An interview with the Diana Raab, PhD, author of Writing for Bliss

  1. What inspired you, or prompted you, to write this book? 

Writing for Bliss is a culmination of my life’s work. Ever since my mother gave me my first journal when I was ten years old to help me cope with the loss of my grandmother, I’ve used writing as a form of healing, and have tried to inspire others to do the same. In fact, writing for healing and transformation was the focus of my PhD research. What eventually led me to compile this material was that when I was teaching writing workshops, many participants asked me when I was going to write a book. They wanted a reference they could refer to after the workshop. So, I’m excited to have written a book that will be available before, during, and after my workshops.

2. Writing about one’s story can often be intimidating or retraumatize the writer. How does Writing for Bliss help one overcome those fears and move through memories that may have been avoided in the past?

Writing through self-narration is a way to integrate trauma into the story of our lives. It’s also a way to come to terms with those traumas. One of the most amazing and magical aspects of writing for healing is that, once we make the decision to put pen to page, we have no idea what will emerge from the subconscious mind. The writing process can help dissipate overwhelming emotions connected to trauma by providing a safe container for them.

Writing can also serve as a bridge between the past and the present and lead to transformation. It can help reclaim an inner voice after it has been taken away, or been silenced by a difficult circumstance. Finding one’s voice as a way to effect healing can lead to huge leaps in transformation. Sometimes writing a dialogue between oneself and the person who might have caused us pain can bring forth essential information leading to acceptance and forgiveness.

3. For those who have little to no writing experience, how does your book support “novices” through the process and allow them to begin their transformative journey?     

The seven-step program I describe in my book is easy to follow for novices, as well as emerging and seasoned writers.

4. Do you feel it’s important to share your writing with others, either with family/friends, or to a larger audience such as in a blog or on social media? Do you have any guidance for how to share one’s writing?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, as deciding to share one’s writing with loved ones or a larger audience is a very personal decision. It is whatever feels appropriate to the writer. For many writers, sharing stories is rewarding, both from a personal and universal standpoint. On a personal level, writing releases us from our stories and empowers us toward healing and transformation. It also helps us transcend our own experiences. Writing begins the conversation about our past and helps inform our future decisions. From a universal standpoint, sharing our writing helps others navigate their own personal journeys, and encourages a sense of interconnectedness between like-minded individuals.

Deciding what to include and exclude is one of the most difficult parts of personal writing to be shared with a larger audience. It’s normal to wrestle with your inner and outer voices that may simultaneously urge you to stay silent, become defiant, and claim the right to your truths. In the end, though, what you write is your own decision and depends on what you’re comfortable with.

If you want to share your writing, you can begin by writing editorials or letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines. You might also consider being a guest blogger on an established blog or begin one of your own. There are also many writing resources available online, such as Writer’s Digest.

5. What inspires your work?

I’m inspired by many things, but mostly by living a productive and active life. Through reading, conversation, and my own travels, I am privy to other people’s true stories. Keeping a journal to jot down tidbits of information is also excellent source material for my writing. And, I often refer back to old journals for musings that might inspire the beginning of a poem, essay, or story.


Diana Raab, MFA, PhD is an award-winning author, speaker, educator and survivor. She’s the author of 9 books. Her newest book is Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life  and is available on Amazon.

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