Just as in teaching, we often must activate long dormant information when the need arises to convey that knowledge to someone else. That original information which brought us to our current state of knowledge is unpacked, dusted off and viewed in a new light, sometimes surprisingly admirable and worthy of a new look and a new devotion.
We write from our own experiences certainly-- not necessarily autobiographically, but from our response to the rest of the world. Whether it is a physical memory, an intellectual appreciation of someone else's thoughts, or a spiritual revelation, it has been filtered through our vision of the world and therefore it becomes uniquely ours.
My new novel is my story, even though it is entirely fiction, as it expresses many of my own beliefs and desires that become part of the journey of my characters. Even characters with whom I have little in common reflect my beliefs in one way or another because they are my creation and whether admirable or abominable, positive or negative, they are inevitably mine or else how could I write about them.
Consequently, the story or stories we write are revelations even to ourselves. And sometimes it's difficult to recognize all those ideas as they flow from our minds, even though they partly represent who we are, recently re-examined, re-lived, re-acknowledged. They are not the artificial replications of an idea or a belief, but uniquely us in modified personna.
I always wondered what people meant when they said "write from the heart," or "be honest in your writing;" or, "don't fake it." When one is writing fiction at an early age, that can be difficult to understand. After all, fiction is fiction, right? It's stuff we make up. But it isn't. The idea, of course, is not to bring to the page a rendition of your idea without believing in it --even when it is supposed to be "make believe."
Why is journal writing so effective in clearing the mind? Because in journal writing, we allow the words to flow from the pen without criticism, or self imposed censorship. They pour directly from our sub conscious belief system without that internal editor standing over our shoulder admonishing and censoring. We allow the absolute truth to flow from our minds and when we re-read those words, we gradually come to understand ourselves. It's a great way to get acquainted.