In short, I itched to do anything but write in my journal. I’ve been lax about journaling lately. It’s so easy when I’m on fire with a new idea or picking at a knot of understanding. Other days it feels in the way. How easy it would be to fall away from the practice, and I don't want that to happen, because I do believe in the power of Practice.
Journaling is a Practice. Natalie Goldberg writes constantly about the importance of Writing Practice and her Roshi validated it as Natalie's Way. He put it on a par, at least for her, with “sitting” (in meditation). I also find that writing focuses and clarifies my mind. I know from experience that journaling often pays its biggest dividends when my thoughts are whirling and passion is high.
So it was today. Within the space of half an hour I came up with two new concepts that laser in on the lake of energy behind an inner dam of blocked vision that I hadn’t realized was there! A list of blog topics spewed out. Ideas for two new classes and books emerged in full focus and clarity. I could write the Table of Contents right now.
Yes, I’m juiced. I’m stoked. The time I invested in journaling will save that much time and more by smoothing the path of other things I do today.
What’s my bottom line here? Usually the days I don’t feel like journaling are the most important days to do it.
What did I do to get the pump primed, to make it work?
- I sat down, picked up my journal, opened to the next empty page and wrote the date. (I write the date and also the day of the week — if I get mixed up on the date, that helps me untangle later by referring to a calendar, and it occasionally provides valuable context.)
- I wrote the obvious: “I don’t feel like writing today.”
- I began writing about what I’d rather be doing. On the second “rather” writer's rush set in. My concept expanded. It was still largely documentary, but new ideas poked up heads like sprouts in spring. Words flowed.
Write now: Open your journal if you have one. If you don’t, open a new file or get a fresh piece of paper, and write for twenty minutes. Just write, about anything that comes to mind. Write about why you don’t feel like writing. Write about a dream project. Write about something that puzzles you. Just keep your finger smoving and see what surprises emerge.
Photo: Lee Coursey