Monday Muse (5) – Writing and Mental Health


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend my second Books by the Banks Festival in Cincinnati. This festival is a way to celebrate local and national authors through book signings, author panels, and writing workshops. With NANOWRIMO right around the corner, it was refreshing and exhilarating hearing from the authors about their process and what worked well with them. All around, bookworms hurried around the convention center in search of their favorite authors. Libraries and booksellers were also present marketing their events and ways to get involved in local bookish communities.


After making my first 2 initial purchases: The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel and a book that shall remain nameless since it is a holiday gift ;), I stumbled upon a line forming outside one of the rooms where an author was to be showcased in 30ish minutes. I had not intended on staying for many sessions if any, however the fervor around this particular author piqued my interest. Upon entering, I quickly looked up the author on Goodreads and discerned that she was the author of a memoir that I had seen around but did not necessarily appeal to me – Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. After she started speaking, I knew I’d been in the right place. Jenny talked about her anxiety and mental health and how that is impacted her life as well as being a mom and author. I was enraptured by her exuberance and honesty about her diagnoses as well as she uses humor and words to write something for her that turned out to be a universal message for challenges lots of people experience on a daily basis.


I loved how Jenny expressed that writers sometimes try to find their inspiration in the right place which may be abroad or somewhere foreign. However, sometimes the bad places and experiences are the right ones. That’s where the story emerges. Additionally, writing can be associated to telling your story to someone – so whenever we hit a writer’s block, she says, start with the prompt “This is what I want to tell you” and go from there. The more I think about her message, with writing tips and being honest with ourselves, the more I get inspired to finish NANOWRIMO at some point in life. I must remember that I am writing for me and to tell my story that I tend to keep locked in, what comes after, it is what it is.

What are your thoughts about using writing as a means to potentially heal?

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