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Friday Speak Out!: When Writing is Your Therapy, No Words are Ever Wasted

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by Carrie Oreskovich

A few years ago I was feeling pretty low. Interminably single, high on hormones from going through the process of freezing my eggs, and feeling hopeless about my dreams of meeting someone to have a family with before my fertility took a long jump off of a steep cliff. And more than anything I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone.

At the time, I couldn’t find a voice for my particular frustrations, so I decided to start a blog in the hopes of connecting with others facing similar struggles. I spent months planning the structure, brainstorming the blog name, associated social media, and a pen name. I thought that having some anonymity was essential in my quest to be as honest as possible, in an age where all of the men I was dating could simply google my name and see all of my deepest and darkest fears and anxieties. I really thought it was going to hit home for so many women, providing connection, humour and some good information.

Finally the launch day hit and I was very excited. I pressed “publish” to the sounds of total silence. Not a single spike on my stats chart. I had to recheck my published blogs to see that they were actually live. I was using all of the proper tags, I’d researched that fancy sounding Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and I felt this passion when writing that I was sure was translating into relatable and energized pieces. And yet I was getting close to Zero views, consistently.

But I kept going, because my journey continued and I really felt like at some point it would hit its target market. It never did. While I felt quite sad that I wasn't helping anyone, I was nonetheless drawn to writing the posts. They allowed me to sort through and synthesize years of research and reading around the topic, the extreme emotions I was having, and provided some levity to my often soul-sucking dating life.

Last year I decided that I’d given the blog a good run, and it was time to let it go. I figured my efforts would be better spent on pieces that I could publish under my actual name. But I couldn’t stop. Because the writing itself had become a kind of therapy, the trigger for many AHA moments, and was giving me a sense of calm and clarity that I couldn’t find elsewhere. Because words have that power to sort through the debris in our heads that are filled with a minefield of emotion and memory and distraction, and pull out the lesson or truth in unfiltered black and white.

So writing is my therapy. If the only person it saves or helps is myself, then maybe those words aren’t wasted. The ease of one person’s suffering has ripple effects. And the positive energy of that ripple can change the world.

So keep on writing. Your words matter, even when you are your own biggest fan.

* * *

Carrie is a Toronto-based writer who writes the blog Girl with the Red Umbrella (alongside that secret blog) and the occasional article. She's authored a full-length travel memoir based on a year spent hiding away from her life in Osaka, Japan that she's currently querying

Originally a business school grad, she now works in the exciting world of government procurement and process improvement, but is usually daydreaming about her escape to a far away land, or into a piece of writing she's working on.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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