The Ericksons

2 Positive Ways to Use Writing During Trials #IWSG


It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today I’m going to explore self-publishing with print-on-demand, as I answer the #IWSG question for October –

How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Anything you have ever gone through will affect who you are personally, and as a writer. It will certainly color your writing in subject and tone. When life isn’t going well, it can be tempting to go negative in your writing. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be very helpful if the genre you write requires this dark tone. You can channel your writing in this way. It can be a bad thing. Instead of working through your issues, you can end up drowning in them. So have a sense of self-awareness and know when to turn off the faucet. I would like to talk about two positive ways to use writing during trials.

A great way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal

A little more than a decade ago, my dysfunctional, abusive relationship ended in a painful divorce. I journaled daily as a way to process what was happening. Between thinking about the situation I was in and writing about it constantly, it was easy to feel very negative about life.

Finally, I decided that I needed to feel more positively about my life. So, I began a gratitude journal. I wrote everything that I was grateful for (and nothing else). I would major on the good stuff that was happening every day. This might seem like sticking my head in the ground, but it worked. It kept me from becoming depressed at a time when that could have been very easy to do. The longer I journaled my gratitude, the easier it was to see the blessings in my life. I recommend trying this, even if you only do it for a week.

Positive ways to use writing during trials

Blogging to Benefit Others

Some positive ways to use writing during trials help others, as well I had gotten out of the habit of regularly journaling by the time my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Pretty soon, I started blogging. It seems like blogging is the technological age’s answer to writing during trials. In any event, it helped me put purpose to the pain we were going through. I could share what was happening with us personally, on my husband’s Caring Bridge site. I could also write about cancer in an educational capacity on my site, Facing Cancer with Grace, as well as in my books. All of these things have helped me keep my sanity in a very difficult time.

I think we write about what is dearest to our hearts. This helps us to process these events and move forward. There is certainly a place for writing the negative. But, there are also some positive ways to use writing during trials. I hope these ideas inspire you.

How do you use writing during trials? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below…

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather EricksonThe Ericksons

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

Have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you! By commenting, you agree to the terms of my privacy policy.

12 comments on “2 Positive Ways to Use Writing During Trials #IWSG

I love the thoroughness of your posts, Heather. My reflection on this topic was, oh, 200 words? Not terribly deep. You always come up with thoughtful extensions.

I have been really thinking a lot about gratitude lately. Thank you for your post.

Hi Jacqui. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. There’s nothing wrong with brevity. 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

I’ve journaled consistently for 25 years, and I do occasionally find myself dropping into the negative realm. That’s when I build in the “Best part of my day” or “Five things I’m grateful for.” Doesn’t take long to turn the head with consistency, eh?

Great reminder about the gratitude journal. For me, the negative happens in the privacy of my journal that no one but me and God see. It’s often ugly, raw and a great way for me to process and reflect. Later, bits of it come out in the writing those around me see after I’ve processed.

A gratitude journal is a good idea.

I like the idea of a gratitude journal. I’m not apt to write down just daily stuff but I could keep track of what I’m grateful for every day.

Hi Tammy, I checked out your blog and I think it’s great! Yes, gratitude is the best way to feel more content. Have a great week!

Hi Crystal. Those are some great ways to journal your gratitude. Sometimes life can be really tough and it’s hard to see the bright side of things. This practice really can change our mindset, though. Have a fabulous week!

Hi Nancy. It can certainly be helpful to process the difficulties of life through our writing. I believe that it’s a tool and a gift that God gave us, not only to glorify Him, but also to heal the wounds in our hearts. Sometimes, our journal can feel like our only safe space to vent. It’s important that we don’t only record the dark side of life. Your writing has always seemed authentic to me. Honest and real. Still, it’s positive and encouraging. I think you have the right balance.

Hi Liz, If you haven’t tried it before, I encourage you to experiment with it. Even if it isn’t every day, reserving one day each week to look back and find the good things you’ve experienced can be a good thing to do. Have a great week!

Hi Alex. It’s a great way to focus on the good things that happen in life. Once, when my life was completely crappy (while going through my divorce) I thought about the fact that I got a free small fries at McDonald’s from their Monopoly Game. It was such a small thing but it completely changed my perspective. And I remember it to this day. Have a great week!

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