From Pain to Purpose

“Writing is the only thing. When I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else”  – Gloria Steinem


Motivation is moving towards a goal. Abraham Maslow, the famous psychologist, said there were two kinds of motivation: deficiency motivation (changing an unsatisfactory situation) and being motivation (seeking a positive goal after lower order needs are met). People may use writing to achieve either type of motivation.

Writers often build armor around their psyches by using words to overcome inferiority (deficiency motivation). They add layers of protection and self-esteem to inner feelings of inadequacy and learn to compete with no one but themselves. What they write is personal. Fear, shyness, inferiority, and inadequacy rise into the open on the writer’s own terms, in safety, and confidentiality.

Writers construct strong foundations with words to support their needs. A firm outer image develops through the writing process because the inner image is patched and repaired (being motivation). Journal writers develop healthy egos. Formal writing, to prove ourselves to others, to be accepted, and to receive better grades is not the reason one usually writes in a personal notebook. Some of this writing could develop I to a product one might turn in for a school assignment because an intellectual component surfaces.

Journal writing wants to penetrate the flab, the insincere, and the lies of life. With the proper attitude, it touches unacknowledged feelings, becomes character completion, attitude development, and a healing form of expression, not just for the classroom but for life. It involves self-study, life education, skill, effort, a positive attitude, and discipline.

Move towards Self

Personal writing may require increased introversion, a change in value systems, and a movement toward self-realization. It reduces one’s ego and increases the development of creativity. It ties the unconscious to the conscious.

Albert Einstein said, “ The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” Writing gives us a tool for probing the mysterious, the unknown in our unconscious and connects it to our awareness.


Being awake in all aspects of life teaches us that we do not know as much about ourselves as we think. Intensive journalizing shows us there is more to explore than people previously thought, and one of the best to do this is to write about our dream images which illustrate psychological archetypes from our collective unconscious. Dreams restore emotional balance by igniting spontaneous creations the writer builds upon.

Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, used the term “archetypes,” psychic structures that organize and hold material in our unconscious file folders during our dreams reveal important ideas about ourselves. Intuitive writing is one effective way to touch these deep seated psychological structures.


Journal writers often find shadows in their writing, Jung’s archetypes coming to life. When people face the sun, most do not see their shadows: those dark sides of their natures, their weaknesses, those parts of their being in need of repair. Shadows seldom surface in our conscious life, but when we touch our unconscious, we often reach those areas, which need the most work. Temporarily, turning our backs to the sun allows us to see the shadows we forgot were behind us. We limit our own development by continuously looking into the sun. The best writers recognize their shadows, accept them, and confront the biggest shadow of all, the inflated ego, the biggest barrier in our path, the fire-breathing dragon, perfectionism.

Writing empties the mind of distractions and offers glimpses of emotional clarity. Affirmations positively written transform normal awareness and increase one’s serenity. Journals write the dragons away and provide opportunities to visualize one’s goals for the day, for the year, and for life.

Open Your Senses

Writing success involves conserving energy, plugging leaks, and increasing one’s vision. We see with our eyes. We hear with our ears. We touch with our hands. We taste with our tongues. We smell with our noses, but we understand with our hearts. Open hearts make better writers.

People find strength in the careful selection of their language. Many go from pain to purpose. There is nothing like a serious writer’s block to discover what true opportunities lie in the next paragraph. There is like a crisis to reveal a true epiphany. We create our own miracles. The rhythm of life and the spirit of the universe are at our fingertips. Writing is a state of mind and reduces life’s negative influences. Accentuate the positive. Practice. Practice.

Road Signs

Confusing aspects of life make us feel that we go around in circles. When we drift, become discouraged, depressed, lonely, alienated, and bored, stringing words together becomes a silent place to record our confessions. Often, if we take the time to write about our difficulties, we see spirals instead of circles. Spirals indicate that even though we continue to go around, we may move upwards at the same time. This is progress even though it is cyclical. Writing a few minuets daily, changes people’s lives. Serious writers learn in a short time to find road signs for their lives. They write their way to Oz, down the Yellow Brick Road, and home again.

Writing is stress therapy for the grid-locked, an adventure of the mind and heart. One cannot stay depressed and continue to write a journal. People become optimistic, if they write enough.

Write On! – David Martin

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]David Martin is the founder of Fine Lines community. Also he is a writing professor, the Fine Lines Camp director, and head editor of the journal. [/author_info] [/author]

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