When things seem hopeless, what do you do? Chances are, the answer isn’t “give up and do nothing.” For most people, there is something that brings some solace and happiness on those bad days. It is a daily activity or simply a dream of the future that can add some hope to the hopeless.

There are few things in life that are as self-defeating as homelessness. However, there is always hope. Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho from São Paolo, Brazil was a homeless man who lived on a road median that he called “the island.” Despite his situation, Raimundo believed in himself, and deep down, knew that life meant more than what others thought of him. He believed in his ability to become an aspiring poet, and dedicated his life to publishing a book with his poems. Raimundo wrote every single day and never lost hope. His passion, perseverance and hope finally paid off when a woman in his community realized his potential. She started a Facebook page and posted his poems, which eventually brought him the recognition and funding he needed to get his collection of poems published. Writing every day gave Raimundo a new life.

Raimundo’s story is inspiring, but you don’t have to be an aspiring poet to find comfort in writing every day. Writing, no matter the form, can provide hope and joy on days when darkness abounds, or on days that are particularly enjoyable. Here’s a couple examples on how writing can affect your life:

1. Writing happens during joyful events, like signing a birth or marriage certificate or a birthday card.

Marriage License

2. Writing can also remind us of happy memories. A quick glance through an old diary is a great way to remember a forgotten good day.

3. Writing can also supply a positive outlook on negative experiences. Writing about an event forces you to communicate it fully, rather than focusing on the negative emotions or just the bad parts. Fully recounting and reflecting on an experience can help you remember good elements that you might have forgotten and help you see a bad day in a better light.

4. Turning writing in to a daily habit can also provide stability in a hectic life. On those days when everything is out of control and you’re losing hope because things aren’t going as you planned, you can always remind yourself “at least I wrote today. I accomplished that goal.”

Enlightened Writing

Life is hectic, unpredictable, and can sometimes cause you to lose hope. The next time you feel helpless or hopeless, grab your favorite writing instrument and try expressing yourself in written words. With pen (or pencil or marker) in hand, you'll be embarking on the path to enlightened writing and a more enlightened life.