If you’re going to take up one new practice in 2014, I’d strongly recommend keeping a daily journal.
Use it as a place to record questions, thoughts, feelings, experiences, and insights, rather than simply an account of what you did. Treat it as a space in which to muse, doodle, wonder and wander; in which to discover what you didn’t know you knew; and in which to tap into the deep undercurrents of creativity and insight that are often just out of sight.
As a regular journal writer myself, I can think of few more powerful and enriching ways of discovering the hidden threads that run through a life. Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings has been writing about this topic too. I love the way she describes journalling as an ‘existential upgrade’.
Here’s what to do:
- Buy the most gorgeous journal you can find – with high quality paper that’s satisfying to look at and to touch. Good quality, inviting materials make a huge difference to the experience.
- Choose a pen that’s equally satisfying to write with. A good fountain pen is unbeatable for this.
- Set aside a fixed amount of time every day, say ten or fifteen minutes, ideally at a regular time of day.
- And then, just write. Some hints on this from an earlier post, are here.
Reading back over a journal as it unfolds can be an illuminating experience. You’ll see patterns you weren’t aware were there, recurrent themes and ‘new’ discoveries that you seem to forget and re-discover time and again. And perhaps you’ll receive the gift of deep and practical wisdom given to the reader you are today by the writer you were yesterday.
Please share with me your experience of taking on this practice.
I’d love to hear how you’re getting on.