Writing Can Be Therapeutic Says Author Holly Barbo

Holly Barbo, author of science fiction fantasy books The Sage Seed Chronicles, shares why writing is a great way to work out personal issues. A little tongue-in-cheek mixed with sage advice, Barbo details all the reasons why her own writing keeps her sane.




Writing can be a personal form of therapy for the author. Not for every writer, but definitely for some of us. I can use The Unraveling to illustrate the point.

My main character is Erin, a young woman in her late teens, whose life has been completely shattered by the murder of her parents, and the knowledge that she is on the list to be killed. She flees to the first person she can think of who her parents trusted: an old, wise woman by the name of Ree who lives in a cabin at the bend of a river.

I need to hop out of my story for a minute and explain how this illustrated the point about a “personal form of therapy.” My Grandmother, Cherie (Ree Ree), lived in a cabin at the bend of a river. We were very close, and I knew I could always go to her when I was troubled. She has been gone for many years and I still miss her. The description of Ree and her home were close with very little creative license. By writing her in as a character I was able to visit with her once again. She is an old woman in the last three books of my series which is the way I knew her. But she first appears in the book before this one as a young woman of nineteen, so I had to imagine what she would have been like at that age.

My second example is Tempo; a little skunk who becomes one of Erin’s companions. I had a pet when I was about Erin’s age ... a de-scented skunk. I adored her but circumstances changed and I never got to see her grow up. Tempo is in three books and I have enjoyed every minute with the character.

The last two situations fall under the category of “This drives me crazy’, and ‘if I had the power...”. Since we have been talking about characters I’ll hit that first (That’s a pun...hold on, I’ll explain.) You might have heard the statement: “Don’t p*ss off an author or you’ll get written into their book!” It’s so true, and I’ve been able to take out my anger all over their hapless two dimensional selves. Bwhahahaha. Very satisfying!

Finally, have you ever wanted to change something in our world? I do all the time. Watching the news can be a very irritating experience. Each book has a few topics that I would like to say something about. Oh, I’m not pushy or preachy about it, but I weave in that which troubles me and I fix it. It’s part of the reason I write sci-fi / fantasy. I can create my own world, my own laws, and the societal structure. I, then, have the power!

See? Writing can be very therapeutic!  :D
~ Holly Barbo

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