free the pen, a blog for writers

July 15, 2018

Letter of Forgiveness

Filed under: writing and healing — freethepen @ 1:23 pm

Janhawaii2015 Everyone has met someone who betrayed, gossiped about, or injured her in some way. Are you still holding onto that pain? Do you still get angry when you think about if? Sit and write a letter of forgiveness to the person or persons who have injured you. Do not send them! Tuck them away somewhere, burn them, bury them, but write them. Write until you feel full of forgiveness and pay attention to how free you are when you are finished. Forgiveness is often misunderstood. You are not condoning their behavior. You are simply saying I give away this pain for the benefit of my own life and I wish you a blessing for healing. Assert that you will not hold onto the painful actions of others.

Keep the pen moving,


June 29, 2018

Have You Had Enough?

Filed under: writing and healing — freethepen @ 2:39 pm

bigstock-Vogue-style-vintage-portrait-35629610 We have our personal lives, community lives, national lives. There is so much going on in many areas of our lives right now that it is difficult to manage it all. Write out your stressors and what you would like to do about them. Who can help you with these burdens? Who needs to hear your voice on your point of view? Make a list, write letters, take action, take time to take care of yourself. How are you going to do this?

If you want to write fiction on this topic, develop a character who is drowning in stress. Write her out of it.

Keep the pen moving,


March 31, 2017


Filed under: writing and healing — freethepen @ 1:51 pm

Child Eating Strawberrie  Did you know that the chemical Chlopyrifos was been banned on strawberries, corn, and citrus? However, the new administration and the EPA is restoring its use. This chemical is harmful to people and the earth. It has been found to hurt the brains of young children, increasing ADD and other conditions. Put your writing skills to work and write a letter today to the new administration and the EPA. Writers must make their writing count for social good.

Keep the pen moving,


March 27, 2017


Filed under: writing and healing — freethepen @ 1:31 pm

IMG_7562 We have all lost people we love. Though we can’t take them to lunch, or buy them a sweater, or talk on the phone, we can communicate through letters. Write letters to those you have lost and feel connected.

August 28, 2016

Journal Writing

Filed under: Journal writing,writing and healing — freethepen @ 4:13 pm

There are so many aspects of life you can write about in your journal and there are many ways to structure your writing in a journal. Some people focus on specific things such as goals or emotions. Some people write daily or just when they feel like it. It truly doesn’t matter.

I have read numerous studies that reveal writing is powerful in manifesting, overcoming, triumphing, changing emotions, and even diminishing physical pain. Journals have been kept by people as far back as they could find a tool to use. Caves are replete with markings from ancient times. Those markings tell stories of how lives were lived. There is something about making our personal stories and inner realities visual and documented that changes our perspectives.

Journal writing is healing and creative not only to support making sense of your life but journals are tools to understand your own thinking, emotions, and the behaviors that have to follow. I say have to because that is how we function. First we have a thought which creates an inner emotional reaction and then we have ways we want to behave.

If you want to understand or change something in your life, take up your pen before you do anything else and see what arises. Speaking for myself, I have been writing everyday since 1972 and without my pen I don’t know how I would have gotten through the most unexpected and challenging times of my life. No mentor could have given me the wisdom of who I am any better than the pen. Speaking for my students in my Provocation of Journal Writing classes and other classes I have taught, they¬† have also expressed the amazing help of developing further understanding, found the ability to make peace with the past, and have manifested creation of new plans for their futures.

Try it. Take this challenge:

For one week write daily for at least 15 minutes on something from the past that you would like to understand. First write the situation from your point of view, then the other person’s, then as a stranger overseeing it. Let me know the results.

Keep the pen moving,



November 18, 2014

Whether You Are the One Who Harmed Or the One Harmed – Write!

Filed under: writing and healing — freethepen @ 2:28 pm

65thThose who write every day know the power of writing. Those who write deeply about their pain and use the pen to sort out their internal distress know the power of writing to heal. When we shut up the voice others hear and we listen to the inner voice that only we hear we get to the raw part of who we are and in that process we find out what has truly happened to us, or what we have done, and hear what we honestly need to get on the road to recovery.

When I teach expressive writing through the provocation of journal writing and therapeutic writing I find that whether you are the one who has been abused or you are the one who abused someone else, the healing effects of the writing process works the same way. Anyone who has abused has been abused – that fact isn’t new. Prisons are packed with men and women who have suffered traumas of their own.

Trauma brings numbed feelings and so the acting out and reacting behaviors will continue until something in the individual is awakened, acknowledged, and healed. Veteran centers all over the country are learning about the power of writing and healing by watching veterans with PTSD heal through writing their stories, both what happened to them and what they did to others.

Writing your story heals and there is no doubt that when you set yourself on a course to heal through writing it is powerful. I always recommend that when anyone embarks on such an intense internal process, because numb feelings will be reawakened, that they put themselves in therapy with a therapist who knows how to walk them through this process. PTSD results from many different kinds of traumas and abuse. Write all you want, write every day but do get help for going deeper. Talk therapy and writing is a wonderful combination.

For more information contact

Keep the pen moving,

Jan, LCSW, Author of 11 books, CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

Blog at