How Writing Has Helped Me

Written by Neshni Naidoo

Writing has always been a part of my life, from as early as 9 or 10 writing creative stories for school. As a child, I listened fascinated, as my grandmother – a gifted storyteller – narrated stories of her life. I believe that this, together with a voracious appetite for reading, was my inspiration for writing.

In my teens, creative writing shifted to journaling and my diary became my best friend. I poured out tales of my first crush, the mean girls at school, the loss of my dad, and my dreams and hopes for the future. At the time, I didn’t realise how important this was for my mental wellbeing. Journaling that helped me process my emotions in a positive way. There was no-one to judge me. I was able to ‘talk’ about issues that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with anyone else.

After graduating from university and getting married, I didn’t feel the need to journal as much. My focus was outward driven – material pursuits and career development.

1999, was however, a turning point in my life. I had been a member of a Spiritual Organisation for a few years, but that year felt the call for transformation – from outward to inner focused. I started a journey of reflection, healing and growth. Immediately there was an exponential shift in my creativity. I felt as if I was tuned into a Divine Radio Station, receiving words of wisdom and ideas for value-based rhymes and songs. All of this I recorded in my little notebook but was afraid to share – afraid that it was not good enough.

This creative streak continued even after my children were born. I made up stories and songs with a moral or educational value that I would act out and sing to them.

However, I felt adrift and unsure of my place. Motherhood was beautiful but tough. In my research, I came across non-dominant writing therapy. I would write out my question with my right hand (dominant hand), switch over to my left hand (non-dominant hand) and write my response. I was blown away by the insight that I gained during these writing sessions. I understood myself, my motivation and my behaviour much better.

Non-dominant writing therapy is said to help alleviate stress, anxiety, access the voice of your inner child, gain insight into relationships and alleviate pain. (

A close friend recommended writing letters about my challenges and burning them. This was another powerful tool that helped release stuck emotions and create space for healing.

I was called to write and share my experiences but still allowed ego to get in the way. All of that changed in 2011. I gave birth to my 3rd child via C-section. The night before being discharged my gynaecologist realised that something was not right. When I had a scan done the next morning, it revealed that my colon had ruptured. I had surgery and spent three and a half weeks in hospital, hovering in an out of consciousness.

The months that followed were one of the lowest points in my life. I was not able to do much which left time for reflection. Writing once again came to my rescue. I wrote poetry to express that which I could not verbalise. It has been a process, overcoming the fear and feelings of not being ‘good enough’. It took me another 10 years before I felt ready to publish my poetry in book form. As my confidence grows, I share more. The more I share, the more inspiration I receive. I know now that I am living my purpose, which was revealed to me during a meditation,

“Write, write, write
Speak also the world needs to hear your voice
Heal the world
That is your purpose
This is why I saved you”

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