Opening a new door

I’ve been doing a writing challenge this week and discovered I love it!! Really, really love it 🙂 Part of my recovery is looking to the future and finding purpose. Seeing what freedom looks like means seeing a future focused on interesting things – not mental health issues and what I am (or am not) eating. And the more writing I do, the more I picture writing as integral to my recovery, and part of my freedom and future.

Tomorrow is the last day of the challenge and we will have the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to an eight week intensive writing course. I desperately want to do this course! It is prohibitively expensive, so I need that scholarship. An optional extra in today’s challenge was to do  preparatory work for the application and I have just finished it. I found it eye opening. I am starting to feel exploring this writing will lead me through a new door. I closed the music door, and have yet to find another one. I have a good feeling about this door.

Here are a few snippets of things I worked out while pondering why I want to write…

DREAM WRITING [a timed, non-stop writing session]

Writing is my way of communicating with the world.

I might stand vulnerable and silent, frozen to the spot in person, with not a single intelligent word flowing through my head, but when pen hits paper, or fingers hit the keyboard, my innards come out. I feel the words. They flow from me.

I have so much emotion that sat dormant and silent for half a century.

So many words. So many thoughts. I create vivid tragic events and convince myself they’re going to happen. I create vivid fantastic events and convince myself they’re going to happen. In the real world – the here and now – there are tales and stories, ideas and emotions, I need to put into words, and my most eloquent place is the written word.

I want to make people laugh and cry and live. I want people to understand. It has taken me a long time to realise so few people understand how it feels to walk in another’s shoes – they need it spelled out in small words. I want to write those small words and help them to feel someone else’s journey. Someone else’s choices. Their pain. Love. Loss. I want people to understand each other. I want to feel understood.

I have been through mental health hell in recent years and it taught me so much. This writing challenge has come at the tail end of my recovery course and there are so many parallels. Find the why for my freedom/writing. We must all accept and acknowledge emotions to be whole. These are the same things I am hearing from two different places. Two different worlds. But the same message. Is that not telling me something? I feel writing my story will lead me to recovery. And recovery will lead me to writing. They are becoming intertwined.


  1. To let my insides out
  2. To help me understand me
  3. To help others understand me
  4. To help others understand others
  5. I love it
  6. I feel useful, purposeful, alive
  7. I can express myself with the written word in a way I can’t with the spoken word
  8. I dream of writing “author” on my tax return form under “employment”
  9. I feel good when I write
  10. It has become the most valuable tool in my recovery


look like? Peace. Stillness. Like a swan gliding over a still lake first thing in the morning, with its little webbed feet paddling below the surface, as if life depended on it.

sound like? Silence. Like watching a television show with the sound turned off. Every nuance and every emotion showing on the faces. The story vividly depicted without need for the spoken word.

smell like? Cinnamon. Freshly ground cinnamon. Do you have a Thermomix? If you do, you should grind cinnamon. It smells divine. It smells like home.

taste like? Salted caramel. A smooth, delicate blend of salt and sweet and creamy. It’s delicious. It melts in the mouth and the taste lingers for a tantalisingly delicious amount of time.

feel like? Home. When I write, I’ve come home. I’m in my comfortable pyjamas on a cold winter night, there’s snow outside and I’m snug,  warm and cosy inside. The words flow and I’m alive in that moment. I articulate things I could not articulate before. My consciousness dims and my unfiltered subconscious flows. It tells the story of who I am, who I’ve been, who I want to be. It shows the story of who I’ve seen, where I’ve been, and how they made me feel. Writing is home.


My writing is deep in my gut. It is the same place I feel rhythm in music. Place your hand across your belly, your palm centred over your belly button. My writing is buried deep beneath your pinky. That’s where it sits. Anxiety is felt high in my chest, pressing into my throat. Depression is felt deep in my heart, buried behind my rib cage. But writing – writing is my emotional well, and it is found in my belly.

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