I was a man of science and was unable to see any benefits to baring my soul on a sheet of paper. I loved math. I loved science. I enjoyed history. But you could keep storytelling. You could keep poetry. You could definitely keep term papers.
I had no desire for it.
If you needed someone to solve an equation for an unknown, I was your man. If you needed someone to predict how far away from a table a marble will land when dropped from a certain distance at a certain velocity, I could do it. If you needed someone to dissect an amphibian, I was in.
But to me, writing was for those who didn’t understand what life was really about. It was for those who lived in an unpredictable world of feelings. For those who didn’t understand the utility of an equation. For those who didn’t know who they were. People with problems and issues.
I avoided writing. I did it as little as possible. In college, I tested out of the classes that had any writing assignments. In medical school I was too busy looking through microscopes and dissecting cadavers.
I avoided writing until I experienced the kind of emotional pain that an aspirin couldn’t fix. And all of a sudden, writing was the only medicine that could heal my aching soul.
My wife and I went through a difficult personal and spiritual time. My science was no longer able to predict the world I was living in. I questioned “truths” that I had depended on. I found only uncertainty and pain. I was no longer able to see God.
I felt like I had lost my soul.
And this is why I began writing.
Why I Started Writing
For the first time, I began sharing my feelings through letters and words and sentences. And occasionally through an incomplete sentence.
Through writing I found hope. I found a place that no equation or science could ever offer me. Writing taught me things that nothing else could have.
Here are 7 ways writing changed my life.
1. Writing gave me clarity. My world went from predictable to anything but. I had doubts and new thoughts and questions swirling around inside of my head and my heart. Writing them down helped me to understand what was going on. The nebulous feelings suddenly took form. I didn’t always find the answers, but I understood what I was feeling.
2. Writing helped me heal. I was hurting. Friends had turned their backs on me. I no longer felt welcomed at church. I was lonely, scared and tired. The words I wrote became a balm for my wounds. Sharing my pain, sharing thoughts was the best way to get better. And my broken soul started to heal.
3. Writing pushed me to try new things. By explaining to others why they should try something new, I found the courage to do the same for myself. From raising my hands at church for the first time, to sharing my faith with others, to adopting 2 kids from China. My life looks nothing like it did before.
4. Writing helped me to take risks. I’m not sure there is anything scarier than publishing your own words for the entire world to see. This new-found courage has carried over into other areas of my life. Taking risks is still intimidating, but now I am more willing to forge ahead.
5. Writing helped me to love. My scientific way of viewing the world was helpful and good, but it was only part of the story. I am still a scientist, but now there is more. Writing helped me to see the value of every person. Writing helped me to see my own prejudices. Writing helped me to take a step out of my comfort zone and help those in need.
6. Writing helped me find God. In the middle of the chaos, I was unable to see him at all. I felt alone. I felt lost. When I wrote about what I was feeling and who he is, I discovered that he was really there the entire time. My desire for Jesus became something greater than it had ever been before.
QUESTION: Why did you decide to become a writer? How does writing help you? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
* Image credit: Nina Matthews Photography (Creative Commons)