process my emotions. I always have. Back in my single days, when I would argue with a girlfriend, I'd always end up in front of my computer writing an email that fully expressed my thoughts and emotions.

Some people wanted to write about Robin Williams. I needed to write about Robin Williams.

I just connected these dots last week, but my anxiety issues didn't surface until 2011-ish, which happened to be the year I stopped blogging regularly. They were creeping back this spring, but then we launched Rebel Storytellers and they seemed to vanish again. When I get bad customer service, I often come home and write a long letter that never gets sent. I don't need to send it; putting my feelings on paper is enough. I get done typing, hit delete, and move on with my life.

There's a reason people keep journals and write blogs. There's a reason Facebook and Twitter became so popular. People need private platforms to vent their emotions. Yes, I realize Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are very public, but the process of writing isn't. You're alone in a room giving yourself plenty of time to process. It's just you and your keyboard, and it can be one of the most therapeutic activities in your life.

It has been for me. So pick up pencil and paper. Open your laptop. Mourn. Process. Reflect. Write.

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