Writing about difficult places in life stirs up primal emotions that seem disconnected from reality. It doesn’t matter if I am in a great place now, feeling secure and safe and successful and loved. When I go back to an event and move through it one word at a time, recreating the scene in my mind and on the page, it unlocks the door to old feelings that put me right back into the trauma. This is why writing can be so powerful for the writer and the reader. By putting the words out there that open the road to raw emotions, a spiritual transit happens from the experience of the writer to the heart of the reader. The emotions live in the words, set free by the writer and consumed by the reader. You can’t fake this. And if I’m closing up my heart to protect myself from experiencing these devastating emotions, the writing will not come alive; the words will be stillborn if they are even born at all.
I need to stay healthy and in a good place as I access these raw emotions, and I do that by reminding myself before and after I write that I am safe now, no longer in survival mode. A quick prayer before I start: I need you to do this with me, Lord. An acknowledgement that it is hard and I am only human. And a thank you afterward: You walked with me and helped usher the words that needed to be born today.