I’ve always heard that writers have a lot of pain and that it’s precisely their pain that helps them write so beautifully and alluringly and I always felt like I couldn’t be a real writer because I wasn’t sure I had enough pain.
I’m 17 years old and my parents are still together. I have a wonderful younger brother. My grandparents live with us, too, and they’re just a constant source of joy. I get good grades. I take a lot of AP’s and I take them willingly. I’m an optimist. I love laughing. It’s hard to see how someone like me could possibly have any kind of pain.
But lately, I’ve been hurting. I’ve been thinking about dying, not wanting to die, but just late at night when I can’t fall asleep, I just lay there and think about how everything is going to come to an end and I wonder what is so worth it about life. I’m so scared my grandparents are going to die. I mean, they are seriously so old. On top of that, I feel like I’m losing so many of my friends. I just keep on realizing that they don’t care about me as much as I care about them. I feel like nobody in the world truly understands me. And for the first time ever I realized that there is actually pain in my life.
Honestly, the 6th grade me might even be thrilled had this happened to her then. It’s like finally I have something to write about. I can finally relate to what Ernest Hemingway said: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Finally.
But I realize now that I had it all backwards.
You don’t need pain to write. You don’t need to reach a certain level of misery. You don’t need to be depressed or a Holden Caulfield. It’s just that everybody has pain inside of them. Everybody has been wronged before at least at one point in their life and everybody hurts. And writing about it, writing hard and clear about what hurts, helps it hurt a little bit less. So I’m not saying that writing solves all of your problems, because it definitely doesn’t. Writing just makes it easier to live with them and helps you to reach the state of acknowledgement that you need in order to solve your problems.
Even if you’re not a writer, even if you don’t like writing at all, writing down what’s going on in your life and what’s got you upset lately changes so much and makes your life so much better. It doesn’t have to be on a public blog or even a journal that you’re going to keep. You can even throw it away right after you write it down.
There’s just something about the action of transferring your emotions from inside of you onto something tangible or visible that makes you feel like you’re not hurting for nothing. You can pick up your hurt, gather it together, and then throw it all up into writing. And even if there’s no one who’s going to read what you wrote, you feel like somebody out there’s finally listening.
So write. Write as Hemingway said. Write hard and clear about what hurts. Who knows? Maybe you’ll stop hurting and maybe you’ll produce exquisite writing.