How to Write About Challenges in Life

There are times when it is appropriate to write about the difficult things in life. The challenges we experience are sometimes meant to be shared with others for many reasons. For those of you that don’t know, I was supposed to be in the World Trade Center on September 11th but I overslept. I will never forget the events of that day and the surrounding days. I felt uneasy for a few weeks before. I almost left school and moved away for good days before. This is not always an easy subject to talk about. This time of year makes it more challenging. I wrote about my experience in my book because I believe it is important to help people that were not there have a level of understanding.

Writing about serious challenges takes a lot of consideration. You have to know that your experience is your own and you do not have to share it at all. If you choose to share, you can and should choose what you share. There are things about that day and the days following I will never tell anyone. But there are things that are important to me to share. You can write the full story but carefully pick the parts that will be for others to read.

When you write about trauma it can be healing. The important thing to remember is the healing process is not always easy or happy. Evaluate your situation, but it might be helpful to be in the care of a mental health professional within that process. You should also be extra considerate of your self care routine. This is a good time to add more time to meditation or a practice something new.

Know what you want to accomplish with the writing. Do you want to get it out of your head? Do you want to share your experience with others? Do you want to educate? If you are writing for yourself for healing, you would probably write differently than if you were writing to educate others about something that is important to you. If you write with the goal in mind it will be easier to achieve.

Give yourself time to process as you write. When you are writing about something that actually happened it might be helpful to revisit the memories the best you can. Write out a basic timeline to help you figure out what happened when. If you choose to do this take your time. Give yourself time to feel the emotions, only if you are ready or permission to stop and not feel it if you aren’t. Have a happy memory or activity at the ready if you need to get yourself out of the experience.

Once you are finished writing about this experience, try giving it a send off. Whether you share or not, close out the experience of the writing with something meaningful to you. You could light a candle, say a prayer or safely burn the paper (if you have a copy or want to destroy it).

We are not all meant to revisit our challenges. We are not meant to share all of our challenges. But when it is right, the process might be healing and helpful for you and others. You are in charge of your story. You get to be the one to write it if you choose.