Is Writing Therapy?

I never assume it is

4 min readJul 6, 2022


Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

“I believe the reason that people cling to their hate and anger so stubbornly is because they’re afraid that once hate is gone, they’ll be forced to face their own pain.” James Baldwin

I don’t do writing groups or workshops. They seem like group therapy sessions to me and I’ve seen new writers handicapped by them, if that is not what they are looking for or expecting. This is partially because I do not think of my writing as therapeutic to me, which may be wildly unrealistic.

But I have a theory.

It used to be really hard for writers to put their stuff out there, even when they really wanted to. This was particularly true of fiction writers and poets. Fine arts programs across the country are cranking out an assembly line of novelists and others who go out and populate the landscape with writing that, unfortunately, often seems like it was assembled by robotic machines designed by academics .

This results in an out of control publishing industry that used to take pride in editing and forming writers, but now simply puts out huge numbers of books hoping one or two will pay for the rest of them.

Even worse, the simplicity of self-publishing on Amazon meant a lot of undisciplined or just plain bad writers could ‘publish’ poorly edited books with a few clicks. Amazon realized that distributing these digital files cost them virtually nothing and they could pick up a few cents from those that sold.

There is no incentive for them to do anything to promote a book. Acceptance of this means marketing and promotion now falls entirely on authors, even in the big publishing houses. And authors promote on the level of bake sales, i.e. by relying on friends and family.

Given all this, it might be useful to consider writing as therapy, since it is unlikely to become a living for most. But I suspect most unknown writers are like most unknown artists. They do it because it satisfies something inside, which is its own reward.

Then there are those of us who want readers. We come in two categories, desperate and pragmatic. Desperate-to-publish writers are thrilled when a tiny publication with virtually no readers who are not writers, accepts their stuff, and then offers…




Mastodon:, Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!