Scott’s Thoughts: Writing Your Way

“Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?”

-Joan Didion, (b. December 5, 1934), American author

Pushing a mountain.

Despite the fact many of us write emails, proposals, and presentations, very few of us think of ourselves as writers. The title “writer” is often most associated with artists or journalists, and we instinctually think of their use of language as completely apart from our everyday, transactional communication.

Some of us may harbor secret dreams of writing, or even imagine a future when we “finally sit down to write a book.” But for many people, the idea of writing is intimidating. Self-consciousness about spelling, grammar, or even our own voice making its way in the world is enough to shut down ambitions for the page.

What about a middle ground? Might there be a place for writing in your life beyond the tedium of your email inbox? Is there a way you can leverage personal, private writing to clarify your thoughts and improve your days?

According to this article in Quartz, “How writing 750 words a day could change your life,” the practice of “Morning Pages” can have a profound impact, regardless of your profession or ambitions. The practice is quite simple:

“Every morning, soon after waking, you must write 750 words–equivalent to about three full pages longhand. The idea is to start while your brain is too bleary to censor itself, so you can write more freely. In general, filling three pages takes about a half hour.”

From what its practitioners say, writing longhand is important. Not only does it slow you down, but it prevents the distractions of the computer from hijacking your attention. For Julia Cameron, who first wrote about the practice in her book The Artist’s Way, “we get a truer connection–to ourselves and our deepest thoughts–when we actually put pen to page.”

Uncensored, private writing can lead us to deeper levels of understanding about what we think and feel. Though we may not ever share these thoughts, the act of writing our way through them can be crucially important.

Would you give “Morning Pages” a try? Perhaps it can help you write your way somewhere new.

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