Writing or just creating, in general, - for the fun of it - did not come naturally to many of us. We grew up in families where putting on a little song-and-dance-routine or a poem recital for relatives and guests was the norm through childhood. It’s as if we were raised on the narrative that any art-form or skill is considered worthy enough only if an audience (of any size) graced it by its presence.
Beyond art-forms and skills, much of our existence – even in adulthood – continues to be some form of performance on display with the likes of Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube offering us the platform. Why even those of us who claim to eschew such platforms aren’t free from ‘performances’! Our emails and private message interactions take place before the audience of one. It’s as if we’ve accepted the narrative that any art-form or skill is considered worthy enough only if an audience (of any size) graces it by its presence.
But what if we created to express and not only to impress? Allow me to build the case for self-expression through writing. Here are 5 reasons:
1. Process oriented, not result driven
Self-expression of all forms - including writing - focuses more on the process, not the output; which the presence of an audience does not permit. An audience inherently demands a near-perfect, finished output. Using writing for self-expression, we create the space needed to download and de-clutter our thoughts, far away from the watchful and perhaps, judgemental gaze of an audience.
2. Safe haven
Self-expression through writing creates a safe haven to articulate thoughts, ideas, and doubts as they occur – not only away from the audience gaze but also without any need to comply to the rules of sentence formation, grammar, and spellings! Allowing our mind to run amok on paper takes away the expectation of emerging as anything less than perfect because within this ‘haven’ there is enough room to iterate.
3. Enhances communication
Writing for self-expression can enhance communication; both, written and verbal as it allows us to build on a free-flow style of articulation. It reminds us that structures, formats, layout and design belong to the final version, not the work-in-progress draft. In turn, when the time does come for us to engage with an audience, we are likelier to feel better poised than if we lurched in directly.
4. Observe self-talk
Writing about our thoughts, ideas, and doubts as they occur helps us tune into the internal radio station, our self-talk. By using the safe haven writing offers, we’re able to find answers to questions such as:
What is today’s chatter all about?
What is influencing it?
How is it impacting me and my interpersonal relationships – in the moment and otherwise?
5. Understand ‘the stories we tell ourselves’
Self-expression through writing can enable us to deconstruct the meaning we make of ‘the stories we tell ourselves’ when we’re:
- scrolling through our news-feeds and our social media feeds
- people-watching or eavesdropping on conversations during our commute or at events within the family or at work
By tuning into our internal radio station and noting down the chatter we observe, we’re able to examine, deconstruct, and release it, instead of giving in and allowing it to control us.
Questions to consider...
What if the absence of an audience wasn’t a reason to not create?
What if we created and the audience was our own self?
What if creating for ourselves opened up the possibility of some downtime?
What if we created to express and not only to impress?
Share your thoughts in the comments below
I have been giving folks reasons to write ever since 2016, when I began organizing workshops on self-expression for organizations and individuals. As a 15 year-old, I found myself being drawn towards writing for myself and that's a habit that's not only stuck but also opened up several revelatory experiences for me. If you'd like to know more, drop me a line!