Why It’s Important To Write, Write, Write And Write Some More

I was reading Steve Almond’s essay in The New York Times about why writing workshops are so successful. Instead of going to talk therapy – where people talk their stories – they are going to writing classes where they write their stories. Because, as Pico Iyer said, “Writing is, in the end, that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.”

I write to reach my readers, most of whom are strangers. And I also write to get to know myself. I can look in the mirror to see my face but I look at the words I’ve written down and I see my soul. That is the deepest of visions. That is why writing is so profound.

Some might argue that it’s silly, all this scribbling. What is the point, exactly, of getting to know the deepest part of ourselves? Because if we want to live our best lives, then we have to understand who we really are so that we can become our best selves. And the only way to do that is to get down and dirty. To reveal as much as we can about ourselves so we know what makes us laugh, cry, smile and weep, what makes us want to throw a perfectly good ceramic dish against the wall in anger or fall down to our knees and cry out in pain. I’m thinking of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones who wrote that writing is what breaks your heart open “so deeply to a tenderness and softness toward myself and from that, a glowing compassion for all that is around me.”

Here’s an exercise: get a pen and paper (you should still have those things lying around somewhere) and then set a timer and give yourself five minutes to write down everything you love about your life right at this moment, right now. Here’s what I started to write: I am in love with the birds in the trees, singing as if they don’t know what death is…or they do know what death is and that makes them sing even louder and the leaves of the eucalyptus trees swaying in the breeze, the blue blue sky, the thin white clouds, the avocado I plan to eat for lunch and my third cup of coffee, running with my husband in the early dawn as the sun came up over the hills…

It is so good and powerful to appreciate the everyday moments of life. Then we are able to appreciate our lives and who we are right now. I can write out my heart knowing that life is short and the only way I can enlarge it and stretch out time is to write it all down, to embrace all that I have right here, right now, and all that I am.

Open invitation: Send your scribbles! I’ll be posting them next Friday.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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11 Responses to Why It’s Important To Write, Write, Write And Write Some More

  1. Pingback: Uncovering the bones « clearskies, bluewater

    • dianabletter says:

      Well, as Natalie Goldberg also says, “don’t even worry about writing well…just writing is pure heaven.”

  2. Maeve says:

    Where should we leave the scribbles?

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Maeve, Good point! I’ll post another reminder on the blog – Meanwhile, you can send them to me and I’ll post them in my blog on Friday. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Pingback: Case of the Missing Towels, Take 2 | THE BEST CHAPTER

  4. Maeve says:

    I love to feel the new life in my belly wriggle and kick. I love when my husband takes our kids on special adventures along the ocean shore – enjoying it as much as they. I love the sun shining through my curtains to give my room a fresh glow, even when it’s messy; when food hits the spot; getting to know new friends.
    I love how writing, if even just for a spare moment, clears my head and fills my soul.

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Maeve, this is great! How many months pregnant are you?

      • Maeve says:

        I am fifteen weeks along with my third child. 🙂 I have a son named Blaise who is seven and a daughter named Posie who is three.

      • dianabletter says:

        Hi Maeve, The names of your kids are creative and colorful! Good luck with this pregnancy. Nothing like feeling new life inside!

  5. At this precise moment, I’m thankful for the power of forgiveness, the changing of seasons, and raspberry swirl loaf cake. I love being able to do what I love to do, for as long as I’m able to do it. Life is short–I must live well. And why not smile and enjoy what’s going right, instead of waiting for something to go wrong? No one can add a day to his/her life by worrying about it! I’m glad that I can still smile…

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