Hi everybody, it’s Phyllis here with part three in the video series about developing a daily writing practice. In the first video, I talked about the 5 essentials for getting started with writing, and in the second, I talked about how to make it a daily thing. In this video I’m going to talk about why. Why you should have a daily writing practice, how it will help you, even if you’re not a writer. A daily writing practice is a terrific tool, used by a many successful people all over the world.
One of the things about a daily writing practice is it forces you to prioritize you, your work, your dreams and your goals. Starting first thing in the morning with a half an hour or an hour, whatever you can do, of writing, re-prioritizes and organizes everything else in your life, and it makes sure that you actually get the time in for this project. And that’s the point of prioritizing: you get the time in that you need to spend, and you put this ahead of other things that might feel more urgent or that are just habitual. And when you prioritize what matters in your life, everything else just kind of takes care of itself. And if it doesn’t take care of itself, then maybe it just falls away. And that is what prioritizing is.
The classic pitfall is to say, “I’ll do this when I have extra time,” or “I’ll fit this in between X and Y,” and, as I’m sure you know, that doesn’t happen. So, in my book, prioritizing it first thing in the day and doing it every day are the two cornerstone habits for becoming effective in whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish.
The second benefit of daily writing is that you actually find out what your real feelings, hopes and concerns are. You really find out, “Okay, this is what I really feel.” Not only what you’re excited about, and what your dreams, visions, goals and tasks are, but the other side: what you’re afraid about, what you don’t know how to do, this is why I’m not doing this, because of this obstacle, and you write about the obstacle. You find out what’s really going on, not the party line, not what you tell everybody else, but what’s really going on. And that can be anything. And it’s important to know. Everything is important to know, because the more information you can have about your process, the more you can master it.
The fundaments here, as a reminder, touched on in the other videos about how to keep this habit up and how to make it work for you, are: keep writing until the time is up, and to give yourself permission to say anything. That doesn’t mean that you have to do something about it. That’s important. This is a space for listening to yourself. It’s just like listening to somebody in a relationship: You don’t necessarily have to fix it, or do anything. It’s just important that you listen and that the other party feel heard. So, both parties are you, and it’s really important that you witness what’s really going on with you.
The third benefit to writing everyday is that it gives you access to solutions. This daily habit creates a well-worn pathway of communication between what’s inside you and what is out there: ideas, creativity, possibilities, and all the things that you have to draw on to fix and solve things, as well as irrational, unexplainable things like brainstorms and inspirations.
When you sit down and do the same thing everyday, whether it’s practicing the guitar, or writing, or woodworking, whatever those daily rituals are, you are creating a coherent field, a field of energy that gathers momentum, that has intelligence. You’re telling yourself, your unconscious and conscious mind and the Universe – whatever that means to you – that your intention is to sit down and create a laboratory where your dream and vision and business, whatever it is that you’re working on, comes to life. Writing everyday gives you access to solutions to the problems that you’re coming up with.
And just like you don’t have to solve every problem that you write about, you also don’t have to act on every solution that comes up. But if you’ve written it down, then you have it. You have a record of it. You have it. As I’ve said before, when I come up with something like that, I underline it and I put a star in the margin so it’s really easy for me to find it later. And if I’m really compulsive and organized about it, I might, when I go back, if I’ve acted on that, I might actually put a check mark next to it. So when I’m going into my notebook and kind of mining for some of those ideas and things I wanted to act on, if I see a checkmark, I can know that I don’t have to bother with it. It didn’t get left out, dropped out or forgotten.
The fourth benefit to daily practice is that it’s calming. In study after study after study, journaling is an adjunct to all sorts of therapies and is known to help everybody who uses it be more successful in whatever they do. So if it’s weight loss, keeping a journal will help you with that. If it’s post-traumatic stress disorder and trying to get a handle on the triggers, your feelings, your thoughts, journaling will help you with that. If it’s working toward a goal, like saving money or getting a degree, achieving something, learning something new, writing a book, starting a business, journaling helps you achieve that.
And one of the ways it helps is that it puts everything on paper, where it becomes more objectified and you can look at it as if it were someone else’s. You can just look at it more objectively. And when you gain that distance, you can start to see things that you couldn’t see when you were inside your emotional reactions to it. And then you can start to write different endings to the story, different solutions to the problems. You can just play with things. You can say, “Huh! If this person is having trouble with asking this other person out on a date, then maybe she needs to ask a friend to introduce them to each other. “ So, you can begin to gain some distance from things. And it’s calming because you’re not just inside roiling around inside your emotions. Or, expending all your energy into trying not to feel your feelings. You’re putting them down on paper. You’re doing something with them. It’s an action. It’s a powerful action.
The fifth benefit to daily writing is it helps you to change longstanding areas of stuck-ness. And I could probably write a book just on this fifth topic. I’ve been writing everyday for decades now and there are certain things that I’ve found myself writing over and over and over again. And I’m sure that’s not abnormal. I’m sure we all have things we are unhappy with, dissatisfied with, that we wish would change and don’t know what to do about, and we keep writing it down and keep writing it down and keep writing it down.
And the way this change happens is a couple of different ways: We see it. We begin to see, “Oh my goodness, I have this incredible stuck-ness. I have this thing that is just so big to me and it feels like it’s never going to change. And to be able to write about all those feelings, the discouragement, the hopelessness, the feeling alone with it, whatever it is, you can begin to see that there’s a remedy for that, there’s a remedy for feeling alone: I can talk to somebody about it. Maybe that’s a new idea.
The other thing that can happen is, you have eureka moments. You can see something that you didn’t see before. You just see it. That happened for me with my addiction. For years I thought I was helping myself. I thought I was managing my anxiety and depression by taking substances, because they seemed to help for a long time. They seemed to be helping for a long time, and then they stopped helping, and I was miserable. And it took me a while to figure out that, oh the reason I’m miserable now is, I’m taking these substances. And I had to write about that a lot before I could see it. But then I had a eureka moment about that, that this thing I thought was helping so much is actually hurting me.
The other kind of thing you write a lot about is things you feel you must do, the never-ending cosmic, lifelong to-do list. Again, when you see something over and over and over again, at some point you’re going to look at that and you’re going to say, “I’m going to get to the bottom of this, because I’m tired of writing this down, and I’m tired of having it take up space in my head. I’m tired of having this here, because it’s taking away from what I’m trying to accomplish in life. And the fact that I’m not doing it and feel that I should be, is a conflict that I’m going to deal with.”
And you’re going to deal with it in one of two ways. You’re going to realize it’s not really something you need to do at all. It’s just something somebody told you you need to do, or you really do need to do it, and you’re going to make a commitment and a plan get it handled and get it done. Those are the two possibilities there.
You could say, well I’m not going to write about this any more, but that’s not really realistic, and it’s self-defeating, because you’re trying to create a space where you see what is, where you see it in black and white, so that you can deal with it. And that’s ultimately a lot more powerful than saying, “This one topic is off limits because I’ve complained enough.” (Unless of course you’re just complaining for the thrill of it!)
So that’s it! Those are the five priceless benefits of having a daily writing practice. I think it would behoove you to do this. I encourage you to get up every morning, close the door, sit down, and give yourself the time, and lay it out on paper where you can see it and gain mastery over it, whatever it is. Have a place, a plan and begin to develop that well-worn pathway, so that you become your own mastermind. You want to become your own source of creative and generative ideas and energy, new products and programs, new works of art, new songs, or whatever new material need to create.
I hope this inspires you to at least try it. And if you do have a daily practice, or if there’s something I’ve left out as a benefit, please share your wisdom with us in the comments.
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by Phyllis Capanna © 2016 joyreport
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