How to Express Your Feelings on Paper

There are many reasons why people need to express their feelings in writing. They may wish to express gratitude or love to a romantic partner or valued friend. They may have feelings of anger, frustration, or hurt that they want to work out on paper before those feelings come out in negative ways.

Unfortunately, this isn’t something that comes naturally to everybody. Many feel awkward getting their feelings out in the form of writing, even if nobody is going to read it. This is a shame because the act of writing through your feelings is so cathartic and therapeutic.

Whether you are interested in journaling, writing fiction, or simply improving your ability to communicate with others, there are steps you can take to learn to express your feelings on paper. Continue reading to learn more.

Try Free Writing

Free writing is just what it sounds like. You simply start writing with no rules or expectations. You can start by writing random words over and over again, begin a story, whatever you feel like. Many people begin by writing things down that are very random but end by writing things that are very organized and expressive. Others start by writing sentences and paragraphs but end by exploring more raw and primal emotions.

The point of free writing is to simply start writing. Then, don’t stop until time has run out.

Write About Your Experiences in The Third Person With Yourself as The Main Character

Sometimes you can benefit from looking from the outside in. This will give you a unique point of view and perspective that can bring clarity and insight. If you are trying to work through feelings or figure out how you truly feel about something you are going through, consider turning things around and creating a fictional story. Then, make yourself the main character.

Sometimes, it can be easier to describe your feelings, and figure out how to deal with them if you are able to take an objective view. Creating a character and story can be the perfect way to do this.

Commit to Writing on a Regular Basis

Many successful people write every single day. This is because the more you write about your feelings, the better you become at expressing yourself. In fact, take the time to go back and read through your old writing. You may be surprised at how  your writing has evolved.

Write How it Was Then Write How You Wanted it to Be

What do you do if you have a disappointing experience? You can’t change the past, but sometimes you can come to a point of emotional resolution if you can reframe things in writing. Let’s say that you had an interview go poorly. You could write your way through it.

In the first version, simply write about what happened as if you were writing something on an absolutely neutral topic for essay scholarship. Maybe you weren’t prepared, or perhaps your resume wasn’t all that it could be. Then, rewrite things so that you have fixed any mistakes that you made. You cannot change what happened, but this could bring you some peace of mind.

Use Simple Language

The problem with big words is that they tend to obscure true feelings. Sometimes putting things in the simplest terms is really the best way to express yourself. Take a moment to think about the way that children express themselves.

They say that they are happy, sad, mad, hurt, and lonely. They don’t use language to minimize those feelings or to exaggerate them. They also don’t sugar coat them. For example, an adult may say this:

I understand that you have a hectic schedule, but I was bit hurt that you blew off our lunch date one more time. It really put a damper on my afternoon that we weren’t able to spend some time together as planned.

Where a child would say:

We were supposed to eat lunch together, but you lied about showing up. I was sad and lonely when I ate, and I didn’t have anybody to play with this afternoon.

Write Letters

The suggestion that people write letters as a way to express their feelings in writing may seem a bit like armchair psychoanalysis. After all, it’s something we’ve all seen suggested in psychobabble magazine articles and on television shows.

However, if done correctly it really can be effective. The idea is to get your feelings out on paper along with any desires that you have to insult, attack, or blame. Think of a family member who has hurt your feelings deeply. Your letter to them might address their behavior, but it is also your opportunity to get a few things off of your chest. This is wonderful if some of the things eating you aren’t really based in reality or reflect your own biases and occasionally twisted recollections.

You may find that once you have finished writing the letter, many of your worst feelings are gone. This puts you in the position of being able to address the person and truly resolve your issues.


At first glance, some of these suggestions might seem a bit silly. You might feel awkward carrying them out. Give them a try anyway. They really will help you to learn how to express your feelings in writing. That is  a skill that will serve anybody well.