Frozen in Time: Writing and Healing

Photo/LeahSchultzHealing … is change from a singular self, frozen in time by a moment of unspeakable experience, to a more fluid, more narratively able, more socially integrated self. (Writing and Healing, Charles Anderson & Marian M. MacCurdy)

These words challenged my heart. Am I “frozen in time”?

The writing process helps me work through the painful trauma of my “unspeakable” experiences. It enables me to view my story from a more objective viewpoint, melting my frozen numbness, offering me hope beyond the icy boundaries of emotional bondage.

Helpful process. When I write about traumatic events, I often sense fear closing in on me like the twisted, frozen branches of a tree—wrapping its bone-chilling claws around me, choking the inspiration right out of me.

When I work on certain writing projects—like my book proposals—I freeze. I can’t control my thoughts, and chaos emerges, stealing my creative energy and organizational skills.

I try to forget some things for fear of stirring up painful memories, but they resurface when I least expect them. Often something unrelated triggers a memory—like a smell, a song, a picture, a person, or a place. Then, panic sets in again. And I freeze from the memory, unable to cope, until I regain control of my thoughts and reactions.

Healing narratives. Sometimes I‘m not sure how to begin composing my healing narratives. But I know the writing process will bring restoration. So I just start writing, even if I don’t know where the process will take me.

Do you fear writing certain projects? Are the stories too painful to consider? Do you fear the memories will trigger hidden emotional scars? Can we escape being “frozen in time”? Yes!

Hopeful vision. I long to write my stories without fear of a panic attack rooted in painful memories. But sometimes the writing process seems impossible. Luke 1:37 promises, “… nothing is impossible with God” (NLT).

I’ve observed the power of writing and healing as a writing instructor. Many students seem compelled, like I am, to write their own gut-wrenching narratives. And many of those writers come out of their secret hiding places, free from their emotional bondage. They experience change and healing—“to a more fluid, more narratively able, more socially integrated self.” And they begin to live new stories, delivered from their “frozen in time” memories.

As I write my healing narratives, I pray that I have the faith and courage to tell the stories that matter most and encourage others to experience the power of writing and healing.

What stories have you written that have brought healing to you and others?


9 Replies to “Frozen in Time: Writing and Healing”

    1. Love the quote, too! You should check out the book, Writing and Healing, too. Dr. Anderson’s (co-author) classes in nonfiction writing and healing narratives were some of my favorites in college – great guy! Thanks for your comment, “writefitz”!

  1. Dear Karen, I read and enjoy your posts, which arrive in my email. Please keep writing. Your work is needed, authentic and heart rendered. I appreciate you. I am also writing in my blog now because I have overcome fear as well. In my work I help women to find their individually unique, created self. Writing is one way to find oneself. I appreciate you and I benefit from your heart’s work. Hugs and Blessings, Susie E. Caron

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Great to hear from you, Susie! I’ll check out your blog. Your work is needed, too -what a wonderful and life-saving resource for many women! Btw, I’m writing a book about my journey overcoming fear right now. Hope to be able to share more of what I’ve learned to help others soon. Blessings!

  2. Reblogged this on StoryWriting Studio and commented:

    I wanted to share this post that I wrote last week on the WordServe Water Cooler with my friends in the StoryWriting Studio, just in case you might be “frozen in time.” Hope it encourages you to keep writing! Blessings!

  3. Healing, yes. Writing does that. Love that quote, friend. And, I think you just helped others identify an avenue to healing. Keep writing!

    1. I agree, Debra. I pray others will discover the power of writing and healing, too! Not only can they be healed, but their stories will help others. Keep writing (and healing), too!

  4. Healing narratives, I think every writer has experienced cathartic triggers, pulling off scabs, but necessary for permanent healing. Thank you for reminding us not to hide our scars, but to bravely do the work in spite of them.

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