Writing and your mental health: the double edged, but ultimately awesome sword of authorship!

“Nothing in this world can torment you as much as your own thoughts.”
– Unknown

The world of writing is a veritable breeding ground for mental health jokes. None are meant to be disrespectful of course, but in our defense, as writers we’re all swimming through mindset sharks together daily, navigating a very unusual hobby (or career choice).

We’re known to be mostly introverted, slightly neurotic, sometimes exhibiting A.D.D./O.C.D. tendencies, anxious (mostly at deadline time), self deprecating and for those of us who write fiction, the list only grows longer and more alarming as even crazier fictitious people are thrown into the water with us.

If we’re not already a little bit “off” by nature – being a writer can push us there*.

So why do we keep doing this to ourselves???

Because, as contradictory as it sounds, I personally believe that writing is GOOD for your mental health.

Here’s why:

Lets The Demons Out: The mentally therapeutic effects of journaling have been widely proven. Writing a book brings this to the next level, giving you a structured, intentional, and comprehensive system for filtering out all those emotions, stories, inner conflicts, and life moments that run in continuous loops in your mind. It is my personal belief that, if left to build for a long enough time, those things can eat you alive from the inside out. Writing can help prevent that type of mental self destruction.

Helps Us Understand Why: As writers, we’re more curious and therefore spend more time than most people, thinking about what makes people tick (including ourselves – the ultimate mystery). We regularly and enthusiastically study the full spectrum of thoughts, motives, and emotions (good and bad), and overall – why people do what they do. Not understanding the “why” behind human behavior can create great frustration and angst (especially for dating singles). As writers, our tendency to become “why” anthropologists can guard against these dangerous mental health detours.

Creates a Life of Purpose: By way of our “W.I.P.s” (work in progress) we always have a project to look forward to! No matter how much time passes between writing sessions – our “current writing project” is still there. With the right perspective, we can view it as a thing to look forward to and be excited about rather than as an abandoned ghost town of dread. Projects create a sense of purpose and having purpose, research has shown, has a positive impact on mental health.

How does writing help your mental health, or your general point of view about life?

PS: Starting a book is easier than you think, especially if you have a little help from your fellow author friends. Are you a member of my Ink Authors group on Facebook? We have a full spectrum of authors from those simply considering writing a book at some point, to those actively writing one, to those publishing and marketing books and (always) working on the next one. Join us!

*If you are suffering from actual mental health symptoms that are having a negative impact on your work or life, please seek help from a mental health professional. The content in this blog post is meant for entertainment and inspirational purposes only.

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