Why writing for wellbeing is not self indulgent

Hey gang! I’m back!

I was off running workshops at Larmertree Festival this past weekend, and it reminded me how much I love running writing for wellbeing activities. Using writing to become introspective, to look at yourself through metaphor, to explore and re-inhabit your good memories…it all feels rejuvinating.

My favourite one this weekend was Letters to the Moon, where we explored different memories and symbols of the moon in celebration of the Moon Landing anniversary.

My other session was called Wild Words, and it was about exploring inner wildness – the prompts were about what ‘wild’ meant to you, and making a wild promise to yourself.

One of the participants, perhaps expecting a more traditional writing workshop, said that writing about her own feelings felt ‘self indulgent’.

This is one of the main lies of the inner critic when it comes to writing – you have nothing to say that’s worth listening to. You aren’t having thoughts that haven’t been had a hundred times before.

I am here to tell that critic to shut up. In fact, I’m here to tell you the opposite: writing your feelings is not only NOT self indulgent, it’s NECESSARY.

If you need to process things, if you haven’t got another outlet for exploration, if you don’t know how you feel about yourself, your life, your dreams…writing can help!

I’m an introvert, so as well as finding the festival quite intense this weekend, I took the opportunity to write my way around some thoughts and issues I was having. I’ve been quite low energy and ‘off’ over the last few weeks and having the opportunity to start a dialogue with my inner critic, to ask her what’s up and what I’m struggling with was really helpful.

So here’s my response: writing about yourself, from your perspective, about your feelings is NOT SELF INDULGENT. The same way that going for a run, eating something that makes you happy, having a long bath, chatting with your best mates or turning up for therapy is NOT SELF INDULGENT. It’s self care. It’s showing up for yourself and acknowledging that you have something to say.

So whether you’re writing a book, a diary, a poem, a to do list…do it because you have something to say!

And if you’d like to do one of the activities we did, start with:

‘I am wild like a ……….’

Feel free to share how you find the activity, or what you think about ideas of writing and self indulgence. Do you feel guilty taking the time to write? Do you worry about the value of your words?