Tips To Help You Start A Daily Writing Practice, Today!
It should come as no surprise to any of you reading this that I love to write. There's something that simply overcomes me the second my fingers hit the keyboard (or the paper if I'm doing it the old fashioned way LOL). I lose control and the inner workings of my brain take the driver's seat.
As an ambivert, I am not always the first one to speak in a crowded room or a meeting, however you better believe I WILL speak if I have something to say. Since I was young, I've found writing to be a great outlet for me. From the days spent writing poetry or creating an at home newspaper with my best friend, writing has been a consistency in my twenty-seven years of life.
I have a lot of ambition when it comes to writing - I know, I know, I'm getting to it I swear - however, this year I've picked up on a simple writing technique that truly anyone can do, no matter your level of "skill" or not. Guess what? This practice - requires NO skill. However, I can promise you that should you adapt this practice, your life will transform.
How many of you can say that about things you're currently doing? Binge watching Real Housewives - did that transform your life? What about mindlessly scrolling through Instagram before bed - life-altering stuff? No?! Well how about you give this one a try for at least thirty days and let me know how it goes...
Okay, what is the practice you ask? Daily journaling!
While I am a writer, and have been for many, many years, this is something I've always struggled with. I've struggled to remain consistent in my daily journaling practice and thus found myself revisiting an old, lined friend, checking in on the last time I wrote in it only to realize it had been months if not YEARS. Yes, you read that correctly, sometimes it was a year or more. A lot had transpired during the course of that time and I felt immediately discouraged, put the pen down, closed the book, never to revisit that journal again.
So I did the unthinkable - I made daily journaling EASY! Easy?! Is that even possible?! I'm here to tell you that it is. It's a lot more possible than you may have led yourself to believe.
Journaling should be seen as a cathartic release, NOT a chore, I repeat journaling should NOT be a chore.
This daily journaling practice that I devised at the beginning of the year, when Quarantine was first in effect, came as a result of feeling underproductive and like time was just flying by. I wanted to hold myself accountable to keeping my routine in check, which I had grown to know and love prior to Quarantine, but also to make note of all the big AND small things I was doing, to remind myself that I was thriving even in this time of uncertainty.
Every day I left a space for "feelings" in which I could detail in 5-10 sentences how I was truly feeling that day without having to dive in to a novel of details as far as what transpired (I had already listed that above in my daily schedule anyway, remember?)
One month in, I began a gratitude practice in which for 28 days I listed 10 things I was grateful for every single day and then after that I began listing 5 things that I'm grateful for every day for the last 5 months!
In September, I added on to my daily writing practice during the week by doing what's called "Morning Pages." I first heard about this stream-of-consciousness style writing from Lauryn Evarts Bosstick's Blog, The Skinny Confidential. She began practicing "The Morning Pages," after reading "The Artist's Way" (yes, it's in my Amazon cart) and shared the power of this writing release with her community. I will tell you, some days it's easier than others to sit down, first thing in the morning and whip out 3 pages of writing, but some days it's over before you know it and I feel like the words could have kept flowing.
While this writing practice and this structure has worked for me - it may not work for you and that's okay! Our writing practices should be different, that's what makes them so beautiful and powerful for each of us as individuals.
That being said, I'm going to leave some tips and tricks below to help you get on your way to daily writing.
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-Get Yourself a Cute Notebook and Good Pens -- It's like how some people are more inclined to workout with new gym clothes, equip yourself with the writing materials that make you excited to crack open that notebook day after day. I've listed some of my personal favorites down below.
(DesignWorks Ink - Ma Vie et Mes Projects. Click the photo above to purchase it directly from Amazon.)
(DesignWorks Ink - Live by the Sun Journal. Click the photo to purchase directly from Amazon.)
(Poppin Retractable Gel Luxe Pens -- Click the photo above to find them on Amazon).
(KACO Retractable Gel Ink Pens -- Click the photo above to find them on Amazon).
-Establish Your "Writing Time" -- Personally, my writing time is first thing in the morning and right before bed. I always practice my Morning Pages first thing in the morning in order to truly allow that stream-of-consciousness writing to flow. It helps to release any tension or anxiety toward the day ahead by sitting down and getting your 3 pages out first thing in my morning. At the end of the day is when I'm able to look back and adequately summarize what I accomplished that day, how I was feeling about it and what I was most grateful for.
-Eliminate Distractions -- Set yourself up for success by establishing not only the perfect writing time but the perfect writing zone. For me this means sitting upright either at a table or the bar in my mom's kitchen with some classical or jazz music (absolutely NO lyrics) playing in the background. Music with lyrics only distracts me from the task at hand but playing a little jazz or classical helps me remain focused and alert.
-Build the Practice Best for YOU -- As I mentioned, my daily writing consists of: daily schedule, daily list of accomplishments (big AND small), a space to share my feelings from the day, five things I'm grateful for and my morning pages. That being said, this is the practice that works best for me. This is what's kept me engaged and writing every day for the last seven+ months but that doesn't mean it's going to work for you. Don't be afraid to play around with the structure of it until you find what clicks.
-Keep At It! -- Just like with anything, building a new practice or habit takes TIME. It's not going to click the first time you do it (but hey, if it does, kudos to you!). It's up to you to stick with it and make it part of your daily routine. Anything worth having in life takes tremendous effort, time and dedication and your daily writing practice is no different.
I hope these tips and tricks proved to be helpful for you as you endeavor on your own journey toward daily writing. Writing is an ongoing practice, one in which I'm learning from and tweaking every single day. Don't be afraid to try new things, make mistakes, learn from them and keep on growing. As I mentioned earlier, I can guarantee that this small added step in your daily routine will change your life. What's stopping you - let's start, today!