Pen to Paper

writing paris

For years I’ve found the process of putting pen to paper therapeutic. Whether it was writing about my grade school crush, high school woes, college flubs, or entrepreneurial struggles, the practice rarely disappoints. I’ve been able to recognize patterns, feel heard without concern of it being shared, and process confusing emotions.

And I only need two tools: pen and paper.

I’m rarely found without both and often tote more—various pens, an ideas book, Daybook, and, occasionally, an art journal. This might help explain the big, heavy bag that’s carried on my right shoulder over a repaired rotator cuff. Hmmmm.

Studies show that writing can strengthen immune cells, clarify thoughts and feelings, increase self-awareness, reduce stress, decrease PTSD symptoms, and help with problem solving. Or serve as an outlet for confessing your eight-year-old self’s crush which is how my writing launched. I believe it was Ralph Macchio of The Karate Kid.

Years ago I came across an article stating how a notebook could serve as an inexpensive therapist and encouraging a regular practice. While I don’t recommend substituting a notebook for therapy, I do believe writing can serve as a helpful tool in between sessions, in session, or even if you’re not seeing a therapist.

Capturing triggers (what was it that sent me spiraling?), observing thoughts (I notice I’m complaining about that same thing . . . again), and venting in a notebook provides a safe space to explore what is happening in our lives. My favorite prompt when I sit down to write is “I am feeling . . . “. It’s always different and often gets to the core.

While I’m not touting it as a cure-all, I do believe writing is a powerful tool for better self-understanding, creative expression, and healing. Some start their days with Morning Pages (Julia Cameron’s suggested three longhand pages), others end their days with reflection, and many turn to the page, as needed.

There’s no right way. It only matters that we carve out a few minutes regularly to notice what’s percolating beneath the surface and ready to be heard. It’s like peeling the layers off an onion. A process. Sometimes tear-filled. And often rewarding. Happy writing. Bisous. x

P. S. Do you have a favorite prompt that gets your hand moving? If so, please share it in the comments below.




  1. Jayna' says:

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    I love to start with… Today I need… My soul wants me to….. Today I want to feel….

    By the time I finish these prompts, I feel grounded in self-care and I am able to free the space in my soul to pour everything else out.

    In light and love…

  2. Leslie says:

    I don’t have a specific prompt, but I do find that writing morning pages is the most helpful for me these days. Knowing that after I write my 3 pages, I’m going to rip them up and throw them away, never to be seen, it frees me up to write my true feelings without any sort of censoring! Thanks for sharing, Kimberly!

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Leslie, oh morning pages, such a gift. What a beautiful way to start the day! So therapeutic. Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way is truly life-changing! x

  3. Heidi Johnson says:

    I find if I’m stuck with how to start I simply describe where I am, what I’m drinking and the weather. Somehow that unblocks the tip of the pen and I’m off. More recently I’ve switched my Morning Pages to Evening Pages and I’m loving it! I process the day, more often than not write a compassion prayer to those in need (including myself) and set an intention for the next day. I heart the pen + paper!

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Heidi, I love it. Way to shift a technique to make it work better for you with Evening Pages! Starting with getting grounded in space (where you are) and time (what you’re doing) is a sacred launching pad into more. Pen + paper forever. 😉 x

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