I did say in my first blog that I wasn’t sure how often I’d be writing here but I was rather dismayed to see that it’ been a year since my first one. How rubbish of me! It’s particularly nonsense that I’ve been so remiss at writing these posts, (as a writer because its what I do!) and also because I have such a long list of ideas, people to interview, subjects to cover and thoughts to convey. I have stacks of notes all waiting patiently to be crafted into a blog post. They are all hidden in my in-tray, torn out pages of magazines, scraps of lined paper, a variety of coloured post – it notes, all slowly being covered over by the next idea I’ve done nothing with. They languish like an abundant pile of autumn leaves, the pages all disappearing and merging underneath one another until you can’t quite distinguish one from another like large pile of slush. (Oh is that why “they” call it a slush pile?)
Anyway I digress, I thought I’d write about why I write. I write to tell stories first and foremost, but I also write to ease my mind. I’ve always written things down. I adore making lists (and at the top of each one is “make a list” so that can be ticked off straight away – I’m not sure that’s just me!) I like to get my thoughts, notes and to-do lists out of my head and onto paper. I’ve recently undertaken a course from The Professional Writing Academy on “Introduction to Therapeutic and Reflective Writing, where we explored the context behind this kind of writing. It led me on quite an unexpected journey. I was able to process my thoughts very clearly, articulating them, exploring them and examining them all through writing it down. You can find more details on the course here.
As part of the course we were encouraged to journal, we were given various techniques to try, such as writing for a timed period or free writing for a certain amount of pages, I chose morning pages – a way of documenting thoughts as suggested by Julia Cameron. She recommends writing three pages every morning.
“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow”
This is the method I chose that seemed to work well for me. It isn’t always undertaken in the morning – it’s often too bonkers to focus in a morning after posting my daughter into her school uniform, filling with Weetabix and delivering to school.I do it when I have a quiet moment and I’ve found it really beneficial. As a freelance project manager and writer, working from home, I’m somewhat of an introvert. I often live in in my own head, and I have a tendency to over think things. I’ve found that writing things down calms the petulant child of my inner dialogue and she is placated for a while.
I believe there is a magic (yes I’m a writer and I’m sure that there is a better word to describe this – BUT it is magical to me) – there is a magic to writing things down. From my own perspective it calms me, helps me work things out, it a small retreat from work and a busy family life, and more often than not thoughts will pop up that I wasn’t really aware of or paying attention to and it’s very surprising.
This “magic” first came to me when I was dealing with a time of grief after losing a child. I was bereft and worried that I would forget this chapter, I didn’t want to forget it but nor did I want it in my head. So I wrote. I wrote every heart-breaking word, wrote it all out on the page – all of it. The weight that lifted from me and the lightness I felt was indescribable – a dark cloud was lifted and there was nothing but blue sky to move me forward.
I knew then that I wanted to share this “magic” with others and it lead me to set up “Write Mindful” and undertake training with Creative Leicestershire on their Artist in Healthcare settings programme to deliver my writing for relaxation & sessions. These workshops – I love to do. It is also so interesting to me what participants write about from the same prompt, what triggers someone to go the way they do and how positive they find it. It is not always for everyone but for me – writing therapeutically is one way for me to relax, untangle my thoughts, and take a moment of time to just be.
I’m often rushing throughout the day, my head always taking me to the next thing I must be doing rather than focusing on the moment I am in. If I’m playing with my daughter my mind races to tell me “oh don’t forget to finish that email, post that letter, do the shop order, put the washing on…” instead of focusing on her laughter when I’ve lost all my points playing pass the pigs, I find that if I have written that morning as early as I can, I’m calmed and this envelopes me through the day and I become more mindful in every moment. I also much prefer to write by hand – I like the connecting of the pen on the page and the scratch of the ink across a blank page. It slows down my racing thoughts as I notate them down. I encourage all my workshop participants to write by hand to further encourage the mindful aspects of writing for relaxation.
That is why I write.
Write. Reflect. Relax