The value of seeing thoughts on a page, from a healing perspective, is that it catches hold of them, gently forcing them to stop and be considered for what they are, rather than allowing them to continue rushing around, ‘head long’ without a pause.
Where to write
I like to write rather than type. Writing seems more immediate and direct, bringing me much closer to the ‘me’ inside.
I write in a simple memo book, like the one above from Silvine*. I would recommend not committing yourself to anything as fancy as a diary; or else you might just hesitate because your writing won’t feel up to the quality of a nice book. Infact, some of what you write won’t be a diary, so having a different place in which to land allows free reign for whatever chooses to emerge.
Just the two of you
So, what’s happening in your world? Rather than having thoughts just going round and round, let them have the light of day and commit them to a page, so that you can see them for real. Let the written words and your thoughts be two parts of you, one, out of which thoughts arise and the other, the conduit through which these thoughts take form and become more visible.
Remember that through this writing out, you are essentially tapping into the raw you. This is not a novel in the making, this is you, warts and all. As a result, some bits may make sense, whilst others will seem odd, nonsensical, childish or down right rude! Everything is welcome, it’s the equivalent of sifting through your drawers, you’re aiming to disgard whatreally doesn’t matter and keeping what does.
Making note of progress
You might want to review what you’ve written , or it may just be sufficient to write – tumbling thoughts don’t particularly need to make sense, but giving them some air time keeps them moving through, for example when venting frustrations.
On the other hand, reviewing is helpful from time to time because it provides a marker of where you have come from; it’s easy to forget progress made. I find that this also gives me a much more accurate record of what happened, not a partially, censored memory – which often defaults to highlighting the negatives of a situation.
Once out in the ‘open’, what do you do with this writing ramble, rant or re-discovery of self? It’s good to just have time for getting things off your chest, in the privacy of your own dialogue. For a worrying issue, seeing it written down gives a sense both of how much it matters and also what specifically the problem is. Being specific helps point the way to what action might resolve it.
I often find, too, that as I read the words back I can see how much I have come on over an issue or where I need to say, yes, I have to accept that I will do something differently another time – not punishing self, but just learning and re-adjusting!
The final word
I’ve been ‘writing out’ regularly for 18 months now, having previously started diaries and given up under the weight of introspection. For me then, there is a place both for writing out emotions, reactions and highlighting problems, and another for recording interesting events, interactions and ideas.
I usually write a page or two first thing – and in my notebook these are small pages – when my mind is at its least censoring or perhaps caring, which helps to get some of the grot or concern out. Later on, often last thing, I might do a little review of the day. At the moment, to vary the diary form, I am capturing an essence of my day in poetry. I’ll talk more of a ‘Journey Through May in Poetry’ perhaps, in another post. Thank you for reading.
*More About Silvine – sustainable, ethical and in the UK.