7 Benefits Of Using Writing For Self-Discovery

Writing doesn't have to be a chore.

woman writing on the couch while holding a mug Simona Pilolla/Shutterstock

Why do you write?

People write for many different reasons — communicating, expressing their feelings, recording events, venting, and improving their creative craft. Some people also use writing for self-discovery, and there are many benefits to it.

How can writing help you learn about, explore, and live from your true self?

Surprisingly, many people spend very little time in this activity and some even dismiss the value of it. If you're curious, adventurous, or a seeker who wants more from and for themselves, this may be for you.


RELATED: Why Journaling Is The Best Form Of Self-Care + 10 Writing Prompts To Spark Creativity

First things first, what is self-discovery?

It's defined in a couple of ways. But as a process, it's been described in a myriad of different ways: One for every self-discovering individual it seems.

According to Merriam Webster, "Self-discovery is the act or process of achieving self-knowledge." Similarly, it can be viewed as a process of acquiring insights into one's own character, values, beliefs, and aspirations.

Clearly, self-discovery is an important step to self-actualization and self-fulfillment.


Here are 7 benefits to using writing for self-discovery.

1. It's used as a data bank for memory cues.

People use journals as a way to record what happens in their life. They may refer to the record themselves in order to recall and relive memories from years past.

They also might see their experiences and personal descriptions as valuable information to pass onto their loved ones.

If your keep a journal or are thinking about doing so, the contents will yield excellent data and memory refreshers when you want to look back on a situation and recall what were your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.


Over time, you'll be able to see repetitive or stuck behaviors as well as personal growth and self-transformation.

In this way, you can hold yourself accountable for the pace and extent of your progress toward your goals. And, you can celebrate gradual and stepwise wins that are hard to notice, at the moment.

2. It's a space to vent, release, and reveal.

Writing creates the space to vent and venting contributes to self-discovery in two key ways.

First, it allows you to release stress, getting it all out so you can be more present.

Presence is the state of mind and body associated with clarity, both personal and interpersonal connection, and a well-functioning whole mind. It's a very good state to be in when you assess choices and make decisions.


Second, when kept private, your prose can be candid and uninhibited. In addition, what you allow to unconditionally come from your heart or the gut, which can be cathartic as well as revealing.

Through time, you can learn a lot about yourself, your opinions, and your emotions. This information builds awareness and understanding.

The tone and content of venting through time help you assess your progress in dealing with repetitive issues and desired change.

3. You write to your best confidante: yourself!

You can be your own confidant when you're not quite ready to share or you're not willing or ready to discuss certain topics with others.

This permits you to assess matters alone without social judgment or influence.


Many women don't feel heard or safe sharing their deeper or more intimate views publically, with close friends, family, or even with their spouse. Writing is a great outlet and haven for them.

4. It's a mirror to self-awareness.

When you write, you dedicate time recounting and reflecting on your experiences and relationships, as well as your reactions to them.

The process draws your attention to your patterns, likes, dislikes, weaknesses, aspirations, and more. Perhaps most importantly, you build a deeper relationship with yourself.

5. Writing is a path to self-understanding.

Building a relationship with yourself means you get to know yourself, your identity, and how you are in the world.


In other words, what makes you who you are from your point of view. In addition, you gain insights into why you behaved or felt a certain way in those recorded situations.

This helps you prioritize the things, activities, and people who are important to you. Boundaries are easier to identify, draw, and maintain.

Gaining and maintaining your self-knowledge is a gift to you and to those close to you. When you are less often the source of dysfunction in your relationships, you positively contribute to the quality of those relationships.

This includes the amount of pleasure and fulfillment everyone derives from those interactions.

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6. It's a chance to explore and expand.

When you write, you think things through. You pose questions to yourself and sort out the issues.

When you hold a pencil or pen or sit down at your keyboard, you gain more control over your focus and thinking process to the extent that you want to.

In other words, writing can help focus your thinking more effectively than the wandering thoughts and fragments that can often occupy your mind.

Alternatively, writing stimulates your curiosity. This might take the form of streams of consciousness, tackling tough questions, challenging rigid beliefs, pushing out your boundaries, and seeing things from another's point of view.


The process helps you get curious and draws you out. When you contemplate from an open perspective, you can gain insights and shift more easily.

As a result, you become more creative in making choices and charting your life path.

7. It's a vehicle for expressing your authentic voice.

Writing can help you organize your thoughts and identify the right language and tone to express your unique perspective and ideas.


A review of your composition can reveal the gaps in your logic or the need for greater clarity.

When you write, you learn to communicate, whether written or oral, what you really want to convey when you enlist others to accompany you in your life moving forward.

As you can see, you can benefit from writing for self-discovery.

So, own your own writing process.

Choose what you want to write about, in the way you want to write. There's no right way when you're doing it for yourself and for your benefit.

RELATED: 3 Reasons Why Journaling And Keeping A Diary Is So Important

Patricia Bonnard, Ph.D., ACC is a certified International Coaching Federation (ICF) leadership coach and a certified Martha Beck life coach. For more information, contact her or visit her website.