I never considered myself a writer.
It is a title I feel is earned by those with a published book or a Pulitzer Prize. But my tune has been changing over the past six months.
My history as a writer started as most girls growing up – journaling.
I started in fourth grade on a blue Mead wired notebook as part of my English class. (I hope that teachers still do this with their students!)
My first entries were a couple of sentences of what happened that day and quickly morphed into a summary paragraph, and then when I started journaling at home after fourth grade, they turned into descriptive tell-all’s of what happened that day with my crush or what caused me to be happy/sad/mad.
My journal was my best friend, God, the Universe, a magic genie and past, present and future myself all rolled into one. She was the ultimate secret keeper and totally non-judgemental despite all of the utterly embarrassing things I shared with her. I remember in fifth or sixth grade, my male cousins got a hold of my journal; I definitely caused some physical harm in getting them to give it back to me.
My journaling practice slowed down dramatically since my middle school days.
In high school, extracurricular’s took over my life. I also found that I had friends I could share my thoughts with but I remained guarded. My deepest thoughts continued to go into my journal, still a Mead notebook but of a different color.
Journaling came to a complete halt in college when writing solely took the form of literary analysis papers, strategy case studies and business plans. The exception was in summers when I returned home and fell into old habits. It was in college that I found I was actually really good at written analysis and found techniques that worked for me in creating some stellar papers. Let’s just it was a game changer when I started using Excel to take notes for my arts and humanity papers.
After college, I became wrapped up in working and never made the time to return to journaling. In re-reading my journals this past winter, I saw that my last entry in my journal at home and the only one for over a year was the morning that I found out my dad had passed away. My trusty journal was there for me to help process what had just happened.
I wish I could say that since then I returned back to journaling as fervently as I did when I was a child but it just has not happened.
Since my father’s death and moving to Boston, writing has been focused around blog posts on healthy living, summaries of research and classes on marketing and entrepreneurship and business planning. A positive habit I have created is carrying a notebook around with me almost everywhere I go so I can jot down notes from inspirational conversations, passing thoughts and brainstorming during my limited free moments. What I realized this past fall was that I was lacking an emotional outlet as a new mom and as a person in general and that writing is the perfect vehicle to relieve those emotions.
One of the biggest triggers for this was reading a close friend’s writing for her writing class. It inspired me and showed me that writing could be deep and truly authentic. She is one of those people who has to write. And since meeting her, I’ve come to realize that being a writer does not mean you have a published work. It just means you write.
Since the fall, I have returned to journaling.
I am by no means regular about it – that is just not my style. Instead, I write whenever inspiration hits, and it has hit me often since I have decided to purposefully write. And to write deeply and authentically. And with many of those thoughts, I created Lisa for Real.
Writing has been my unexpected savior.
If you told my fourth grade self that journaling would change my life, I would have probably given you a noogie, a really hard one. But it really has. I feel my voice strengthening each time I write, and my head becoming less cloudy. I can feel my self become more happy, purposeful and grounded as who I am becomes clearer.
I don’t think that everyone needs to write. But I do think that everyone needs that release of emotions and everyone deserves the benefits that the release gives.
Writing does not have to be done in a certain way to be beneficial.
It is just like meditation in that sense (and many other senses). But the thing is you gotta get it done. Your thoughts are better on paper than in your head.Your thoughts are better on paper than in your head. #justwrite Click To Tweet
My journaling has taken on a new form.
I have been asked often how I find time to write between my job, being a mother and my side projects. I have found what has worked for me and I thought I would share. So here goes.
- First, make the intention to write for enjoyment. Don’t write because you have to. I couldn’t imagine a worser punishment. I get that if you write for a living, you are in a different boat. But if you are starting out and using writing to process your thoughts or get out of a rut, you’ve gotta write for enjoyment. This means that you need to figure out how to incorporate enjoyment in the following points.
- Next, understand your why. My why is multi-faceted but one big thing is that I have been disappointed many times when I am hit by inspiration and then forget what I was thinking at the time. I love feeling inspired and expanding on those moments by writing through them is really a gift.
- Then create a plan of when. For some people, a regimented strategy works best. For me, I like to do it whenever inspiration hits and allowing that to guide me when to write.
- Lastly is how. I still carry a notebook with me for note taking and such but my phone has become my new journal. In this grand age of technology and in this time of life as a mother, my trick is downloading the Google Documents application for my iPhone and then I can type away whenever I want whether on my phone or computer. This makes it a no brainer for me to write whenever inspiration hits because I always have my phone.
If you have been contemplating on writing, I absolutely cannot encourage you enough to start now – whatever your intentions may be.
By taking my four steps, I have evolved into a writer of sorts. I still can’t bring myself to fully claim the title 🙂 While I continue my journey to owning that title, I look forward to continuing to share with you here.
I’d love to know – did you journal as a child? Have you continued or started/stopped like me? Any thoughts on writing?