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carrie bradshaw i live here
carrie bradshaw i live here
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Is Writing Key to Self Discovery?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

For me, becoming a writer has forced me to get to know myself in a deeper way. It pushes me to understand who I am and makes me listen to my thoughts rather than ignore them. 

It’s a way to help you get clarity on situations by making peace with narratives you’re trying to heal from. Instead of overanalyzing situations, you’re retelling them and sorting through your emotional schema to help you make sense of an experience.

The thing about writing, whether it be fictitious or not, is that it’s always rooted in some form of reality.

The truth is, no one understands you better than you. But in reality, sometimes we don’t understand ourselves.

Thus, I asked myself, “is writing the key to self-discovery?”

As an avid Sex and the City watcher, I decided to turn to the queen of writing herself, Carrie Bradshaw, in search of answers. Carrie wrote about what she knew best by conveying her expert knowledge on men, sex, and dating in New York City. 

Every episode opens with a strong emotional scene where Carrie ponders a specific question based on her current circumstances, such as, “Do we search for lessons trying to lessen the pain?” or “Would you leap knowing you could still fall?”

Throughout the episode, whenever Carrie experienced some form of clarity, she would sit in front of her computer and write. These columns were centred on fictional characters but based on Carrie’s real-life experiences that embody Carrie’s vulnerabilities, her hardships and her successes.

The more I thought about Carrie as a writer, the more I reflected on my own writing practices. Think about it, writing forces you to sit with yourself. It’s a meditative process that demands a certain quietness, so you can focus on bringing meaning to your experiences. I consider writing to be such an act of self-discovery because I uncover the connection between my thoughts and emotions as a way to combine all my sensory experiences to make sense of my surroundings.

However, I didn’t always see writing this way. I used to view writing as nothing more than a means to an end. For example, as a university student, most of my writing was done to complete perfectly polished academic essays. The last thing I wanted to do was write when I had free time.

The only form of writing I did outside of school was journaling. I never had a strict journaling routine or forced myself to write in my journal every day. Instead, whenever I was reaching a new milestone in my life, such as graduating or a new year, I would take the time to sit back and reflect on my prior experiences. I slowly started to enjoy writing more, and that’s when I realized the true power of a story.

When I changed my perspective on writing, I began to embrace all the adversities writing had to offer. It became a form of self-discovery.

The best writing I do is when I’m alone. When the only sound I can hear is my fingers gently pressing against the keyboard. Word by word, you start to put together a sentence. All those words eventually turn into a story. A story where every word has meaning, every word has power. 

The key is to not just write, but to ask yourself questions. I question everything around me. Oftentimes, my questions go unanswered, but when I sit with myself and my thoughts, I begin to put my questions down on paper, and slowly the answer starts to prevail.

It was the same for Carrie. She never found an immediate answer to the questions that arose. Rather, we see through her voiceovers representing her writing voice, that her thoughts are always trying to make sense of her experiences. Whenever she felt some form of gratification, she would sit back and type away at her laptop trying to piece together a story. But the thing is, writing is like healing. We never reach a final destination. A story never has an end. Like healing, writing isn’t a perfect linear art. It’s a journey to reconstruct ourselves and our narratives over and over again.

As Pat Obuchowski once said, “You have the answer. Just get quiet enough to hear it and when you get quiet, close your eyes, and start writing. The answers you’re looking for will begin to prevail.”

Let’s face it. As a writer, you spend most of your time in a state of wonder. Just like Carrie Bradshaw– every one of her column ideas started with her famous catchphrase, “I couldn’t help but wonder?”

So, if you ask me if writing is key to self-discovery, I would say yes because you’re constantly forced to question the status quo. All the hidden truths surrounding you. As a writer, you’re forced to make sense of your experiences or scenarios. Re-living and re-telling your experiences through writing is one of the best forms of self-discovery I’ve come to know.

📝 Related: “Fangirl” and the Thoughts of a Smaller Fanfic Writer
Victoria Vesovski

Toronto MU '23

After finishing her undergraduate degree at The University of Toronto, Victoria decided to pursue a postgraduate program in Publishing at Toronto Metropolitan University. When she’s not writing, Victoria loves spending her time immersed in the city, creating social media content, and reading in bed with her bunny, Nibbles.