In his 2000 craft book On Writing, Stephen King says,
And in the midst of all this, something else happened. On July twenty-fourth, five weeks after Bryan Smith hit me with his Dodge van, I began to write again.
What healed Stephen King after Bryan Smith hit him and almost killed him in 1999 with a Dodge van?
Sure, there were lots that helped him during that trying time. His family, of course. And luck as well. King talks in On Writing about how if the truck had struck him just a few inches to the left or right, he might have been killed on impact. It’s terrifying to read about how close King came close to death on that fateful June day twenty years ago.
But one element that helped heal King a great deal? His writing!
Five weeks after he almost died, and before he was even able to finish the first draft of his craft book On Writing, he sat up and began to write again. And he talks so articulately in that last major chapter in his craft book about how writing in so many ways brought him back to life.
There truly is a healing aspect to writing.
I have been lucky enough to not be a situation where I needed writing to heal me physically, to bring me back to life in a way.
But writing certainly healed Stephen King. He talks in On Writing how difficult it was to write for long periods of time during his healing process. He could only sit up for so long before the pain hit, and he had to take a break. He ultimately couldn’t write as much day after day as he would have wanted to.
But even that small amount of time writing each day absolutely helped heal him bit by bit, both mentally and physically. When you’re in the zone as a writer, I truly believe you leave your body. You become one with the words, and the story takes over. I’m currently writing 3,000 words a day on my twentieth novel. When I really get rolling, everything in my own life takes a back seat to what’s happening in my narrative. And you truly do forget about your problems, both mentally and physically.
Writing helped Stephen King heal in both ways. Twenty years since his accident, he is in good shape physically and he’s still writing fantastic books mentally. Writing took King to a place that another person who didn’t write might never have been able to reach, I truly believe that.
Write because you love writing. Write for whatever reason you want. But remember it’s also a tremendous way to heal.
I love to write for all sorts of reasons. I love writing because I love stories and characters. I love to get lost in narratives that takes me out of my real life. I love the feeling that happens when your characters take over and you find yourself in an out-of-body experience.
But always remember as you go on in your life that writing has the ability to heal, both mentally and physically. I’ve sat down to write on bad days, where I was feeling down or bad about things, and writing helped. I’ve sat down to write on days I didn’t feel well, like having a cold or having a terrible stomach pain, and writing helped.
Writing absolutely has the ability to heal. It played a major role in healing Stephen King, it’s healed me throughout the years, and it can heal you, too.
There’s simply no reason to not be writing as much as possible. If you love to write, keep writing, and do it every day.
There’s no telling how much benefit it will add to your life!