I had a problem yesterday.
Not a huge problem, just a common, everyday sort of problem.
I needed peace and quiet and it wasn’t obvious to me where it was going to come from.
In the throes of completing a final draft of an e-book, I needed to read the whole thing through in one sitting.
And because it wasn’t a crime procedural or suspense thriller, I knew from experience only complete and utter respite from noise and interruption would suffice. But I had no way of achieving it.
Or so I thought…
I live in a decently large, some would say huge, house but my husband inhabits our home office. He yaks away on the phone, presents webinars, gets interviewed, drinks tea and clicks around with his mouse. That wasn’t going to work.
We had work going on downstairs so leaf blowers, vacuums, mowers and pruners all comprised weapons of mass concentration destruction there.
What was I to do? I had a deadline. I had to meet it.
I got out my journal.
In my coaching practice I often give encouragement to my clients that, I realize after the call, I need to give myself. And taking the time to journal daily has been one of those epiphanies.
When I first moved to the US, not knowing a soul besides my husband and having no clue what direction my life should take, I read and followed the practices espoused in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. One of the practices was to write, longhand, three pages of whatever came to mind every morning.
Back then, I hated it.
But it felt important so I stuck at it.
Over time, it became a priceless tool as I uncluttered my mind on those pages much like we unclutter a room, a garage or even a whole house. My journaling became a time to write out whatever was bothering me, organize my day, reflect upon my experiences.
Following my wedding weekend. I spent hours over days capturing every single detail I could remember on paper and when I was done, I was done.
I could move on.
I wrote the most terrible things sometimes as I processed my thoughts and once I got to the end of my notebook, I would trip down to Kinko’s and shred it. We all have murderous thoughts at times but they are momentary and we don’t need to be sentenced by them.
Over the years I have journaled on and off. It was a sanity saver when the boys were babies. Nowadays commitments mean I can’t always do it early morning, so I do it whenever and wherever I can. A less than perfect practice is better than none. I filled many a notebook.
I bought my own shredder.
Yesterday I sat down not having the answer to my problem and wrote it out. Over the three pages and half an hour, the answer became apparent.
I needed a desk, a chair, some natural light, a room out of earshot of anyone (I read final drafts out loud) and with a door I could lock, my tea and a bottle of water.
I shifted some furniture, lit some candles, opened the windows, tossed some trash and, tea and water in place, got to work emerging four hours later with it complete.
Who knew the answer lay in my son’s grungy bedroom?
Many people will say they can’t write. In my experience, that’s nearly always rubbish. Usually all that is needed is some guidance, some confidence and repetition. Writing as therapy is an easily accessible, cheap practice available to everyone.
Try it next time you have a problem, you might like it.
Have you ever journaled and found it helpful? Or do you believe you ‘can’t write?’ Let me know in the comments!
If you appreciated this article, please do me a favor and share on Facebook or Twitter or StumbleUpon. There are buttons at the top, bottom and to the left hand side of this article.