How Writing a Novel Helped my Friend to Find Herself

write down

I had heard that writing could help you to improve yourself. And not only in the sense of giving you the tools required to get a new job or better grades at school. But also as a person.

That when it is only you and a piece of paper something magical and also scientifically proven can happen, that your mind just takes a turn for the best.

What I didn’t expect was that writing a novel would have such an impact on my friend’s life.

This friend of mine had always been quite shy and insecure. Confidence wasn’t one of her strengths, really. Since childhood (as we lived in the same neighborhood), I had seen her struggling to make friends, to speak her mind, and to get what she wanted.

It was usually I who had to make a stand for her. I would notice her embarrassment (what wasn’t really hard to spot considering she would turn herself into a beetroot), and there I was, from asking to buy something over the counter to defending her against the newest bully in town.

It was never a problem for me to do it for her, to be honest. I kind of liked it. But as soon as I started getting a bit older, and with a bit more of sense, I began to worry about what would be of her in the future.

It wasn’t like I could be with her on a date or a job interview, for example. She would have to learn to say what she needed to say and to do what she wanted to do by herself.

And yet nothing much changed until we got into our 20s. We were both attending the same college, but I had enrolled myself in Marketing studies while she was doing Literature and other things of the genre.

I am not afraid to say that the only thing that I could think at that stage was how she was planning to get a job with that sort of knowledge because it wasn’t like she was going to be a teacher. She wouldn’t be able to speak in front of a class full of students, I was sure about it.

But, one day, she came to me and told me that she was writing a novel.

My first reaction was “oh, well, another thing to get her even more isolated”, but then she started telling me about the plot, a story about a young girl who had been kidnapped and was trying to deal with her feelings of fear and despair by writing a journal.

She said she had found inspiration on Anne Frank’s story, the German-born Jewish girl who wrote a remarkable diary while hiding from the Nazis. She thought it was impressive the way that Anne managed to leave so many inspiration to us and to keep such a positive image of human beings despite what she was going through.

But what I had got more impressed about was how similar was my friend’s book’s main character with herself. I could see how she was pouring her own soul in those pages, that the girl’s words were her own, that her dreams were my friend’s so-long-forgotten dreams.

Over the time that my friend spent concentrated writing her novel, I also noticed an improvement in the way that she thought about almost everything. She sounded less confused, her speaking was more clear and direct, and she even sounded a bit more confident.

Thanks to the criminal plot she was working on, I believe she became more capable of thinking logically and seeing problems and challenges from a new perspective. But, more than anything, she sounded happier and motivated.

I understand now that examining her own feelings carefully, but under the impression that she was talking about someone else’s life, my friend set herself free. She released her frustrations and started managing to say what was going on in her mind without fear.

Not that she has changed from water to wine, but the improvement is there for anyone to see. I wasn’t the only one noticing her confidence blossoming out, as our other friends and even her teachers were impressed by her progress.

So I am sharing this with you so you can also give it a try. Don’t worry if you don’t have an original idea to write about Set fire on the pieces of paper after you finish your story if you like.

Just grab a notebook and a pen, or your laptop, and start writing any piece of fiction you might like. The benefits of this decision will remain in your mind and in your heart from that moment, and so on.

PS: Please leave a comment below and tell me if you have ever written a novel and then realize that the novel is a lot about you?

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