The unexpected benefits of pen & paper
This week I’m inspired by journaling
A friend of mine has kept a paper journal and written in it, every day, for the past five years. It’s not so much a “diary” but more, according to him, an examination of his own thought process - entirely for himself.
The way he talks about it is the way that some friends describe their trips to the gym or their meditation practice - with a certain fervor.
I’ve always kept journals - I basically had my journal published last year - but it was always something I’ve looked at as inspiration-based. I write when I feel inspired, or creative.
Yet there’s something alluring about forcing yourself to do it - to commit to pulling thoughts out of your head and onto paper, without fail, daily, like my friend does.
I started doing it since I last wrote to you (honestly forcing it a bit). And after a week I’ve realized that what daily pages give, above all, is space.
No matter what I’m writing - the act of writing creates a distance - breathing room.
The result is an appreciation of the things that are on my mind, a greater understanding of my relationship to them, a clearer window into how they fit into a strategy - or don’t.
It’s a space where the only effort necessary is that it’s written, for no other audience but myself.
And, in this space I’ve started to listen, and write back. And that just wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t force myself to stick with it long enough, past an initial moment of inspiration and comfort. It’s during that “what’s next?” silence that the real stuff comes out, and when you hear something that’s completely new. •