This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



JH Moncrieff | Madeline Mora-Summonte | Jen Chandler | Megan Morgan | Heather Gardner

Monthly Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

We all have stories about when we began writing. Some of us started with poems and others wrote short stories in grade school. In that way, we’re all similar. We had a voice, and it needed to be used.

As a teen, my only vent was my writing. I faced death at a young age and it made me more than morbid. I didn’t dress in all black and sleep in a coffin, but I would have given a choice.

I wrote poems about death and the everlasting soul and spent hours over books about the occult and eventually inherited a set of tarot cards from a friend of a friend who saw The Exorcist in the theater. She completely misunderstood what I was doing, but that’s okay I still have the cards.

I believed in non-violence and was repeatedly heat broken by the death of my peers from drinking and driving accidents. My poems seemed to catch what we all felt—shock and profound sadness. And a deep hope that the soul lived on free of suffering.

During this time of trouble, my writing saved my life. It allowed me to blow up without hurting anyone, or question life without having someone else’s solutions pushed upon me. I could ask questions of the universe and work out some answers that made sense—maybe only to me.

While I was doing all this I felt lost, but something outstanding came of it. I found my writing voice

I’ll never quit writing and my breaks are usually short because those feelings still come out of nowhere and when they do I pick up a pen.

Ever use your writing as a form of therapy or simply to vent? I highly recommend it.

103 responses to “IWSG 37: WRITING IS A LIFELINE

  1. Sounds like it was meant to be…
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. That was beautiful. I too knew death early in life. I am haunted by a sadness I cannot shake which I am sure contributed to not so good decisions sometimes. I am sure it still contributes to my struggle to move forward. I love how you used yours to write poems. I guess I did too but not as many as I should have as emotion would overwhelm and block my writing at times. *rolls eyes, looks around* still does sometimes. Great post.

    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  3. Sorry to hear you’ve lost so many friends. The same happened to me in high school, and a lot of deaths were due to drinking and driving in my world as well.

    Writing is a lifeline. It’s gotten me through so many rough times. I really don’t know where I’d be without it!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. Poetry is definitely an emotional outlet for me too, but not so much as when I was young. I guess I’ve mellowed with age.

  5. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for opening up.
    Unlike you, I started writing late, already in my 40s, but writing liberated me. Before I started, I felt as if I was living in a box, with the lid closed. Very small space, and I was small too, but I seemed to be fine with that. I accepted what was (I’m not a revolutionary). Then I discovered writing, and suddenly the lid was off, and I climbed out. I became ‘bigger’ somehow. My space is much larger these days too, and it includes online writing friends, like you and many others. And at last I feel free to say what I want, to express myself – in writing only, I’m still very reserved in my real life, but at least the vent is open.

  6. Writing is my therapy. I’m not sure what I would do without it. I can think about my characters lives when my own is too troublesome. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. Writing has always been my way to control the world, to deal with whatever is bothering me. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. It’s great that you’ve been able to use writing to navigate through some challenging and difficult times. It does seem like it would be a good outlet and almost a form of therapy.

  9. Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

    If I’m not able to write or work on a story every day, even if it’s just for a little bit, I miss it. I may not ever be a popular writer, but I plan to write for as long as I’m able.

  10. Writing can truly be a lifesaver, and it is for many of us at different times in our lives. Glad it helped you then and continues to do so now.

  11. Writing is a great form of therapy and I use it often. 🙂

  12. You sound a lot like me as a teenager, witnessing a lot of tragedy and being all dark and morbid. Writing has always been a comfort to me too–I could never REALLY give it up for good.

  13. spunkonastick

    Wow, I think that was me as a teen, too. I lost my father when I was younger and everything before that moment is hazy in my memory, but from that point on, it’s clear – and that is when I started writing.

  14. Loni Townsend

    So sorry to hear about your past, but I’m glad you turned such terrible trauma into something you can be proud of.

  15. What a beautiful post. Writing always helped me cope too as a teen and my mom told me just the other day she had no idea I wrote so much so young. When you love it, it’s hard to picture life without it. Something just feels off 🙂

  16. Writing is so therapeutic. It’s helped me through dark moments, too.

    Thanks for sharing your story and telling us about your past. Hugs!

  17. Hi, I agree that our writing is our big buffer system, it saves us from so many things, namely despair, depression, loneliness, and we can also retreat into our stories when we want solitude.

  18. Writing is my therapy, for sure. While I do aspire to finish things and create works that can be sold and read, I would write even if I couldn’t do that. It’s important to my own mental and emotional health. @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  19. Suzanne Furness

    I think I came to writing as a kind of therapy. It helped me (and still does) to write through thoughts and feelings. Thanks for sharing your story.

  20. I’ve never been the type of writer to write when I’m upset or need to vent. It’s like my muse just shuts down. I suppose I could just write out the thoughts in my head, but I have yet to try that.

  21. Writing is the BEST therapy. Actually, I’ve been using journaling to keep me sane for ages, but there have been many instances when some of those feelings spilled over into my fiction. I think that’s what gives a story authenticity, when others can relate to the experiences.

  22. Yes indeed, writing can be powerfully therapeutic. Your tale reminds me of many of my students. I taught high school English classes, as well as theater, and students would bring me the most heart-wrenching, gloomy, stormy poetry. I was always pleased when a kid would agree to have his/her work published in our poetry anthology. That validation, not just of their feelings, but of their talent in expressing it, seemed to help them move through their pain.

  23. For me, it’s the breaks from writing that are therapy but not in the way I thought they would be. I took a break last year and it did nothing but draw me deeper into the well. I’ve committed to taking a break this summer and guess what? The story that slithered into my head last summer break knocked on my door and finally, FINALLY, cracked through the plaster. Breaks help us see clearer. And I’ve learned that a true writer never really quits. They walk away, run away or leave, but they always come back, stronger and more confident than they were before!


    • I think we keep at something even when we don’t think about it. This story that came knocking is exactly what I mean. It needed you to go quiet and let it bubble up. Congrats on the break through. 🙂

  24. I wasn’t very self aware about such things when I was young. Glad writing helped you through those times.

  25. It seems you were exploring some very deep wells at an early age. That journey is always difficult, but it has to be immense when you come to it without a lot of experience to draw from. I’m sure that when you write now you’re using all that you learned.

  26. Sorry for your difficult losses, but here’s to writing as a way to save us. 🙂

  27. Stephanie Scott

    I will always stick up for teens writing “angry poetry” because 1) writing is good therapy and 2) you never know who will turn up as a future bestseller. 🙂

    Here’s my IWSG June post: how to survive the ‘little quits’

  28. I am terrible at poetry. So glad you could use your poetry to express your feelings. And so pleased you worked through your problems creatively. Good for you. Thank you for sharing.

  29. I had my share of angry poetry and a journal I wrote in when I was in high school, which was therapeutic. I do still channel certain negative emotions into my writing, but they’re far less angsty–you can say a lot about the state of your current world when you’re writing historicals, actually.

  30. Writing has always been cathartic for me, as well. I still sit down and just write stream of consciousness when something hurts deep and I don’t trust enough to say the words out loud. Then I hit delete. Funny about your tarot cards – I have two decks that I use to tease out character traits. (Two because the art on each is so different that there is no end of idea prompts.) Thanks for co-hosting today!

  31. mlouisebarbourfundyblue

    Hi, Anna! Writing was a lifeline for me during some devastating times, only I didn’t write poetry, I journaled. If I hadn’t had my diary as an outlet, I might have committed suicide. I’m missing one diary about one of the most painful times in my life. I think my shocked and appalled Baptist grandmother found it and burned it in her garbage drum at the back of her garden while I was doing the late-60s-early-70s thing traveling around France and Spain in a Volkswagen bus! I have a deep hope that the soul lives on free of suffering. Too many special people in my life have died too young, and I’ve known so many damaged souls, often through no fault of their own. We all need more gentleness, acceptance, and compassion, right here, right now! Good luck with your writing this month!

  32. I agree writing is amazing therapy. It helped me get through a major downer in my life when my other career died for a while. I was obsessed and wrote fourteen hours a day for months until I competed my first novel. 125K for an MG fantasy. I hear you laughing now. YES a tiny bit LONG. But i did trim it down over the years and now it’s an acceptable 62K. I pick it up every few years, rework it and query it. Seems like it will never go anywhere. BUT you never know. And it still is great therapy. It may be time to pick it back up.

  33. How wonderful that you found writing to be therapeutic. We all need something to release the emotions.

  34. tyreanmartinson

    I definitely write for those reasons – to vent, to think on paper, and to give voice to joy and sorrow. That’s one of the reasons I can’t quit for very long.

  35. I find writing therapeutic as well. And a lifeline – AMEN to that. I’m so glad it helped you through such dark times. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  36. I started writing for therapeutic reasons also, though I didn’t know it at the time.

  37. Thank you for visiting my blog and for sharing this story. I didn’t experience death early on, but I’ve had my share of life experiences that have rattled me. All my writing is therapeutic in some way. If I was somehow prohibited from writing, I’d be a total mess or worse.

  38. It’s wonderful that you can turn to writing to get through tough times. I used to write poems in high school, but never thought of myself as a writing I did it for me. I didn’t start writing stories until I was an adult. I enjoy being able to escape the stress of life by becoming immersed in stories, both my own and in the books I read.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  39. I’m sorry you had to deal with so much trauma at such a young age. It’s great that you were able to use writing as a release. Writing keeps me sane. I don’t know where I’d be without it.

  40. Wow. That’s the way to get even with life. Suffering can deepen our writing, no question. Which is the way I felt when I was younger–nothing much had happened to me. I’m so glad writing has been so precious to you.

  41. So sorry you had to deal with such loss. I remember my first experience losing someone I knew.

  42. Angela Wooldridge

    YES! Exactly that! Whenever I’m troubled, upset or confused, picking up a pen and writing it out is invaluable.
    Thank you for sharing this Anna 🙂

  43. Writing is always my therapy, whether I’m venting or simply writing for the joy of it, it always soothes me.

  44. Poetry is the best form of expression, but yes, writing is therapy for many of us! Good luck with your writing and especially your poetry!

  45. Wow, what a profound story, Anna. Yes, writing is such a great, safe, and yet, expansive way to vent. From there, new things can grow. Wonderful things. And, we become alchemists in our own lives, turning the rotten compost into flowers and gardens by the touch of our pen. Salud! 🙂

  46. Thanks for this heartfelt post, Anna.
    I came to writing very late (do those angsty teen poems count?)
    I always say I’m the late bloomer. Because of this, I feel that there are ‘gaps’ in my writing process that I’m trying to fill.
    I’m in no hurry because I don’t intend quitting, yet I feel that, as a late bloomer, I need to get on with it asap. But these things can’t be rushed… *sigh*
    I’ll get there…

  47. I’m glad you discovered the healing power of writing at a young age – and when you needed it SO much.

    I guess that’s the real reason I could never quit writing – the therapeutic aspects. The only time i don’t feel lost is when I’m mentally plotting or physically writing.

  48. Hi,
    I so understand your using your writing as a therapeutic method to deal with whatever it is that you have to face or you don’t understand. Keep writing out your heart. Your comfort lies in knowing that you find yourself.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,

  49. Writing is definitely an outlet for me, although I usually am writing about things I don’t want to write about for $$$! But fiction writing can be an escape…like reading, only better.

  50. I hear you, clearly. I wish life could be simpler sometimes, but then I see and understand how adversity enriches our proses. Glad you are in my blog world.

    • I think you’re right. Without a bumpy road to boost our esteem when we succeed, where would we be.

      I’m glad we are each other’s blogospheres. 🙂

  51. Anna,
    Definitely. That’s pretty much where I am right now, most of my writing is venting. Even my fiction seems to be like 90% venting right now. I agree it is a great, safe way to work through things and see them from another angle.

  52. The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, eh?… Damn I wish I knew of this earlier…

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