Some time ago, I found out that writing a book can be a cathartic, healing experience.
How did I find out? Well, I am often found recounting events that have happened during my 55 years, with either family, friends, colleagues, clients or even strangers (if they want to listen), and more and more often, many of them would make a similar comment such as "Wow. You should write a book about all this."
I had always said "yes, maybe I will", never really giving it much thought, because I didn't believe I could produce something polished and coherent enough for others to want to read, but i was to find out that was not going to be my motivation.
A few years back, I was faced with what seemed (and still seems) a corporate consulting market which no longer felt it needed nor wanted my skills and experience of many years and multiple disciplines (for those interested in THAT side of my life, check out my 'work' profile at https://www.laurencenicholson.work) and so had, what is to me a huge challenge, which is time on my hands.
It was my Partner who quite nonchalantly commented one day "why don't you start that autobiography?", and the idea germinated, not into the autobiography, but into a novel charting a psychological analysis of the main character, almost entirely based on my life's experiences and adventures, and how he had become the person he is today. This has now become a trilogy, walking through the evolution of the character, the deconstruction and the rebuilding (hopefully using all the good traits) into the better person (the latter being a constant work in progress as we all are)
What I found, as I was writing, was that I was putting down on paper (albeit digitally) my critique of myself, trying to identify and understand the origins of all my traits, 'warts'n'all', and many of the choices and decisions I had made over the years started making more sense, if only in why I made them, not whether they were good ones to make.
I felt like I started exorcising a number of my 'demons', simply through the process of making them real on paper, and whilst I had to face them honestly in order to do so, I found a sense of freedom and calmness seeping into my days, and using the concept of the deconstruction and rebuilding of the 'character' I quite literally brought this to reality in myself, and started my own journey on making a better me.
I never set out to write anything, certainly not fiction (even though for those who read it and have known me a long time, they still say it is an autobiography in all but name), and not for any purpose other than as a self-awareness and understanding process, so even though the first in the series has been published, it is under a nom-de-plume and I never publicize that. What is most important is the effect this process has had on me, and the added dimensions of feeling and discovery I can draw on when relating to my clients, as well as friends and family.
I always encourage everyone (or as some 'friends' say "Drone on") to write a journal (see my previous blog on this) for the huge amount of benefits both immediate and long term this brings, but I would also wholeheartedly recommend trying some form of bigger or deeper writing, either as a life story or for those more creatively minded, a novel.
Give this a go, if for no other reason than to discover 'yourself' within the process, but be warned: if you are being brutally honest as you should be, it won't all be pleasant, but WILL lead to a better you, especially if you share this experience with someone close to you who can keep things in perspective.
Next week I will be talking about so called 'family traits' and whether there is value in looking for certain of our behaviours in past or present family members, and whether this is a good thing or not with regard to our own personalities and uniqueness.
Stay safe, and 'live life, don't watch life'.