My father gave me a book for Christmas. It wasn’t really a Christmas present. People like to give my father things. In this case, he met the author. “I met this lady who writes books. She gave me that for you,” he said motioning to the book on the coffee table.
I took it with me when I left, but, honestly, didn’t think I’d read it. I do better with reading fiction than anything else, but I couldn’t sleep on the plane and didn’t have any other reading material so I starting reading it.
Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within was written by Janet Conner, who in the beginning of the book describes the horrible end to her marriage and how it affected her. During this period she started writing in her journal daily to get rid of some the the frustration and rage she was feeling. More than just an emotional release, she found that her daily writing helped her find answers she didn’t even know she was seeking. Writing helped her ask herself hard questions about her situation and come up with solutions that she felt didn’t come from her. After explaining her own story, Conner describes how to start your own journaling process.
I journal, but my journaling is rather haphazard. I write once a week sometimes, then I’ll write everyday for a while. Sometimes I go months without writing. I decided to follow Connors advice and write daily for thirty days. My thirty days aren’t up yet, but already I see the benefits of daily writing.
This is a different kind of journaling. It’s not to keep a record of your life or even to organize your thoughts. It’s spilling all the disorder in your head out on a page. In the book, Conner encourages you to write as sloppily as you want and not to worry about complete sentences or grammar. The goal is to get your thoughts onto paper as quickly as possible without stopping to consider them. Cut out the natural critic and just write without censoring yourself.
I’ve only been doing this for two weeks, but I have to say that this daily stream of consciousness writing has already helped me consider solutions to ongoing problems in my life that I might not have considered before. I think it taps into your subconscious mind. It helps you find the answers you already had, but just couldn’t access.
I’ll continue writing and see what happens. I encourage you to check out the book and the Writing Down Your Soul website. It’ll inspire you to start a similar practice of your own.
Photo by bingbing