Write Now: Does Your Writing Have A Cathartic Purpose?


It sounds like a neat word to use in a sentence. Catharsis may be defined as the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.

For some people, actions or events may be cathartic for them.

For me, writing is very powerful.

And that’s my point.

It may be powerful for others, but to them, maybe they don’t recognize how powerful writing is.

Since the fourth grade, writing has been cathartic for me. Writing has calmed me when I have been angry, and has soothed, and healed me when I have been sad.

I have written many times that I love writing and I love learning about writing. I have written about the writing process — prewriting (brainstorming,) rough draft, revising, editing and publishing — many times. On occasion, I may just isolate brainstorming from the rest of the process part because brainstorming lends itself to catharsis.

After all, prewriting is where one writes down words and ideas that may become sentences. There are so many words and ideas in a writer’s head, that sometimes he may get frustrated because he has a hard time getting his words to the page. It can be a daunting task.

But in this task it’s different.

I am not brainstorming because I am writing fiction or a scholarly paper. I am brainstorming to maybe get my angry or sad thoughts onto the page and purge them out of my head. The physical act of writing, the transference of words and ideas to a page alleviates stress. The best part is that I can write what I want and write how I want to write. There is no formula. There is no guide.

Some may say it’s a form of journaling, and they would be 100 percent correct.

So if you are ever in emotional turmoil, try collecting your words, thoughts and ideas on a page either handwritten or typed. It doesn’t matter which. What matters is that you have begun to deal with your emotional turmoil.

It’s that easy.

It’s that difficult.


Have you read the dictionary lately?

Weird question to ask, but it is a legitimate question.

I used to more when I was younger. Not only did I find definitions of words, but I also found pronunciations and correct spellings of words. When I was in elementary school, for some form of behavioral punishment, a teacher may have assigned students write out word definitions — not the simple, one-sentence definitions either. It happened to me twice. I remember first having to write out the definition for the word “be.” It is a verb that has a lengthy definition. The second time, the punishment was more severe. The teacher took his time and thumbed through the dictionary looking for the perfect word. All along he knew exactly which word he was going to choose. He found it and placed the book on my desk and said “please copy the definition of the word run.” Doesn’t matter which dictionary is chosen. The word run has a definition twice or three times the length of the word be.

Keep in mind my handwriting was not the best in fourth grade, and I couldn’t leave until I finished, but I managed to finish the task. And there was a fresh supply of sharpened pencils on his desk. It was like he knew I was going to be a repeat offender. After that I knew what the word run meant.

I had several takeaways from those situations: I improved my spelling. I improved my penmanship. I learned how to use a dictionary. I learned the dictionary is a valuable tool. I learned I loved words. I sort of learned not to get in trouble in class.

No matter if it is compact, abridged or unabridged, no writer should be without his dictionary.