Category: Writing

Stay On Course By Documenting Your Intentions And Action

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As I was reading this quote by Wilcox, I had a sudden flashback. I remembered perching on the end of my tiny bed in the dormitory back in boarding school. I was holding a small brown hardcover journal. My very first journal, which was a gift from my mum. From shortly after I could write down a meaningful sentence by myself, my mum had always encouraged me and brothers and sisters to write down what we were thinking about. ‘Whatever it is you would like to get in life, big or small, just write it down. Do it every day and then just see what happens’ she would say.

At that time, I didn’t know she was helping a key tool for life take root in my heart. It felt strange and difficult to pour what felt like my soul out onto a clean blank page. It was hard to start and I felt very vulnerable, but also, at the same time, in some way invincible. In retrospect, it was that feeling of vulnerability that allowed me to develop a sense of self-awareness and to pay attention to my thoughts and actions.

For years we all had to write weekly letters to our mother from our respective schools. It wasn’t a problem for any of us, though our friends often struggled to find something to say. Mum would study each letter carefully before filing them safely away. Over the period of years, those missives slowly gathered in the drawer next to her bed. In time, of course, we all finished school, went to college, and then technology took over from letter writing. But, even after she moved onto computers and email, my mum still encouraged us to write out our goals and intentions,continuing to say, ‘You know what, write it down and see what happens‘. I thought she just kept these letters for a souvenir but there was more to it.

When our eldest brother, Mike, got married, he had a big wedding with relatives from both sides there to join in on his big day. As usual, the groom’s mother was asked to say something and part way through her speech, she asked the Master of Ceremonies to read out from a piece of paper she had picked out of her purse. It was one of the letters that Mike had sent her from College maybe five years before the wedding. He was really embarrassed to hear the letter read out but everyone was amazed at what the letter said.

Mike had told our mother that he was going to make her proud. The letter said that he would buy a nice car, build his own house and marry a wonderful girl in the next five years and mum chose to have this letter read out to demonstrate what the power of thoughts written out, then acted on, could do.

Mike had done just that. He had set three goals, written them out and pursued them, to achieve all three, as well as his College degree in the five years he set himself and of course, making his mother most proud, as he had promised. While I eventually stopped writing to my mum, (though I emailed and called her) I never stopped following that advice to ‘write it down and see what happens’. On my bedside cabinet or any flat surface in my bedroom, you can always find a journal or even a scrap of paper with something scribbled on it. Some are reminders or quotes I want to remember from books I am reading, there will also be to-do lists, and random thoughts that arrived just as I was settling down to sleep but others are based on my mother’s advice to write down my goals, which these days is known as journaling.

Journaling is like talking to yourself, only much more beneficial because you write down what you want, not endless loops of conversations with yourself, though you can do that too, if you need to. With writing in a journal, not only are going to think about it, but you’re also going to say it to yourself as well as write it. By doing this, I found out that writing out your intentions helps you focus on what’s important to you. When you just tell yourself how you’re “going to do well”, your subconscious may very well try to divert you away from working towards your goals, even though your intentions may be the very best.  But when you have all your plans documented in your journal, you get the overall view of where you are now, where you’re going , and your final destination. Susan Sontag, an American writer, explained her experiences with journaling by saying that she “created herself”https://www.coloringdiary.com/.

I can just totally relate to this. All the words I’ve written down about my life, goals, and dreams, whether in ink in journals or letters to my mother or from clicking the keys on my computer have helped create the person I am today.

Checking off some tick boxes on my to do list is one of my small daily pleasures at the end of the day. It makes me feel like I have progressed, no matter how little. Each box represents a problem solved, even a small one and ticking it off makes me feel fulfilled, happy and sometimes, dare I say, it, even euphoric and empowered to tackle any other problems that may lie on that list. Writing down emotions you feel at various times is very therapeutic and can be helpful in managing mental and physical health. You can use this to track your symptoms or create a separate  tracker within your journal to check on what triggers any anxiety, stress, anger or other emotion you find difficult to manage or what you need to eat or do to keep your health in check. You can also track any medical and dental checkups or other health appointments.

Writing things down is still important and the very act of putting pen to paper can be helpful in personalizing your experiences and the goals you want to achieve but with more responsibilities eating away at my personal time, I now have less time available to spend writing out everything that happens in my life, as I used to. With new technology, I can still record  ideas and important stuff while still on the go. Currently, there appear to be a thousand or more apps that can help people track their health, moods, finances, meetings and so on, so you don’t have to spend the time writing it all down and then indexing it if necessary.  Useful mobile apps will help you stay on course with daily living because you can set reminders if necessary.

Journaling is having somewhere to put all your intentions, thoughts, ambitions, and actions to help you stay focused on what you want to achieve.

Write it down. Do it every day and then just see what happens.

 

 

Expressing Your Emotions Through Freeform Writing

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No Limits Enjoyment

When was the last time you had a good dance? Notice I didn’t ask if you are a good dancer or not, because that is irrelevant. I am talking about a carefree, blissful, and liberating experience of allowing yourself to enjoy good music by moving according to the beat or even contrary to it but still having ecstatic fun. If this is a practice you often do, you know how it’s more than skin deep. You know by doing this you shake off some worries in your mind and shackles keeping you anchored in a place you no longer want to be in.

https://www.coloringdiary.com/How about sprinting instead of the ordinarily composed jogging sometimes? Foregoing the accepted, grown-up way of doing it and deciding to let loose and be under no limitation. Besides the obvious running out of breath sooner, this exercise will do something more and that is to propel you to let go of other limitations in your life and make quicker decisions. Try it and this also: singing out loud in the shower or elsewhere paying no attention to your voice or confidently speaking a language you consider yourself not-so-good at.

Liberating

Maybe you are the kind of person who watches other people dance at weddings or parties and hold tightly back. Oh no you would never try dancing, singing out loud or anything that puts you in the limelight, it’s not in your nature to but maybe that is the problem? You are composed, you are serious, you have targets to meet and life-altering decisions to make so you wouldn’t be caught dead doing any of the above things but is it possible that you have some bottled up emotions begging to be set free? What other way is there to fully express them, let go of negative energy and embrace brand new wholeness and positivity?

Freeform Writing

Freeform writing is a form of therapy that you can engage in to express your emotions without attracting anyone’s attention like in the above-mentioned methods. All you need is yourself, paper and pen. You may need to be alone so that you aren’t disturbed as you allow yourself to ‘flow’ into that piece of paper, writing down every thought as it comes into your mind. You don’t have to care for spelling, punctuation, or even making sense, only write down whatever you think or feel in that particular instance. Using a book designed as a journal makes it easier to get into the flow of writing.

There are times you can be so angry but cannot say everything that you are feeling because you risk destroying a relationship or scaring someone off or even scaring yourself! Freeform writing is a judgement-free zone you can put yourself in at such times. Whatever you write doesn’t have to make sense and you could find yourself frantically pressing onto the paper as rage or intense excitement is channelled from you onto the writing pad. This is why it is best to use a pen, not a pencil whose lead can break off. Jot it all down in no particular order, using capital letters, exclamation marks, dots, question marks, and any other marks you find necessary. When you are done, you may want to tear off that paper and perhaps rewrite a clearer piece of something important and positive that you got out of the exercise. By now you may be calm and free from anger.

Example

“THE EYES…I like her smile makes me feel warm. I think she is a warm person…ask her out. A real date? Flowers, she is an angel. Could complete my life. I really do need her. I’m scared to commit but I think I can try Maybe this is it MAYBE it could be maybe I should give it a try oh yes try”

This is a raw example of what it means to flow onto paper if you want to figure out how to express love but aren’t sure of what emotions you have exactly towards that girl. As you write everything down as soon as it visits your mind, you may find yourself smiling, blushing, or beginning to do some deep thinking. Keep this up for some time until you are sure what your sentiments really are.

Grief

When grieving the loss of a loved one, a break-up, or perhaps a divorce, it is normal to feel at some point that the time to expressly talk about it to other people has expired. You may feel that you make them sad when you still wallow about it after a certain period of time. Don’t worry if this is your case. Get your pen and writing pad and begin to pour your heart out onto that paper.

Hidden Talents Discovered

A lot of good can come out of freeform writing. Great poems, songs, or even creative stories could result. You could stumble upon a hidden talent of yours while practicing it or realise there is a feeling, that though strategically buried behind many layers as a defense mechanism, still holds you back somehow. Try it out today!

Freewriting

If you are a writer, or a student trying to write an essay, dissertation or thesis, you can use this type of writing too. It is known as freewriting, a term used by the author (Emeritus) Professor Peter Elbow in his book, “Writing Without Teachers”, though I prefer his book “Writing With Power”, which also includes it. This can be used for fiction stories as well as factual pieces. And if you are desperately trying to complete a college essay but finding difficulty with it, or you have procrastinated too lomg and your essay is due tomorrow, you can download and read a book on The Procrastinator’s Guide to Writing an Effective Term Paper by Stephen Posusta which also uses freewriting and which can help you write your term paper even if you have to pull an all-nighter (provided you have already read the necessary books for writing the essay).


If this is an area that is important to you, you can read more about studying effectively here.