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Sunday, February 19, 2012

On Writing

I started this blog, because I recognized that I needed some sort of nudging along to give me the incentive to write down some of the things that interest me and some insights I’ve had during my long life. I have long thought that every individual should leave behind some tangible record of their life and thoughts. I hoped that by blogging I would, in an impersonal way, do just that and It has worked for me. My regular weekly blog has become a habit and, in the process, I’ve learned a few things about what it takes for me to write.

First of all the act of writing, the physical business of typing in the words that convey what I want to say, usually forces me to clarify my thinking – and sometimes, even at my age, to discover what it is I really do think.
When I was going through my formative years – I was often surprised at opinions I would express in the heat of an argument. It was as if I didn’t really know what I thought about a topic until I tried to put it into words. I expect I am not alone in having had that kind of experience. Authorities agree that the brain has not even fully developed until a person has reached the age of 25 and that it keeps maturing all during our life so, with better perspectives, our viewpoints change.

I won’t go so far as to profess that if we did not have language we could not think but I do know that putting what we are thinking or what’s bothering us into words can be remarkably helpful. Research on the subject of journaling confirms this and has disclosed that some of the benefits of writing can be shown to be physical. For instance several different laboratories report that blood test show the immune function is positively affected by writing about our personal circumstances and problems.

The main benefits to writing, however, are mental. Writing invariably clears the mind of unresolved confusions and emotions that we sometimes carry around. As we write, we do this mainly using our left brain that is the analytical problem solver but sometimes our right brain, that is more intuitive and innovative, is needed to come up with insights to help unravel emotional tangles. One of the techniques now suggested to help unblock the right brain’s abilities is to write quickly while journaling and to record stream of conscious thoughts.

The movie 'Freedom Writers' with Hilary Swank is a case in point because it depicts clearly the transformative effects of journaling on disadvantaged adolescents. One thing is for sure, whether we journal or blog or even write down our thoughts in letters, it is virtually impossible to write without discovering more about ourselves. Rie


  1. I couldn't agree with you more and I do enjoy reading your writing every week. What I like the most is your topics are always different. Fun to be surprised about what you pick to write on.

  2. Hi, or as the Aussies say, g'deye!
    I just started to read your posts - picked up your blog on the "Time Goes By" website. I retired a year ago last summer at 70,from a career in journalism and related fields, after swearing I never would (health reasons nudged me over the edge), and I'm discovering the real benefits of retirement (as well as th deficits). The process of self-actualization either continues, or we stop. You've chosen to continue, and I applaud your decision. I intend to read all of your posts, and I plan to comment in future. Keep up the good work!

    1. Mark -

      Rarely get comments so i'm not now in the habit of looking for them. Enjoy your comments and will certainly pick them up from now on. Rie