For many writers, the act of writing serves many purposes.

–It allows you to get those crazy people or stories out of your head and onto paper.

–Writing is a creative process, which means that you’re allowed to express yourself in a way that is unquestioned. If you want to write about dogs ruling the world and cats cooking in the kitchen then you can call it artistic and feel okay with the expression. We’re quick to judge ourselves for our “crazy” but if we can guise it as “artistic” then it’s okay.

–We write to understand as well. Though we often don’t realize it, the stories we create and the character’s motivations and responses are often a form of study. Writers learn about themselves and about the world as they write.

Over the many years of writing, and it has been many, I’ve embraced all of these reasons to write. Lately, I’ve added one more.

Writing as Catharsis

Catharsis is defined as: the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

Writing when life is difficult, I mean damned difficult, seems impossible. You want to curl up in a ball and sleep until it gets better. Other days you want to throw every breakable thing you own against a wall. Writing seems futile and tapping into your creative side feels as likely as striking oil in your living room.

Yet, I’ve found that writing during these difficult times accomplishes two extraordinary things.

1. It makes your writing so much better. Emotions are raw and on the surface and even if your character isn’t going through the same shit you are, it doesn’t matter. You are able to feel and communicate their emotions better because you’re feeling and you can’t stop feeling.

2. You feel a little better. Writing during life’s more challenging times is cathartic. It helps you purge. And let’s face it, for a little while you’re allowed to escape your reality and dive into the life of your hero or heroine.

Writing is a beautiful form of communication and expression. Don’t shut it off when you need it the most.