Book Review: “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life” by Diana Raab, PhD

If you have a story you’ve been wanting to tell but don’t know where to begin, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life (Loving Healing Press) is a truly inspirational work. Written by award-winning memoirist and poet Diana Raab, PhD, Writing for Bliss is an accessible and easy-to-understand guide reminding readers that they’re not alone on their path to self-discovery. By offering a wealth of writing prompts, tips, and resources, Raab inspires those in all stages of their writing journeys.

Raab’s passion for writing began more than forty years ago when her mother gave her a journal to help her cope with her grandmother’s suicide. Little did her mom realize that this gesture would serve as a platform for Raab’s life as a writer. Since then, she has chronicled her many life-changing experiences, including the loss of loved ones, raising three children, and her two bouts with cancer. Raab’s love of words and writing and her belief in the power of story shine throughout this book.

Writing for Bliss accentuates the power of storytelling as a tool leading to spiritual, physical, and mental well-being. While it’s important to write down our stories, Raab reminds us that it’s even more important to write about how our experiences made us feel or how they transformed us. The book includes sections on Writing for Change, Preparing to Write, Cultivating Self-Awareness, Speaking Your Truth, Examining Your Life, Finding Your Form, Unleashing with Poetry, Sharing Your Writing, and more.

Raab explains that the writing process helps us not only understand situations and events in our lives, but gives us the tools to put these events into a new and more enlightened perspective. It helps us remove the thorns from our psyches so we can free ourselves from the bondage of our pasts; and realize true inner peace, happiness and, ultimately, bliss.

Writing for Bliss was inspired by Raab’s doctoral dissertation, which studied the healing and transformative powers of memoir writing, and in Writing for Bliss, she shares anecdotes and interviews with esteemed writers who were a part of her research, such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Kim Stafford, and Alexandra Styron.

As Publishers Weekly says, this book targets anyone interested in writing a memoir, and one of the most compelling aspects of the book is Raab’s willingness to share her very intimate and personal stories. Doing so encourages readers to embark on their own creative voyages.

In the Preface Raab says, “Most writers will confess that they write because they have to write, not necessarily because they want to write. They write out of necessity because either it makes them feel better or they want to share their story with the world. I fall into both these categories: writing makes me feel good; when I don’t write, I feel as if something’s missing from my life, plus I also yearn to share my stories with others in the hope that they will resonate in a way that brings healing and a deeper way of knowing and understanding.

Raab shares how she wrote her first memoir, Regina’s Closet to help her accept and understand things about her grandmother, which she never knew before, and how much that empowered her. She said that her intention in creating, Writing for Bliss was to share her passion for writing and how it has helped her heal over the course of six decades. She tells her reader that she hopes the book will help the reader transcend what immediately meets the eye by encouraging them to dig deeper into their psyches, and hearing the voice of their true, authentic self, while listening to the messages of their heart, rather than suppressing them. Her intention was also to share the different ways of reflecting and self-discovery as a way to bring a sense of wholeness and, ultimately, a sense of bliss. She summarizes by saying that she hopes the readers become inspired to write during their joyous and difficult times, while also experimenting with different genres and ways of writing and being.

Writing for Bliss is an invaluable addition to any writer’s bookshelf.

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