Have you had past experiences that you would rather just forget?
Experiences that you have buried and covered up for many years?
Are you so ashamed of some of these experiences that you’d rather just pretend they never happened?
Some of your past experiences may have been so emotionally damaging that you may have repressed them or buried them deep in your subconscious.
Repressing your emotionally disturbing experiences or burying them deep in your subconscious may have allowed you to survive; but at the same time has deluded you into leading an inauthentic life.
It has led you to pretend to be somebody your not in order to be accepted by others.
If you have repressed shaming or emotionally damaging experiences or buried them deep in your subconscious; you are most likely living your life in accordance to what you think will be acceptable to other people. This can be a painful way to live.
This is where therapy comes into play.
Therapy helps you uncover these painful experiences that you have so conveniently brushed under the rug.
These repressed feelings and emotions connected with your damaging experiences has been running your life in a way that causes you more pain and damage.
It also causes you to be blocked and holds you back. We only have so much energy. And if you are using all of your energy to block and repress your experiences, you will not have energy for anything else.
Once you bring these repressed feelings and emotions to the surface you can start healing and living a more authentic life because you will have freed up the energy that you were using to repress your experiences. You will be more consciously aware.
This is in fact one of the goals of psychoanalysis. To make the subconscious conscious. (The other one is to strengthen the ego; in case you were curious).
So what does all this have to do with writing?
Plenty as it turns out.
It is the same process with writing as it is with psychotherapy. You want to expose your wounds; not cover them up.
Because your wounds are where you will find your writer’s gold! Your experience counts.
Your experiences have made you who you are. It is what makes you unique and different.
No matter how crazy, insane, or damaging your experiences may have been; it is these very experiences that you want to embrace as a writer.
“To be a writer; the only requirement is the ability to remember every scar.”
So, as a writer you want to embrace these experiences no matter crazy they may be. In fact, the crazier the better.
Good writers will magnify their wounds; not try to cover them up.
In short, as an artist you have not lived an ordinary life. You may even have been shamed for not living a “normal” life. Or getting a “regular” job.
This is okay because an ordinary life is not the stuff books are made from.
Art is not ordinary.
Art is extraordinary.
We do not go to see movies or read books to experience the ordinary.
We go to see movies and read books to experience the extraordinary.
So if you have had a lot of hard knocks and harrowing experiences it has been a blessing in disguise because you now have a treasure chest of ideas and experiences that will make for fascinating reading.
Even if these experiences were horrible when you were going through them; they have given you the gift of many great story ideas.
Not only will your harrowing experiences make for great reading; writing about them will also be therapeutic for you.
Writing about your experiences is empowering and healing.
You will be touching your readers on a deep emotional level.
Your experiences may resonate with a lot of your readers. They may have had similar experiences themselves and reading about them could be healing for them as well.
If you are a fiction writer, you could apply your experience to one of your main characters.
If you are a non-fiction writer, you can use your experience to help others. Perhaps in the form of a self-help book.
Do you think your life experiences can make you a better writer? And why? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.