Reflective writing and personal narrative can truly have healing and transformative powers. In her inspirational new book, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life (Loving Healing Press), Diana Raab, PhD offers practical steps for discovering and writing the story that is inside you and yearning to be told. A valuable how-to guide for anyone interested in growth and personal transformation, Writing for Bliss explores the process of writing a compelling narrative about life-changing experiences. Suitable for emerging writers, seasoned writers, students, and academics, this book leads spiritual seekers down the path of self-discovery through writing prompts, tools for journaling, and embodied and reflective writing techniques, offering ways to find the best vehicle for profound self-expression.
Writing your story is a way to reclaim your voice, reveal a family secret, or simply share your story with others. Journaling is a cathartic and safe way to work through your feelings and direct your rage to the page. With the help of this indispensable guide to therapeutic writing, you’ll understand yourself better, learn to honor the good times, be able to deal with various challenges in your life, such as depression, anxiety, illness, loss of a loved one, job loss, early life trauma, addiction, and life transitions. Offering step-by-step hands-on exercises for journaling your thoughts, emotions, and memories, along with techniques to jump-start your writing, Writing for Bliss will help you use self-expression to transform your life in a meaningful way. Writing for Bliss is available through local and online bookstores including Amazon, Powell’s Books, and Blackwell (UK).
Questions & Answers
by DIANA RAAB, PhD
When and how did you begin writing?
My passion for writing began at the age of ten when my mother gave me a Kahlil Gibran journal after my grandmother/caretaker committed suicide in my childhood home. Journaling was instrumental in helping me heal from my loss. Since then, my journal has been my confidant and best friend. I’ve used it to navigate difficult times, and it’s also a place to store memories and creative ideas that later result in poems, essays, and books.
What inspired you to write this book?
Writing for Bliss is a culmination of my life’s work. Ever since my mother gave me my first journal, I have used writing for healing—also the subject of my doctoral work—which focused on the transformative powers of writing a memoir. After getting my PhD, I continued my path of teaching writing-for transformation workshops. Many participants told me that I inspired them to write, and asked if I would write a book they could use as a reference after the workshop ended.
How has your life story shaped your writing of nonfiction and poetry?
I have encountered many losses in my life, and since it has been said that survivors are very often seekers, my experiences compelled me to record my feelings and impressions. For me, writing is my spiritual practice. It’s my “go to” place during both good and bad times. My journal is my friend and confidant, helping me release whatever is bottled up inside of me. It is liberating for me, because by releasing my secrets and sentiments, I become free and have more control over my life.
What are some unexpected benefits of writing about one’s life?
In addition to being a container for one’s thoughts and a way to release tension, writing about feelings and experiences is an excellent way to find out what you don’t know. In my research of writers who have written memoirs, many confessed that they began writing their memoirs for one reason, and during the writing process realized they were writing for a completely different reason. For example, one author wrote in order to figure out why his brother committed suicide, but by the time he’d made it to the end of his book, he realized that writing about his brother was a way to keep him alive.
Why is writing healing and transformative?
Writing is healing and transformative because it’s a way to nurture yourself. Free-writing, in particular, which is writing without lifting your pen off the page, can be liberating and healing because you go wherever your mind takes you. If you share your writing, others can be transformed by your words, especially if your story resonates with them or they have navigated similar journeys. Ultimately, healing, transformation, and empowerment are all parts of the same path—leading to self-awareness, self-discovery, growth and, eventually, bliss.