“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
– Flannery O’Conner
It’s true what they say: when you write, you discover yourself. You come to conclusions, you may even have epiphanies.
Have you ever just felt really out of sorts, maybe after an argument? Something was nagging at you, but you just didn’t know what, exactly? If you grab a pen and paper (or your computer, tablet, etc.), and just start writing what comes to mind, you might be surprised at what you learn. You weren’t mad about X, but about Y. Actually, you were not mad, you were disappointed. You were frustrated because you weren’t getting what you needed and you just realized that it is X or Y. You realize that you were reacting to something that happened in the past, which was triggered by something in the present. As you are writing, you connect the dots.
You won’t always get a huge reveal, of course. Sometimes it helps to just vent or put your ideas in order. Sometimes you make the connection a little later. But it takes some of the momentum out of the negative emotion.
And with awareness, you can change things. Once you are aware why you react a certain way, you can be on the lookout for the reaction next time and cut it off at the pass. Once you know what you really want or need, you can brainstorm ways to get it.
Given how much time we spend in our own heads, you would think we would know ourselves better. Sometimes it helps to externalize our thoughts so we can look at them. Happy writing!