“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ~Anaïs Nin
Recently I stumbled upon a writing contest on Positive Writer. The topic, “How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life,” intrigued me. Though I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been reading, this idea is something I only recently thought about.
But I’ve never written about it, and since I write about positive things, I found this a little odd and a little funny.
I thought maybe it was time I should.
I have always loved writing. I think it’s obvious how much I love to write. I have since I was a little girl, hiding under my bed jotting down thoughts in my diary. Short stories littered notebooks, inspirational quotes were tucked in journals, documents were saved and resaved to hard drives, and always, always notes upon notes chronicled my ideas, thoughts, questions and worries.
(Side note: I just did a quick count, and right now I have at least five separate journals all designated for different writing related things.)
I write because it’s my passion, because like breathing, it’s what I need to do. And I started this blog because I was going through a rough time in my life and I wanted to write my way to a happier path—to find the joy in the little things, to appreciate something positive about each day, to share these insights with others, to live life with bravery and to find my voice again.
Do I get something out of my writing? Sure. It always fills me with a sense of peace and satisfaction any time I write anything at all.
But I also write for another reason.
As I started to make my writing more public, my biggest hope was that maybe something I wrote would find its way to someone at just the right time. I still hope for that. I hope my writing reaches beyond my corner of the Universe—that my words travel and arrive at other souls’ doorsteps, resonating in some significant way, just like so many others’ words have done for me. My deepest wish is that my words adequately illustrate my experiences and dreams, my challenges and triumphs, my lessons learned and hopes to come—and that something in them helps or inspires someone else.
And I am elated and humbled whenever I hear they have.
But it turns out sometimes the words don’t need to travel to other lands and other worlds to make an impact. Sometimes they just have to return home after some time apart so you can realize the importance of them.
Yes, I’ve been writing for too many years to count, but it’s not until I started this blog that I’ve realized just how much writing has made a positive impact on my life, one I could have never predicted.
The realization came to me about a year ago.
I was on the commuter train on my way to work. To pass the time, I started hopping around different websites on my smartphone. I visited my blog to make sure my piece had posted for that day and to triple-check there were no mistakes. After I was done reading, I did something I had never done before.
I started clicking on other posts I’d written.
The more recent ones were still fresh on my mind, but as I jumped through time, navigating through months and years prior, a funny and shocking thing happened.
I found myself inspired by what I’d written. I found myself reliving travels, tribulations, life lessons, and much-needed epiphanies. I found myself remembering this beautiful journey I’ve been on. The people, the places, the conversations, the photographs—they were all there for me to revisit anytime I wanted.
I found myself surrounded by people on that train, but totally alone, lost in my own words—smiling, laughing, tearing up, touched.
And in that solitary space, I found myself so incredibly grateful that I had this blog as a record of my adult journey. But the writing isn’t just a diary of sorts. It’s an intimate conversation. The writing has evolved to something more than a collection of posts or a scrapbook of memories.
The writing has become a coach, keeping me motivated, reminding me of where I’ve been and where I’m heading. The writing has become a friend, offering hope and kind words on the toughest of days. The writing has become my biggest critic, shaking its head in disappointment when I start to relive what’s already been written. And of course there are days when the writing has become my biggest fan, cheering me on when I make the better choice.
I have always loved writing.
But it’s not until recently that I discovered the depths of why words matter so much to me, why I return to the notepads, the pens, the keyboards and the printed pages, without fail. It has helped me and continues to help me grow. Writing shapes my thoughts, my desires, my wishes and my hopes. Writing helps me understand myself and the world around me on a deeper level, often providing me a clarity I wouldn’t get otherwise.
How has writing positively influenced me?
Now when I read this question again, I realize there are so many answers to this, that I could continue to tell story after story, but perhaps all these stories boil down to just this one essential truth:
Becoming a writer has fulfilled one of my soul’s desires and has brought me closer to the life path I’ve long dreamed of.
And that is something writing can’t quite describe…
And something I will always be grateful for.