When I’m in the middle of a project like a book or a new strategy for this magazine, I make it a point to do my morning pages. Morning Pages is a technique started by Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way. It was meant to help artists and writers get over creative blocks. Here’s what you do – Every morning, before the day begins, you sit down with your journal, and write three pages. You write whatever comes to mind even if it’s something as inane as ‘I don’t like the colour of my couch anymore’. This is a form of stream-of-consciousness journaling, where you put on paper what comes to mind. It may sound like a pointless exercise, but it goes a long way in clearing your thoughts so you’re not distracted by self-doubt and insecurities while doing creative work. The benefits of journaling in this manner supersede creativity, though.
I don’t strictly do three pages every time I journal, but I do write longhand of whatever comes to my mind. As a result, a large portion of my journals have things such as ‘I think I need to have less coffee’ or ‘My dog likes to eat bird poop. She’s so stupid but so cute.’ More often than not, though, such scrambling leads to some important insight that helps me make the world a better place.
Most of us are frustrated with something or the other. It could be personal or professional. But, to effectively deal with our problems and make a dent in the way things are, we need to have the utmost clarity of thought. We need conviction. This is where journaling can help.
It will help you clear your thoughts
If I haven’t already said it, let me say it again: Journaling is a wonderful way of clearing the mental clutter that keeps us from thinking straight. Clarity of thought is important for anything you undertake – whether it’s shopping for groceries or generating revenue for your business, if your mind is free of chatter, you’ll make decisions quicker. Your decisions will also be more thoughtful.
It will help you communicate better
In most Indian families, communication is not a skill that’s developed or encouraged. Though things are changing now, and young parents today do encourage their children to ask questions and seek answers, most people in our parents’ generation went by the diktat of ‘aise hi hota hai’ (it is what it is). Many of us haven’t developed good communication skills because of this. Journaling helps us put words to our thoughts and feelings, and in turn, makes us better at communicating with others.
It helps you pick your battles
When you’re out to change or even challenge the status quo, it helps to pick your battles; to stay focused on the bigger picture. Journaling can help you hash out what really matters. What’s worth fighting for? And what can you let slide, so you can stay focused on dismantling the system?
You can indulge in all sorts of thought experiments in your journal
What if there were no men in the world? Of if being married was taboo? What if you had to pay the government to allow you to have children? These are questions I often think about when I am examining the social fabric of our society. Thought experiments widen our horizons and help us see things from different perspectives. This, in turn, helps us evaluate all sides, form better arguments, and sometimes, become a bit more tolerant of things so they don’t ruin our mental health!
You can write what you can’t speak
No matter how outspoken you may be, there are certain things you just can’t say to people or in public. Journaling is your secret haven where you can be truly yourself, and write what you can’t speak.
I write. I read. I do yoga. I hula hoop. I love cats and dogs in equal measure. I'd say the same for wine. My zen motto: "Eat kale for the body, cake for the soul." Find me on IG: @prachigangwani87