Separation from our friends, families, and world is something we’ve all had to come to terms with in recent times. As the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, unprecedented scenes that were unheralded in peacetime took place. If we were not deemed top management workers, we had to stay inside, with excursions out only for food and exercise.
This isolation is familiar to representatives of the creative medium too. Any essay writer is used to spending long hours reading, researching, and composing texts. In times of crisis and strife, is it best for us to be conducting such rigorous work though?
Expressive writing looks and feels different to a more structured way of composing papers. The flows and vagrancies of something written from the heart have great therapeutic value; this makes writing expressively a powerful means of coping with stress - a condition that we might find ourselves under when experiencing self-isolation.
Isolation is a concept humans have used for a very long time indeed. We can draw parallels with scapegoating - an ancient ritual in which someone or something was cast off from the group and experienced isolation from it by being shunned into the wilderness. This isn’t self-isolation as the person would go unwillingly, but it is isolation nonetheless.
Prisoners also experience isolation. Again, it is not self-isolation as they’re unlikely to want to be in the clink, but prisoners of a certain ilk have a habit of writing as a way to cope. Letters, treatises, philosophies, poetry. Prison literature has shaped our society just as much as words written by free men and women.
Some classics of the genre include Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’, Marco Polo’s ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’, Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’, and anything by Marquis de Sade. Isolation is an important part of human life; we all experience it to some degree and for some duration at least once, so don’t panic and write your way to freedom.
The Self in Self-Isolation
Once we’ve been removed from our network of friends, family, work colleagues, and familiar strangers, something changes within us. Expressive writing is a ruler for the soul in the context of this change. Over the course of several lockdowns my friends and I started a short story club, submitting tales of varying length and quality every day or two for each other to laugh at and indulge in.
What seemed to appear in these stories were patterns: we kept discussing relationships and love, we got fixated on what seemed disgusting and revolting for a while. We all felt better for being able to share parts of our individuality on the page, and were pleasantly surprised to find we were still not alone.
Thankfully, our self-isolation was mediated by the internet; we could talk instantly, send pictures, and enjoy a drink through the power of Zoom. Online essay writer practices are different to the old analog isolation writers. We had access to everything: all information, byzantine knowledge pools that we all drew from in our own way. We could even collaborate on the same text.
Providing an essay writer help came in different forms; some works weren’t as good at spelling or punctuation, and we worked together to solve those issues before publishing our little collections. Others were unable to work the technological side of our connection, so we worked together to alleviate those problems too.
Self-isolation in physical terms may have been limiting, but we were closer than ever in our mental states.
None of us were pro essay writers, we just enjoyed feeling like we could take the time we were fortunate enough to have, and work with it in a way we thought would help us grow and stay relatively sane. That’s the crux of expressive writing; it reflects our inner-state, and it is a way of broadcasting these emotions and feelings to others. In essence, expressive writing reduces the level of isolation.
Ways of writing expressively
If expressive writing feels like something you could benefit from whilst experiencing a period of self-isolation, then it’s best to start immediately. There are no right or wrong ways to write when working in this style. The only barometer is how you feel. You shouldn’t dress yourself down for only writing 50 words - they could be the most emotive 50 words in the history of literature. They might as well be just some standard drivellings, but who really cares?
Should you hit a wall with this kind of ‘let it all out’ writing, then why not do as I did and start a group for writing? Invite a few friends and make a group on your preferred platform - Whatsapp, Facebook, Discord, etc. Next, you need to set some simple parameters.
What is the maximum writing length? What is the deadline? Where do you submit it? Should you do it anonymously or do you not care for that too much?
The only thing that changes is the brief. Take turns, get creative and think laterally about your briefs. Write a character that everyone must include and choose something genre-based like a Western or a sci-fi theme. When it comes to feedback, make sure you’re not too venomous or critical; try to see what the author themselves were going for, not what you wish you could have read.
Expressing yourself can be boring
All the best writers can also be reluctant in the face of writing. It’s a struggle for even the most successful ones, so don’t feel bad if you’re not getting euphoric over logging your thoughts and dreams. Just let it happen.
Hopefully, you’ve got the idea of writing expressively, either as a group or an individual. As with most things in life, setting out with low expectations and a sense of openness will yield the best results to help you get distracted from disturbing lockdown thoughts.
Author bio: Jenn Stiller is a writer and educator. Currently, Jenn is working with students who have learning difficulties and assisting other students with their essays and papers.