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  • Writer's pictureMariana Carvalho

How Therapy Helped Me Unleash My Inner Writer

From journaling and poetry to essays and technical papers: how taking care of my mental health has helped me unleash my inner writer

I started therapy in September 2020.

During the pandemic. But not because of the pandemic.

I was living by myself. I had had a difficult breakup. I wasn’t able to travel and visit family. I was having an existential crisis at work.

It was tough.

I started therapy and things were, slowly, starting to make sense.

Start with your art

My therapist is a Jungian therapist. One of the techniques in this line of therapy is drawing.

After a few sessions, she asked me to draw some of the thoughts I was having during the session. It was interesting to do that exercise.

I always thought I needed structure to draw — a reason, an objective.

I always thought I had to be a perfect illustrator.

A few therapy sessions in. More and more drawing sessions. The feeling of comfort with drawing started to flow.

If you like drawing or any other type of art, grab what interests your passion, and go for it!

Transitioning to Writing

Then, she asked me to write about my dreams.

It was a game changer.

In the journey of therapy and self-discovery, I started writing (almost) every day. A few sentences to start my day.

You can call it journaling, or gratitude journal.

Then, as I unleashed my creativity in different ways, I felt more comfortable not having a structure to write.

It was right at that moment, that my poetry started to flow. I started to feel more present when writing poems. And would think about ideas for poems during other activities throughout the day.

Lessons Learned
  • You don’t need a structure all the time. It is OK to unleash our creativity just for the sake of it. No script.

  • You don’t have to be perfect to do creative work (and we should stop judging ourselves).

  • Write your dreams when you wake up. It might give you clarity in the future.

  • Write at least 3 things you feel grateful for, every morning. It will NOT take you more than 5 minutes to do it.

  • Have your notepad app or a small notebook ready in your purse for these moments of epiphany. An idea might come up and you are not in front of your laptop to start writing a poem or an essay.

Writing on Medium

As I was becoming more comfortable writing my poems, writing in my gratitude journal, I came back to Medium to check on what I had published a few years back.

My account still existed.

I still had views in some of my articles that were still relevant.

But I stopped writing for so long.

I opened a new draft. And started writing. I started writing in Portuguese first (still with the fear of writing in English).

Then I started my English essays. This one is the first one I wrote more recently.

I started thinking about my journey in the US that will soon complete 6 years. I started thinking about all the lessons I have been learning in Corporate America. All the lessons I learned from my mentors.

I started using this space to write about my passions and learn more about myself.

Because of therapy, and battling the fear of being seen through my words, I found my inner writer.

The results of this journey have been tremendous!

I want to highlight some of them below that can help on your journey:

  • Self-awareness: the more you write, the more you will learn about yourself, your passions, and the things you like and dislike;

  • Satisfaction: set aside time to reflect, think, and write will help you focus and your overall satisfaction. Regardless if writing is your side hustle or your full-time job;

  • Financial return: I applied to write career content for a website in Brazil and so far I have made around $550 writing about my passion for Technology e career. You can do that too!

  • Social media financial return: when I wrote one of my first articles in English on Medium, this one to be more specific, I earned a total of $0.32 (not much, I know), but for someone that has been creating content for NOTHING, 0.32 cents is something. Besides that, because I was sharing my medium articles on my Instagram page and being more active there, I was selected to be part of a Creators group where my Reels videos can also earn money. I have made a total of $10 so far, after publishing only 3 videos.

To summarize, here are a few tips on how YOU can start unlocking your inner writer:

  • Draw freely using whichever tool you prefer on a blank canvas

  • Stop judging yourself and your art

  • Write your dreams

  • Stop judging yourself and your writing

  • Keep writing — even the little tiny things of your day (how did you pet your dog this morning? how is the sky during sunset tonight? how do I feel when my partner says X to me? — and so on)

Therapy helped me to unleash my inner writer. And Medium has helped me bring them to life.

I hope you can find your way to self-discovery, enjoy as you create your art, and have fun along the way!

Mariana Carvalho is a writer, career mentor, Latino 30 Under 30 2022 by El Mundo Boston magazine, Mentor of the Year 2023 by WomenTech Network, with over 12 years of professional experience, the last 7 in corporate America. Connect: Mentoring | Medium | LinkedIn | Instagram | Threads | Website

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