Out with The Old, In with The New

We huddled over our notebooks in the living room. A companionable silence had fallen among us as we focused on writing our letters. Although it was a cool, rainy night, we were warmed by the fire behind us. As our pens flew over our journal paper, we were anticipating the moment when we would throw our letters into the fire, a release from the anger or grief that had been plaguing us.

Last night, my writing group, Women with Words, gathered together to try a new form of writing. Our theme was Out with The Old, In with The New, so we decided to try a writing exercise called Transactional Writing.

So, what is transactional writing?  And why does it involve a fire?

Basically, it is a way of dealing with bad feelings that we keep clinging to, or situations that we keep replaying in our minds.  Think of it as saying a final goodbye to our emotional baggage, and then sending that emotional baggage on its way, so it’s not weighing us down anymore.

How do we do that?  Well, the idea is that you write a letter to a person or to yourself about the situation to try to have some closure on it.  Or to try and understand the situation from that person’s point of view. After you write a letter to that person or yourself, you can burn the letter to signify the end of your negative feelings or cyclical thinking about the situation.

After each of the women in my writing group burned their letters, I couldn’t help but think what an excellent exercise this would be for stepfamilies. What a great way to clear the air and move on!   So, are you hanging on to anger? Having trouble forgiving and moving on?  Give transactional writing a try today.  If you need some support or motivation to do it, get a group of friends together and write your letters around the fireplace.

You can read more about transactional writing here.

As for the women in my writing group–we all felt a little lighter and a strong sense of relief after we burned our letters. Share your own experiences or pictures of your experiences with transactional writing below!