Writing Feels a Little Like Truth and a Whole Lot Like Magic.


As a young girl, I held the pen, dreaming up worlds, trying to give form to the stories in my head. Wanting to be an author — a writer — and feeling such pride as I clutched my scribbled notes close to my heart.

I was a writer, I would share with anyone who would listen. One of my first self-proclaimed identities. Writing was a way to create worlds and write new ideas into being. I’d secretly imagine my romantic future life and write my own biography in my head while practicing my signature.

As a teen, my writing shifted from the world in my head to the world around me. I felt compelled to document every moment — every high, every low, every injustice, every flirtation.

Buried beneath the exposition were echoes of introspection. Questions of worthiness, of purpose, of identity were hidden throughout the pages if you looked hard enough. But a hello from a crush was the main feature. The important headline that I described in painstaking detail, the story that I wanted to preserve for history.

As a young adult, I lost my connection to the pen for a while. My writing was academic and practical, with no ink left for self-expression. It was a means to an end, an assignment. I wanted to live and experience life, not just write about it. I crammed every moment of my life with fun and friends and fell asleep with no time for my journal.

My mind was full of new information, new experiences, new thoughts — all moving too quickly to write down on paper.

Then one day I picked up the pen again. A pretty journal caught my eye, and it seemed a shame to waste it. I started writing again, and realized I had a new voice. A voice that observed, reflected, and questioned me. A voice that wasn’t just my inner world or just my outer world, but something beyond myself. After so many years away, I was fascinated and delighted with this new development.

I started turning to the page for answers. Usually I just got questions.

This practice has now developed and deepened. Writing feels like my superpower. It allows me to listen more deeply, feel more intensely, and transform reality. When I write, I don’t always know which words are mine and which belong to the Universe. But I love and appreciate them both.

Writing often inspires me, yet sometimes it scares me. But I try to be brave and practice anyway. And when I do, it feels a little like truth and a whole lot like magic.

When I look back at old photos, sometimes I barely recognize myself. Who is that girl? But my writing gives me away. When I look back at old writings, I see my soul on every page. I see the brave, thoughtful girl trying to make sense of the world around her with a pen and a piece of paper. The girl who experiences and lives and questions through writing words on the page.

That’s the girl I’ve been in each phase of my life and the woman I am today.


Louisa Liska (she/her) is a writer, blogger, and arts manager. She is the founder of Imperfect Journaling, a site dedicated to the craft and exploration of journaling for all. Louisa is originally from Boulder, Colorado, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, and is the General Manager of a major regional theater.


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