Why would I do writing exercises?
Writing is a wonderful way to help you heal. When we write things are released. Energy, emotions, past traumas, experiences, relationship troubles, etc get released from your energy, mind, heart, and body. In addition to releasing these things, you can also gain an incredible amount of information and insight into them as well.
Can I type or do I have to physically write on paper?
Writing is best done with a pen or pencil and paper. The physical act of writing accesses different parts of our brain then typing does. Yes, typing the info will still be beneficial, but putting pen-to-paper is more effective.
How long should I write for?
There is no "wrong" amount of time. You can write for as little as 5 or 10 minutes or as long as an hour or more. You determine what the "right" amount of time is. If you are familiar with writing and journaling and enjoy it, then you will likely feel comfortable writing for longer periods and can consider starting with 30 to 45 minutes. If you are new to journaling and writing, or simply do not enjoy writing, then start with 5 or 10 minutes and work your way up as you feel comfortable.
Do I always have to set a timer and write for a certain?
No, absolutely not. Setting a timer is only one way to do writing exercises. Another way is to simply write until you feel done. If you are choosing to write about a particular emotion, trauma, experience, event or relationship, then writing until you are done writing and expressing is extremely healing and in my opinion, is the best option, if possible and you are up for the task.
How to write when doing a writing exercise
Simply write whatever comes up. No editing. No re-reading(until later after you are "complete" in the session. No erasing. No judging yourself. Just write and let the feelings flow. You can NOT do this exercise too often, the worst that will happen is you may run out of feelings to dump! ;o)
Should I share what I write with anyone else?
What you write is NOT meant to be shared with anyone and you may choose to destroy it immediately afterward. The key is to GET THE FEELINGS OUT. Studies have shown that if you think someone else will read it, not only does the info get skewed on the way out, but it reduces the effects of the exercise greatly. It can even be detrimental and cause more trauma.
However, if you are working with a therapist, then things that come up during a writing exercise may be discussed with them. Keep in mind, discuss what came up is not the same as showing them the writings themselves.
You may also share your successes, awarenesses, or your experiences during the writing with others, again, I do not recommend sharing your physical writings with anyone. Period.
Will my writing style be the same as I normally write?
Your writing style will probably change during the session. This is normal and to be expected. The changes may be subtle or extremely obvious and very different. Size, angle, pen pressure, visual appearance, etc often changes as does the overall style of grammar and language. Younger parts of your self or alter-egos can take over and you may not even recognize your own writing as ever being yours.
Simply be aware that it is happening, don't try to change it or understand it, and do not judge it, just know it will likely happen.
Writing Exercise #1 - Timed Dump
To complete a "timed dump" simply set a timer for a specific amount of time (10 to 45 mins preferably), set the intent to dump for that many minutes, then just let whatever comes up flow onto the paper.
This type of exercise is particularly helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed, spinning out, maxed out, confused or feeling any emotion that you are unable to get clarity on.
You can do a timed dump on a particular topic such as an emotion, event, trauma, relationship, etc.
Writing Exercise #2 - Dump with Purpose
This type of writing exercise is done to release feelings surrounding a certain emotion, topic, trauma, event, relationship or person, etc. Any event/topic that was traumatizing, greatly affected you or even just upsetting can be understood better and can be allowed to be released.
When doing this exercise, you do NOT set a timer. Instead, only write with the intention of getting every last feeling about this topic out.
You can set a max timer if you are limited on time and then plan a time to come back and finish the release at another time. The goal, as stated above, is to write until nothing else comes up and you feel a sense of calm and peace!