Help Yourself: Write During COVID-19
I saw an article a few days ago by Ethan Colbert in the Hannibal (MO) Courier-Post that I wanted to share because it describes why people should consider writing during the COVID-19 crisis.
He states that journaling is being strongly encouraged by State Historical Society of Missouri officials and local historians:
'Megan Boccardi, a history professor at Quincy University, said there will be the stories that appeared in newspapers, magazines and on television, but people years from now “won't necessarily find out how everyday people lived through this period of time unless those same everyday people write it down in journals. Through the pages of journals we, as historians, are able to hear the voices of everyday people.”
The hope is to collect material covering a wide range of experiences and observations such as:
- Living in self-isolation
- Working essential jobs
- Working from home
- The experience of losing a job because of the pandemic
- How families cope with the closing of schools, parks and churches
'Your personal story, journal, poetry, artwork, photos and video will allow future historians, students and other researchers to better understand this historic moment' says Laura Jolley, assistant director of manuscripts at the Columbia Research Center.
State Historical Society of Missouri Oral Historian Sean Rost agreed, saying the “people think their ordinary lives are historically irrelevant, but that couldn't be further from the truth.”
“People assume that everyday thoughts and opinions don't carry weight, but they do. Even the most mundane things like the daily weather report, the actions of your immediate family members are going to be very relevant for historians,” said Rost, who is keeping a journal of his family's experiences living through the pandemic.
Culver-Stockton College Psychology Professor Kelli Stiles said that writing about experiences during the pandemic can be beneficial even for those who have no intention of submitting their journals to historical societies.
She said the practice of writing in a journal can help people cope with many stressors. Stiles encourages anyone feeling overwhelmed and contemplating harming themselves to call the National Suicide Hotline, 1-800-273-8255.
“There will be times when the words pour out of us, but there are other times when the words may be bottled up inside of us,” Stiles said. “Don't think you have to write great thoughts, have beautiful prose and some great concept. Write about moments when you struggle and moments when you feel like you've excelled.”
For children, “Sometimes words simply fail us, where drawing pictures doesn't. Encourage children to draw pictures and then talk about the picture,” Stiles said. “Then, whether it is by picture or by words, journaling is where we put our own private thoughts. Respect the privacy of others. You can talk with your children about your shared experiences without invading their privacy.”
- - - I could not agree more, because we have seen the same thing with life stories and life story writers.
Life story writing is a journey of healing, self-discovery, and transformation.
The writing process and result (the memoir book) benefits the writer, their family/friends and our society.
We've seen that over and over - and especially when we used to help people to write their life story by hand.
Which is why we decided to create a writing app that makes life story memoir (or journal) writing easy, affordable, and available to everyone! :)
Try it out for free here:
Great article, Ethan. Here is a link to that:
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