Why Write About Our Experiences?
We all know the sayings about the power of the pen, or the keyboard, as the case is more likely to be these days. The written word transcends barriers that might stop us from sharing our thoughts with others.
The pen is an instrument of discovery rather than just a recording implement.
-Billy Collins, US Poet Laureate, 2001-03
Such is the case of writing about multiple sclerosis and my life with this uninvited guest. Through the opportunity to share my writing here at MultipleSclerosis.net and my personal blog at InsideMyStory.com, I can share my experiences, the latest MS news and my opinions – at times these might be separate stories, but there are also moments when these three merge into one giant thought and a lot of words come together to form my latest article or blog.
There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.
-William Makepeace Thackeray, 19th century author
Or course this was written at a time when it was widely held that only men had thoughts worth sharing. I would reframe Thackeray’s words to say there are a thousand thoughts within a person…
I’m not the only one who finds writing about life with MS of value, as evidenced by the great company of writers who are also the ‘experts’ here for MultipleSclerosis.net. We all have MS but have diverse histories and paths with this disease. We are also demographically diverse in age, where we live, and our personal MS history. I hope you have found the words of my fellow writers here to be inspiring, educational, motivating and even entertaining – I know I have!
When we put the pen to paper, we articulate things in our life that we may have felt vague about. Before you write about something, somebody says, ‘How do you feel?’ and you say, ‘Oh, I feel okay.’ Then you write about it, and you discover you don’t feel okay.
-Julia Cameron, Author
So why do we write the often intimate details of our health, our life, our finances and so much more? More than once I have thought about the why behind my sharing so much with you, the reader. I come up with many reasons, and can’t prioritize their order so I’ll just toss them out here.
Writing about my life with MS is empowering – by putting the virtual pen to paper I am seizing the details of my life and making sure my history is correct.
I like to think in some way, writing about MS is a form of service – others who may be wondering about the same topics I am writing on may find it helpful.
It is healing for me to use writing as a form of therapy where I can purge thoughts from my brain and move on to the next things facing me. It also allows me to build new connections with others.
A writer uses a pen instead of a scalpel or blow torch.
-Michael Ondaatje, Canadian Author
The flip side of this question is why do you, the reader, participate and read our writings? I would like to think it is because we are all so brilliant at this you can’t get enough of our words. But the truth is you are probably searching for the same reasons I have listed above in writing – healing, knowing others face the same MS problems, and you face the same obstacles, thoughts and worries. Something in the words of the writers must resonate with you and you find yourself commenting, sharing your own thoughts or just silently nodding your head in agreement.
Whatever your reasons, I know all of us appreciate you taking the time from your day to read our articles, comment, and how you often share them with others. I invite you to become more than a reader here at MultipleSclerosis.net – pick up the pen or dust off the keyboard, capture your thoughts and emotions in words and share your stories. MultipleSclerosis.net has a special section just for that purpose and you can read and share more writings in the STORIES section. It’s always good to know we’re not alone.
Wishing you well,