Hurricane. Earthquake. Divorce. A bad diagnosis. The week that changed everything.
Some bloggers would jump on the chance to narrate their most traumatic experiences: it’s just more blog material, right? Others might be afraid that reliving a painful event would just make them feel worse. Why go through all that grief again?
It turns out that there are many benefits to blogging about your own difficult moments.
Psychologist Jim David says that the simple act of writing about trauma can improve one’s physical health and psychological well-being. Writing about trauma is a form of mental exposure to the stressful event, and exposure is known to have benefits in the treatment of trauma.
Writing can also be a way for one to organize (mentally, cognitively) a major stressful event into something meaningful, and integrate it with other life experiences. It can help the writer make sense of the event.
Writing, I think, is not apart from living.
Writing is a kind of double living.
The writer experiences everything twice.
Once in reality and once in that mirror
which waits always before or behind.
~Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic, 1957
According to Copyblogger, producing a mental image in a reader’s mind is one of the most powerful things you can ever do as a writer.
Colorful descriptions make readers feel like they are experiencing the event with you. The more feelings and sensations you can include, the more you will hook your audience and keep them reading.
Offering your own story can help others work through their own similar experiences. One of the most fulfilling aspects of blogging is the connection with readers and other bloggers. There is great value in realizing that you’re not alone in your personal struggles.
The lessons that you learned the hard way can serve to help your readers. Explain what you learned from the experience. How could you have prepared better? How did you react? How could readers avoid some of the problems that you had?
Someone once said that comedy equals tragedy plus time. According to Moira Allen, sometimes, the best time to write about your experience is when you’re finally able to look back on it and laugh. The resulting article will not only be useful, but entertaining as well.
She also notes that not every experience is appropriate for a lighthearted treatment. Some topics are more serious, and should be handled with sensitivity and care.
An epiphany is the “aha” moment when you have a new understanding of yourself. Writing about your personal experiences can lead to this feeling of clarity for yourself and for your readers.
Writing and sharing your personal stories could be difficult as you churn up old memories (or recent experiences). If you consider the therapeutic value of writing and the potential benefits to your readers, you may be ready to sit down and start sharing.
If my doctor told me I had only six minutes
to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.