Could a Daily Writing Practice Change Your Life?
Adding a new item to your ever-growing to-do list may seem daunting. After all, you already have a million things to do every day—laundry, dinner, meet with friends, finish a project, and on and on. Sound familiar? But it’s when life gets overwhelming that adding one more task—a simple daily writing practice—may be the best thing you can do for yourself and your sanity.
Putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is something that anyone can do, and it takes very little time or resources. All you need is a few spare minutes and a computer, journal, or even a few pieces of scrap paper and a pen. Julia Cameron, author of The Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, believes that writing what she calls “Morning Pages” every day will help spark creativity and can assist the writer in making discoveries about themselves and their lives that they may not otherwise make. Cameron recommends writing first thing in the morning and explains that the exercise is “meant to provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page.”
“Morning Pages” are a great way to get yourself writing, but the goal is to find what works best for you! Maybe you want to pick a theme to write on each day, or write for 10 minutes non-stop, or write some reflective notes at the end of the day. It’s your choice. Beginning this practice may seem challenging at first, but, like all habits, will eventually become second nature and an important part of your day.
Not quite sure this practice is for you? Here are 5 more great reasons to start a daily writing practice today:
1) Gain clarity.
If you feel that you're wandering aimlessly through your life, writing your goals can help you to create a clear map of where you’re headed. Keep in mind that it may take time to see be completely confident in your direction and ambitions, but it's never too late to start. Plus, the journey itself can be really fun!
2) Remove stress from your body.
Have you ever noticed that you wake up calm but within a few minutes everything on your list is flooding back into your brain? Next thing you know, your body becomes incredibly tense and you can't get anything done because there is just too much to do. I can honestly say I’ve been there! By writing first thing in the morning, you let those racing thoughts spill right out onto the page instead of staying in your brain. After you've written it all down, you will likely feel more at ease and can let certain thoughts and feelings go before you try to face them head on.
3) Get Organized!
Creating a list of daily to-dos will help ease anxiety and bring to the surface the tasks that are actually most important in your day. You may stray from your list, but your productivity will be higher when you know what needs to get done. You may also find that as you write, old tasks that had been forgotten resurface and call for your attention. No need to let them overwhelm you—just jot them down and move on. If certain tasks continuously pop-up, you’ll begin to recognize patterns and can delve deeper into them.
4) Detox from electronics.
I don't know about you, but by the end of the day I often feel like I have an electronic hangover! So much nonstop time on social media, news sites, emails, computers, and smartphones leaves my head feeling completely muddy and full. Although writing on your computer is a great tree-saving option for the environment, I suggest getting one pretty notebook and devoting it to your daily writing practice. This guarantees that you won't be tempted to switch over to your email or Facebook tab to see what's going on with your friends! Take this time to be more present in the current moment and let your body take an electronic detox for a few glorious moments.
5) Re-connect with your creative self.
Can you remember a time when you were open and quick to create with no concern for the outcome or what others might think? Unfortunately, with age we lose some of that spontaneity and creativity. To get back to this place, let your thoughts just slip out onto the page without judgment or edits. This may help you rediscover a long lost artistic passion or unearth the desire to play a new sport. You never know!
These are just a few of the benefits of developing a daily writing practice. Remember not to be too hard on yourself if you have trouble writing at first. Like any habit, this one will take time to develop but can have a profound impact on your mood, stress level, and overall health.
If you’ve experienced other positive outcomes from daily writing, share them with usin the comments below, we'd love to hear!