By Kellie McGann
Re-posted by permission of The Write Practice
It’s been proven in many scientific studies that we, as writers, are significantly healthier emotionally than the general population. Why is that? Because we write about the hard things of life. We write about the things that haunt others’ souls. We write about our pain, share our torment. We write about
the worst experiences of our lives.
While the rest of the world lets their agony steep, we write.
Why Write about Your Worst Experiences?
There is power when you write hard things, but there are more benefits than you realize. Here are three reasons you should write about the worst experiences of your life.
1. Writing about Your Worst Experiences Heals
I’ve read numerous articles recently that have explained how beneficial writing is for one’s health. It has been shown that writing can help even physical injuries heal.
Another scientific journal explains that blogging specifically is good for mental health. The main reasoning behind these discoveries is that when a person writes, they process events around them in a healthier way and because of that stress is reduced.
Through writing my own memoir I have found it to be incredible the amount of healing done from things in my past. Basically, writing is really cheap therapy.
Through blogging and personal journaling we are able to process situations in a healthy way that brings about a lot of healing.
I have found that even as we write fictional stories, so often we find ourselves amidst our own characters.
2. Easy Stories are Boring
Have you ever wondered why fairy tales end with, “and they lived happily ever after,” but rarely do they actually depict the happily ever after. That’s because the happy, bird-chirping, charmed life isn’t what people want to read.
They want to read the struggle, the climax, and the solution.
Kid President says it himself, “Easy is boring. Anyone can be boring.”
3. Writing about Your Worst Experiences Creates Credibility with Your Readers
Something that I’ve learned while writing about hard things on my blog is that it creates credibility and authority with my readers. When we are willing to share the hard things, we gain trust. It’s just like a face-to-face relationship: trust often takes vulnerability. Often sharing personal and even hard things creates a bridge between you and your readers. And in turn, they are more likely to subscribe to your blog, buy your book, or tell a friend about what they read.
For example, books such as: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank are all based on true, hard stories.
They are bestsellers because readers can relate to feeling left out, friends and loved ones dying, and the effects of war. These books all depict difficult situations, but the readers are looking for hope and often a way out; your story can bring that.
Writing about Your Worst Experiences Will Change Your Life
I’ve had a lot of practice over the last few months writing about my worst experiences as I’ve written my memoir and confessed a few secrets on my personal blog.
The most important tip I have on how to write hard things is this: Hope.
When writing about hard things, hope is the feeling of expectation that there is something better around the corner. Hope is what keeps us turning pages and scrolling down. Hope is the answer your readers are searching for.
So while writing about your worst experiences, be sure to hint at the sun behind the cloud, or the hero around the corner. Your reader needs this, and so do you.
We write hard things to inspire others. We inspire them to overcome their fears, and to tell them that they are not alone in their dark night of the soul.
Why do you write hard things? What can you write that will inspire someone today? Post your comments below.
Kellie McGann is a writer and missionary. She blogs at kelliemcgann.com. The Write Practice encourages writing fifteen minutes a day, six times a week.
Photo: D Sharon Pruitt/Creative Commons