Someone recently told me about a writing technique, Expressive Writing, that’s supposed to help a person to process difficult situations. It’s a three day process that requires twenty minutes a day. I tried it out and found it somewhat helpful, so I thought I’d share about it here.
On the first day, you write for twenty minutes (either typed or handwritten) about the general situation. Write whatever comes to mind. Let it flow out of you. You’re not writing for anyone else to read, so don’t edit yourself. After you’ve completed your twenty minutes writing time, reread it one time. Then delete it (or tear it up and throw it away if handwritten).
On the second day, do the same thing but this time spend time looking more deeply at an aspect of the situation. Once again, after you’ve completed your twenty minutes writing, delete it (or otherwise destroy it).
On the third day, focus your writing on the here-and-now. On the present time. On where things stand today. After twenty minutes, reread it, and destroy it.
And that’s it.
I chose to write about a very painful topic from a few years ago that had been haunting me lately. I’d been having nightmares and disturbing thoughts about it throughout the day. I was afraid that maybe writing about it might bring it too much to the forefront of my mind, and that scared me a little bit. Then I realized it was already taking up space in my day, and perhaps just focusing on it directly might give me a release of some sort.
I do feel a bit better after going through the process. I might try it with a different situation just to see how it goes. If there’s something haunting you, maybe it might bring some relief.