Who Am I? Writing to Find Myself


  • Kathleen McNichol Athabasca University




Self and Identity, Therapeutic Writing, Developmental Creative Writing, Autoethnography, Expressive Writing


Developmental creative writing and the related areas of expressive writing and therapeutic writing have only recently arisen as significant areas of study; however, although recent research has determined that writing is good for your health, just expressing oneself on the page isn’t enough to promote personal development. In this paper, I set out to answer the question – how is personal development achieved in the context of therapeutic writing? In order to answer this question, I consider many definitions of personal development and writing as outlined by experts in the associated fields of expressive writing, therapeutic writing and developmental creative writing, and I also review concepts of the self as I consider a related question – who am I? Through an in-depth analysis of my own personal writing about my sister’s mental illness, I conclude that writing for the purposes of personal development requires a conscious self-reflexive effort, with the goal of developing a deeper understanding of self, so as to promote positive change in the way that one perceives one’s own life. 

Author Biography

Kathleen McNichol, Athabasca University

Angela Kathleen McNichol is currently a graduate student in Athabasca University’s Master of Arts Integrated Studies degree program. She is majoring in Writing and New Media. She also works full-time as a Director of Marketing Communications in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


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