Cathartic Writing: Why I Keep My Blog Brutally Honest

cathartic writing

As a blogger it leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy when someone leaves a positive comment on a post I’ve spent hours toiling over. Even more so if they finish with those three magic words: thanks for sharing. Especially when I’ve spilled my guts and it’s been a cathartic writing piece. 

I had a very dysfunctional upbringing and self-destructive young adulthood. At points in my life any future I had looked as though it would be bleak at best. When you dance with the devil the way I was doing you start viewing yourself as worthless and the people around you as foolish for wanting to have anything to do with you. I had to go through two mental breakdowns before finally hitting rock bottom, which is when I woke up to my addictions and demons and started turning my life around for good.

Realising a dream by writing and publishing a book

I recently published Become the Best You, which is part memoir part self-help. In it I speak about the abuse and bullying I suffered as a child, about having to grow up much faster than kids should have to, about the distinct lack of role models I had. I talk about leaving home at 15 and fending for myself, and how all this led to me drinking and partying away my teens and early twenties.

I created Mummy Tries almost two years ago during a distinctly low phase I was going through. Truth be told I needed therapy but couldn’t afford counselling at the time. The first post I published was my life in three hundred words, and was so well received that it spurred me on to continue. Cathartic writing helps me make peace with my situations (past and present), which means not feeling so sentimental or upset about them. 

being judged

It’s more than just catharsis though

Every time I share experiences from my past I create the opportunity to help others. For them to relate to what I’ve been through and know they are not alone. For them to see that if they are where I have been, then there is hope. I like to think that I inspire others to free themselves from the toxic people in their lives and break the cycles of dysfunction holding them back.

As well as blogging about my past, I also write openly and honestly about my children. We’ve had a lot of sleep and behaviour problems with our eldest and although my hubby and I are always looking for ways we can improve our family’s life, quite frankly I got sick of pretending everything was okay. By sharing the not so desirable bits it lets other mums know that it’s alright to say that they don’t enjoy every single aspect of motherhood 24/7. It’s not about being negative, far from it.

In addition to all this I write about our diet of natural food, and how I believe it’s saving us from an array of physical and mental health problems. The GAPS diet is pretty much unheard of here in the UK, and I’m thrilled to know that my GAPS Blog has been the catalyst for many people taking a look at their own diets and making necessary changes for the better.

thoughts come and go

Why do you write?

I’ve been asked several times recently why I blog. Why I put my life on the internet and allow anyone and everyone to know my business. The answer is simple: I believe that it is up to each of us to make the world a better place for our children. We live in an exciting era where anything is possible, with a wealth of information at our fingertips. To make change happen we must empower ourselves with the knowledge available to us. I dread to think what it would be like without people sharing as openly as we are used to these days.

Knowing that my book and blog posts have sparked off change in so many people is a truly incredible thing. That is why I write, and it’s why I will continue to share my life.

Warts and all.

If you enjoyed this piece on cathartic writing, you might enjoy these articles 

How to create writing time amid raising a young family 

Genuinely helpful books which will change your life 

On Authenticity: How to be authentic in a shallow world 


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98 thoughts on “Cathartic Writing: Why I Keep My Blog Brutally Honest

  1. Lovely post – Mummy writes to record my life, and share it, and she just started a second blog just for her! She loves blogging, my blog just turned 1 year old! X

  2. Thanks so much Sara, that really does mean a lot to me. The family I grew up in was very open and although not very appropriate, there was little thought for the potential to offend others… I like to think I have become much more diplomatic over the years, and more considerate towards the feelings of others, but I’m still more open and honest than lots of folk are comfortable with in real life. This is why blogging is great for me, if they don’t like it they don’t have to read it, but if they choose to then they will learn about the ‘real me’…

  3. It’s funny Zena because I was thinking about diaries the other day, and realised that I kept a diary from a very young age. All the way through being a teen, then travel journals in my twenties… I guess blogging is an extension of this…

  4. I’m the same Aimee, I’ve been totally and utterly bitten by the writing bug, couldn’t stop now even if I wanted to!!

  5. Different people struggle with different things, which is where blogging is so useful as you’ll always be striking a chord with someone…

  6. Thank you so much Jenny, you kind words really do mean a lot! I’m just pleased that my story is helping others to get through similar hard times…

  7. Haha sounds like a great reason to start blogging lovely! I’ve decided that writing is good for my soul, I get super grumpy if I don’t manage to for whatever reason. Really pleased to have found your blog xx

  8. Venting is good Susanne, doesn’t do anyone favours to bottle it all up. I’m sure your writing has touched many people that have been through or are going through a similar journey xxx

  9. I think we’ve come a long way from how things used to be in our parents generation, but still have a fair old way to go yet…

  10. Damn Pintrest and depiction of perfection 😉 good job us bloggers are here setting the record straight xx

  11. Thanks so much Laura. Life really is far from perfect, but sharing the challenges and knowing i’m not alone makes it easierxx

  12. I was lucky enough to have an amazing counsellor when I most needed one back in 2002, just don’t know if I’d have been so fortunate second time around and didn’t have the £££’s to experiment! I’m so glad I found blogging instead 🙂

  13. I think us bloggers have saved a small fortune in counselling bills! I know I’ve said it before, but I really am chuffed that Become the Best You has helped you work through some of your issues. Thanks for the fab feedback, and keep up the good work lovely xx

  14. It certainly does give us all a voice Iona, and when you think of where we were just a few decades ago, that has to be an incredible thing xx

  15. I would wager a bet that the more fairytale like the story appears to be, the more chaos is going on behind the scenes. The biggest fanciest weddings always end in divorce… just saying 😉

  16. I was truly touched by your kind words when I read them the other day Tim, thank you so much. I think it’s important for people like me to be open, to say hey it’s okay to have a shady past as long as it’s 100% behind you and you’ve turned it all around. Don’t be ashamed of it, be proud that you survived it and are here telling the tale!

  17. I’m glad that your blog has brought you closer to people Sian. I find it astounding that people don’t just ask sometimes, and would rather make assumptions which then leads to bad feelings… we need to stop being so bloody British don’t we 😉 xx

  18. There really is nothing else like pressing the publish button Sam! I can’t imagine not writing now, I’ve been well and truly bitten by the bug. Feels a bit like travelling in my twenties xx

  19. Thank you Tony for the inspiration, seriously your post stirred something up in me and the words just few out of my hands (love it when that happens). Really hope that your wife is feeling better soon!

  20. Thanks Chrissie! Funnily enough even though I share lots, and write openly, I don’t shared everything. There is much reserved just for me and my little family. Some things are sacred right xx

  21. That’s a really interesting way of looking at it Carol. My goodness could you imagine a world without writers? Doesn’t bare thinking about!

  22. Thanks so much Sarah! Yours was one of the first parent blogs I started reading, and felt an instant affinity with. Hope to meet you at Brit Mums in June 🙂

  23. Thanks so much for popping by Lucy, really pleased you enjoyed the post. Please tweet me the link if you write one of you own…

  24. Thanks so much for your lovely comment Vicki, and for the Orwell recommendation which I definitely will read.

    Your blog is a huge inspiration to me and many other bloggers. What you’ve achieved feels like the ultimate holy grail, and is certainly the path I aspire to. I’m so pleased for your success, and even more so now I know the full story behind it! Can’t wait to hear more about your show. Keep doing what you do hon, you’re pretty fab at it xx

  25. I absolutely love your blogs Kate! They gave me the impetus I needed to ensure we had the full array of tests done for my 5yo. They’re a wealth of useful information and I know that they help lots of worried parents. Thank you for sharing…

  26. Brilliant post Renee – and absolutely spot on. I Blog for similar reasons and am always reluctant to feel I HAVE to Blog – I prefer to wait until a post *needs* to be written IYSWIM?! Blogging in its most honest, unprompted form is a great platform for support, information and a great way of opening doors to people, if only to say “Hi, yes I understand. I’ve been there… and you’re not alone.”

  27. You’re an inspirational writer, and your book is so honest, raw at times but it makes the reader keep going. It will have helped so many in the same situation…those who don’t know what to do. I hope your book continues to go from strength to strength x

  28. Beautiful post which reminded me of the famous essay available in a tiny book, ‘Why I Write’ by George Orwell, a classic-you must read it if you haven’t already. I’ve loved reading and following your journey Renee, well done on everything on having the strength to change your life and touch so many through your work. You’ve achieved so, so much.

    I started Honest Mum lost and lonely really, far from family and friends, after a traumatic birth I was still suffering with when O was 10 months old.

    We’d moved from London to Bristol and I really needed to be back in Leeds near my folks (2 months later we did actually move).

    I went from being on TV and film sets as a director leading literally hundreds to just baby and I, shocked and torn from the crash section and unlike any other time in life, in need of a goal or focus-a purpose aside from being a mum.

    I missed using my brain and creativity. A great filmmaker friend literally called me daily to tell me to pen the stories on new motherhood I’d talk to her about until I gave in, The response was incredible. Friends and family were my first readers then I was a finalist at the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging awards after 4 weeks of starting the blog.

    Honest Mum had helped me rediscover my voice and confidence-2 months later, I got back on set directing fashion commercials and then got a development deal for a TV project firstly with BBC Comedy then with DLT whom it’s still with.

    I decided to make blogging my career when my second baby was about 6 months old, while developing the TV pilot.

    I couldn’t love my job more.

    More than anything, blogging has given me friendship and a community that when I started understood me, and whom still does now. It’s just wonderful the avenues that can open up from just starting something new…

    This is about as long as George Orwell’s essay 😉

  29. I’m new to blogging so this is the first time I’ve come across your blog. I’m also a real self help fan having “helped myself” through some very challenging times. I may have to take a look at your book! I think ‘why I write’ would be a brilliant challenge for every blogger to draft. It really opens up your deepest thoughts, what drives you, and is something that is often hard to articulate well, if you don’t write it down! Hence why write!

  30. Fantastic post. What better reason is there to write? It’s amazing what you have done firstly in changing your life for the better and then in supporting others and helping them change theirs.
    I write because I love it! But, like you, I’m honest about the stuff which isn’t so great – the bedtimes that last forever, the arguments, the fussiness at the table – because it helps to normalise these things. If we are all honest about the downsides of parenting it helps all of us feel that we are normal!

  31. Well now Renee, deep comment alert!… Whilst at college many moons ago, I wrote a dissertation on The Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (there is probably nothing I don’t know about Andrew Davis’ adaptation… a story for another day.) Back to the point – I studied and discussed with interest, the Age of Enlightenment whereby with books came knowledge (albeit perhaps manipulated propaganda at times, but knowledge all the same). Without writers, people are literally left in the dark, wondering if it’s ‘just them’. They’re made to feel normal, because they are! I think it’s wonderful that you’ve shared so much of your life to ‘awaken’ and help so many others. This is what it’s all about 🙂 And thank you so much for linking up to #WonderfulWorldofWriting

  32. Your book is such an achievement! I write because it’s cathratic too, although I’ve done the sharing everything phase and have pulled it back somewhat. I still use the poetry and flash fiction to express things it’s perhaps not savoury for me to say outright though.
    Keep doing the thing you’re doing xx

  33. You are amazing and have done so well. I am sorry to hear you have had it tough in the past but just shows you how amazing you are and how strong you are because you have pulled yourself away from all that and accomplished amazing things. So proud of you and happy for you hunny. You are inspiring others its a great feeling. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

  34. Its so amazing what a release writing can be, so pleased you find it helpful & positive. Oh, also amazing that you write about GAPS because I have just been looking into this for my eczema, I look forward to reading what you have to say x

  35. What a fab post. I haven’t read your backlog of posts but I totally intend to. I completely agree that we are in an era where we can do so much good. I in no way have the background you do and cannot compare at all but what I can share is my knowledge of being a working mum, how hard it is and if that helps other working mums then that’s great! If someone sees my stories about toddler tantrums or sleep deprivation and it helps them, amazing! Looking forward to reading your back posts! I also love getting comments on my posts! So rewarding 🙂 #sharewithme

  36. Well you know how I feel about your writing and what you’ve shared through it. You are amazing sweetie and being honest and without going into too much detail, you’ve helped me face up to a few things from my past which have spilled over into my present and face them, accept them and get my head around them. Thank you x #sharewithme

  37. Oh I love this post!!!

    I started writing to channel my mind, then I got a bit addicted to making people laugh, and now I just realised it’s what makes me happy. If I don’t write, I don’t sleep!

    Keep writing, I love it.

  38. I couldn’t agree more with you. We can all have a voice and share our experiences and hope they help, support or inspire other people. It gives the writing purpose. I think it works better for me than a diary. I always struggled to keep one of those #sharewithme

  39. I started to write to have a diary of our time here, but it has become so much more than that, and now a lot of what I write is purely for me! I would love to be as honest/open as you, but so many of my (and my husbands!) family read my blog that it’s difficult sometimes, I have to be mindful of them. I admire you a lot for your unflinching honesty, it is a brave thing to do, but also so incredibly helpful to others. #thetruthabout

  40. I originally started blogging as a means of networking, as I was starting up a new, separate website. However, I’ve always loved writing, and soon became a little addicted to writing posts about stuff that I would otherwise just chew my husband’s ear off about. It is a way for me to constructively ‘discuss’ topics that occur to me, be it serious or comedy. I love to write and I’ve discovered that I also love social media, networking and Twitter! I’ve made some amazing new friends via blogging and some incredible opportunities have come my way as a result.

    It sounds as though blogging has been life-changing for you, and in such a positive way. The world of parent-blogging feels like a really safe and constructive place for parents to share ideas and network. Although I feel like my blog is a bit broader than parenting (when I say broader, I mean bizarre and at times peculiar), I love connecting with other parent bloggers and have found a lot of them through a small selection of the fantastic linkies which are out there.

    Keep at it – you’re doing great! xx

  41. I write mainly to vent. To let go of the emotions and rollercoaster that is parenting. It started as a way to release emotions and work through the trauma of my son’s birth and I have since blogged another 2 pregnancies and births. Today I write so that I can have a voice, so that I can raise awareness of the issues that affect my life and so that, ultimately, when I am old and my children have grown, I can read back on our lives x x x

  42. You know this already, but I think you are truly amazing and wonderful and what you do on your blog is fabulous! There are so few people who actually tell it how it is…and you are one of those. I love you for it!

  43. Fab post lovely and I feel the same as you – blogging is so cathartic but also I hope that in some way sharing my experiences I can help others going through something similar, in the same way other blogs which are honest and open help me feel better when we are having a tough time. xx

  44. Congratulations on y our book! I totally agree, by being more open about things we can deal much easier with ridiculous taboos and make the world a better place for our children.

  45. Fantastic post! Congrats on publishing your book! I write for a release mostly! So others with autistic children can read and perhaps not feel so alone. It’s tough at home sometimes. I LOVE writing and am just gutted I didn’t start sooner!

  46. Wonderful…I blog to share and I read blogs to know I’m not alone. I think writing is a form of therapy…getting your thoughts out there, “verbalising” them without actually having to talk about them. Congrats on the book x #sharewithme

  47. Hey lovely!
    Wonderful post. I think it’s good to take a bit of reflection on why you write, especially something like a blog which can be so personal and of course public!
    I totally agree that it’s ok, in fact great, to share the less than perfect side of our family lives too… definitely helps others know that there is no such thing as a perfect family (despite the best efforts of Pinterest!!) xx

  48. Do you know what, I bloody love your blog. It’s quite possibly one of the most honest and well written I’ve come across. Don’t ever stop 🙂 Oh, and thanks for sharing 😉 xx

  49. This is such a wonderfully honest post. You’ve been through so much in your life, and I admire the forthright way you write about your past. Writing about day-to-day struggles so openly makes your readers feel less alone in their struggles.

  50. Very inspiring.
    For me personally, I love to read honest and open blogs. We live in a world where you can really get sucked into this ‘perfect’ image…when life is far from that. Life is about the highs and the lows and the journey we each take. x

  51. Blogging is cheaper, and probably better!, than therapy. It’s good to hear how much your blogging has helped you along the way – and help others too. I had a mummy blog in my early parenting days and it helped save my sanity I swear – that and sharing the journey with others too. Now you have your writing too and I think it’s an incredible way to turn negative experiences into positive, helpful ones. Someone who went through your experiences so easily could have taken a bad route.

  52. Totally agree about the importance of information sharing. I think in our ‘real life’ worlds the information/experiences we have can be somewhat limited, and it’s amazing to have access to a far wider field of knowledge online. Blogs and forums were invaluable to me when Arthur was born and I had this niggling feeling I didn’t want to do things the way everyone was telling me to. Through them I discovered attachment parenting and have never looked back! I hope there are people out there who find my words just as useful and inspiring. I know I am one of many people who are inspired by yours! Xx

  53. I love this! I write because I can’t bring myself not to, it is cathartic, but like you, I also believe that our individual stories can help others. Knowing we’re all in this together is the most inspiring thing of all.


  54. Fab post Renee. It’s lovely to hear someone be so passionate about writing. You’re a brilliant writer and deserve the praise. xx Thanks for sharing. 😉 (I really mean it!)

  55. This is really interesting Renee. I think we all have a story to tell and my way of sharing it is via a blog. As you say, I think it empowers other people to feel that they can achieve something and most importantly, that they are not alone. I want people to feel an affinity with my words and me, to know that I’m not perfect either, but we are all just striving to do our best. I think you’ve done a wonderful thing by writing a book about your experiences, I’ve no doubt that it will help many, many people. Thank you for sharing! x

  56. I love reading what you write and the way you share your story and your parenting experiences in such an open and honest way. Yes, I agree that writing honestly can be very cathartic (and is cheaper than therapy!) but it also has so much power to help others particularly when it comes to realising that we are not alone in the things we struggle with although it can very much feel that way sometimes. Thank you for sharing all your experiences so openly – you’ve certainly helped inspire me to be more positive in my approach to life and I often remind myself these days that my power to change things lies in my hands and mine alone – which is something that I really took away from your book x

  57. Catharsis is such an excellent word and fits with some of my reasons for blogging and writing too. And yes, it definitely helps to know that there are other’s out there who are willing to share experiences and support each other when things are tricky. Life can be a complicated business sometimes can’t it. Blogging gives us all a voice xx

  58. I followed your linky tweet and got here and couldn’t leave. I had to check out your first post and I’m impressed. I can relate and I like how you phrase things.

    Looking forward to reading more.

  59. I think what you’ve achieved through your writing is amazing – you have an inspirational story so it’s great that you’ve shared it. I think the ‘warts and all’ approach is great for making you – as an author of #btby – approachable, relatable and real which is a much more powerful message than if you were pretending to live some perfect life in a beautiful castle somewhere! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting and Thanks for sharing 🙂

  60. It’s always interesting and a privilege to read your thoughts, Renee. It’s brave to be as unflinchingly honest as you are but it’s important that people like you are out there, to remind us all that real life isn’t perfect and carefully filtered. It is what it is, and we learn a lot more about each other (and ourselves) in how we deal with the bad moments than how we do with the good ones. As ever, thanks for sharing. 🙂

  61. I think we all go through those phases where we find blogging a bit too much and start to wonder why we do it, but you know that you would miss it. I think you are right about the positive comments and it’s nice to share experiences. The blogging community is a very positive place and it’s good to be a part of it.

  62. And I love reading what you write. Personally, you’re pretty inspirational. Three kids, a wife, in a job and an author and blogger. That’s something to be very proud of and this is just the start! xxx

  63. I get asked that question a lot and I usually shrug and say – because I like it! Next time I shall attempt to be as eloquent as you.

    Some people have mentioned they’ve learnt more about me from my blog than they have in the last 10+ years knowing, especially about my dad and why we don’t talk. Thing is, they could have asked me about him and I would tell them, but it seems to be a taboo to pry in person doesn’t it?


  64. It’s funny how difficult some people find it to understand the urge to blog and why we do it and what we get out of it. It’s really hard to explain what it is like and how compelling it becomes. I do think that this is still a relatively new phenomenon though. Personally I always used to want to work as a journalist – I had this dream about being a features editor and writing for a living. In a way writing your own blog is even better than being paid to work on any given publication because you have absolute editorial control and can get your views and work aired without having to be edited and vetted and judged by people who think they know better than you about what makes great copy. It doesn’t even matter if only a handful of people read it because it is just satisfying to know you’ve got a forum to share and pushing the publish button is a wonderful feeling! X

  65. When I’ve got more time I’m going to go back and read your first post, and I can see now how and why you’ve written your book. I’ve bought a copy and hopefully it will be delivered by Amazon tomorrow. It is scary putting your life out there, my in laws (both parent and grandparent) like my Facebook page and are undoubtedly reading my posts, which fills me with dread, but so far I’ve received nothing put positive feedback from them, as well as the rest of the blogging community. Thank you so much for linking up to my post, both yours and Andy’s comments on it and for sharing it. I’m hoping that in time my wife and I will breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy our care free lives, free from these mental blocks. Thanks for sharing.

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