Seriously? Are you journaling yet?
There is nothing quite like automatic or stream of consciousness writing for stilling what I call the mind-swirl, the constant stream of chatter that runs the gamut from shopping lists to self-torture. I heard recently of a lady in her 70s who regularly runs through a mental list of all the mistakes she has ever made. How exhausting. The psychologist doing the Q&A on a podcast prescribed…journaling! He said the best way to stop the rumination was to write it down.
I cannot overstate the freedom that comes from a quiet mind.
I’ve found that journaling placates the inner critic like nothing else. It’s a form of meditation, I guess. Nothing breaks down writers blocks like sitting with pen and letting it run over the paper, leaving all kinds of nonsense behind, and sometimes, a little gem or two. I think all writers should journal.
I am a broken record, I know. I blether (colloquial word from Scotland that means to talk non-stop 😉 )on about journaling at every opportunity because I want everyone to know the healing and inspiration it can bring. I’m not the first to discover the joy of journaling; I originally got the idea from The Artist’s Way and as I’ve said a few times, I wish, wish, wish that I had kept journaling 20 years ago when I first started.
You don’t need fancy journals or prompts, just write what comes to mind. Some people say they would have to burn what they write because they would be afraid what people would think if they read it. That’s because it’s garbage and needs to be purged! That shit is swilling about in your head!
I’m not going to lie, the first few months of journaling can be a little scary. Some of the stuff that poured out of my pen was downright frightening but eventually, the pollution cleared. It remains my go-to when I have to process anything shitty that happens, but for the most part, my journaling is now really uplifting and I often find myself riffing on ideas for creative writing. I have also taken to writing my goals out every day as part of my journaling and it is really helping me to stay on task. There is a lot of evidence out there that writing out your plans for the future helps you achieve them.
I cannot stress enough how important it is. I promise you that if you write three pages a day for a month your life will change. Pinky Promise!
Note that this isn’t really an ecologically friendly exercise…it’s all about the pen and paper…although I could explore the idea of using a tablet! Then I wouldn’t have to burn anything. I could just write, write, write then press delete!