Salutary scribbling

I usually have a certain procedure while writing articles. It’s research, first draft, more research, edit draft, title and submit. This article however made me debunk this routine because writing is such a personal art to me. I kept track of the all of the writing that I do in a day, sans this article and here goes.

Turns out I write a lot of lists, so daily agendas that are sparsely achieved are definitely part of my regular routine. From long term plans like ‘learn a new language’ or ‘call grandma more often’ etc, to grocery lists that feature bulk buying Ben&Jerry’s chocolate fudge brownie, the texts I send out almost every half hour and other social media ventures, all make up my daily writing output. And yes, I do keep a diary but I tend to only journal chosen life experiences.

All of this made me realise that everything I write down has my personality attached to it and in some way serves to be cathartic. 

Writing, in strange and difficult times like now, can serve to be a great outlet. Music artists constantly come out with albums after periods of self-isolation, talking about their experiences with love, despair, and happiness. The 14th century novel Decamerone by Giovanni Boccaccio is a collection of 100 short stories told by ten Florentines who had fled the city and chose to stay in a villa in the village to escape the black death. Finding solitary entertainment through creating, and sharing, a story every day.

Times like this encourage us to find new ways to distract ourselves and at the same time look for a way to vent. “I shake off everything as I write, my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn”, so said Anne Frank in her diary. While I could not agree with her more, it takes a while to form this habit and even longer for it to become cathartic. We all have something to say and hence something to write about, with everything going on in the news, the way our lives have changed and are continuing to with Covid-19, the anxiety and uncertainty we are feeling, if addressed by writing can be good for our mental health and might even lead to unforeseen artistic adventures. 

For me, it’s frustrating to face difficulty in expressing my thoughts and therefore having my ideas build inside of me. I often knock on my friend’s door and vent, but I don’t always find that this allows me to express myself fully. Writing is a more organized and intimate way for me to unwind and get some mental peace.

Writing doesn’t just have to be something you do during this on-going pandemic. We all have things that we would rather keep to ourselves but it gets frustrating to do so sometimes or I have moments when I find something very interesting but can’t find anyone else to discuss it with, so I write it down. A few friends of mine keep journals and write down somethings that they are grateful for or track major incidents that took place that day. I see all of it as an effort to be more aware of what we have experienced to try to harness and grow from it. 

Bridget Jones did not exactly have a lot of things going for her, but she had her diary which she wrote in religiously and she somehow ends up with Colin Firth – which is definitely a win and he even gets her a new diary. Carrie Bradshaw made a whole career writing about her love life, friends and New York, Anne Frank kept a diary as solace in times of serious hardship which is now a historic masterpiece. Writing can be based around you and your everyday life events, becoming part of your daily routine, just like washing your face or checking your Instagram. Everyone has something to write about, maybe even a need and purpose to do so. I do and will always encourage writing something down on paper, to express, to feel, to forget, to cherish.

Image Credit: Nicholas Andrew via Flickr

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