If it’s written down, it’s real

I have this note on my desk that I read every time I sit down.

‘My writing matters’. My writing coach encouraged me to put it there to remind myself of what’s important to me. As I mentioned in my last blog, I dreamed of being a writer but got side-tracked with life and work and family.

So to add to Step 1, make my dream conscious, try this.  Step 2, write everything down, not just your dreams.  

My Writing Matters

My Writing Matters

Actually, writing stuff down has been both a life and a career saver for me.  I’ve kept diaries and journals since I was a wee slip of a lass and there have often been times when my journal was my best friend, full of ordinary and extraordinary moments, lessons and loves.

The importance of writing stuff down was hammered into us as student nurses, if it wasn’t written down, it didn’t happen, it wasn’t legal. Really important for medications, procedures, post-surgery instructions and reporting changes in someone’s condition etc…

I honed my skills over many years of recording mundane tasks and critical conversations; keeping the care on track, the dialogue clear, the facts straight and the memory in place.  Writing it down helps me remember. The physical act of putting my thoughts or notes on paper, making the letters, words and sentences appear is a trigger, I feel the words emerge, I see them on the page, then they’re real.

As an introvert I need time on my own to download, to process ideas, to think, to de-brief, to whinge, to plan, to re-charge. I write in a journal every night before I sleep.  What I write has changed over the years, but my day isn’t over until I put pen to paper.

But writing can also give you a chance to upload. To add things to your life, like gratitude, joy and passion.  With practice, writing about things you’re grateful for can bring more things to be grateful for into your life. Recognising the small precious things you have around you can help you appreciate how rich your life is.

So, in short, get writing.

If you’re thinking, ‘well that’s OK for her she’s been writing journals for years, I couldn’t write to save myself’, then try with a short list of questions and answer with just a few words each. You don’t have to make sense or be a literary genius, the words just have to mean something to you.

Set yourself a challenge to write a journal for 21 days. And if you happen to miss a day, don’t give up on the whole thing, just keep going when you do remember. Make it easy by putting in a trigger such as leaving your journal and a pen by your bed so you’re reminded to use it before you sleep.

You can just write whatever comes to mind or you can answer any questions about your life or work or the world. If you’re still not sure how to start, try answering one or all of these questions:

3 things I’m grateful for today are …

And I feel … about them.

3 things I got done today are …

And I feel … about them.

3 things I’m going to do tomorrow are…

And I feel … about them.

And here is where the magic starts to happen.

If you get yourself into the habit, then you start to look forward to your 10 minutes of writing. Sometimes you’ll find yourself through the day thinking, ‘I am so grateful for this or that. I’m so glad I did this or finished that. I’m so looking forward to that’.

And once you’ve been journaling for a little while you’ll realise one of the other benefits is the power of hindsight. Looking back, reflecting is where you begin to discover things about yourself and your life that may surprise, delight and challenge you.

I’d love to hear how you go with your journaling. You can post on the Facebook page or send me an email. And if you’d like to listen to this blog, head over to SoundCloud and download it HERE.

Thanks for reading.


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