Aren’t we just too pre-occupied with life to make anything besides brushing teeth a daily practice?
Do you find yourself too busy taking care of our people and our jobs and managing the stress of daily living to engage in a daily anything besides maybe drinking water?
Would you believe me if I told you that keeping a journal, the simplest act of 15 minutes on the page, every day, would help you manage all the other parts of your life?
Could you believe that solutions to long stalled problems would emerge like rhubarb in the spring?
Might you consider that “indulgent, self-centered, non-productive, non-income producing” acts such as journaling, reading poems, taking mindful breaths would allow more of your gorgeous self to be present in every single hour of your day?
My daily practice of keeping a journal has been a big deal for me since I was 16.
I dabbled in diaries from the time I was 12, but by 16, I was hooked to a practice of writing in the morning in a notebook, nothing fancy at all, just a Bic pen and a college-ruled notebook. (Did I drink coffee then? Must look at journal for this.) This portable practice stayed with me through a year of living with my estranged father after high school. It kept me calm in college, mostly. It traveled with me to my first professional job in theatre and has stayed by my side ever since.
In all those years of daily writing I never considered myself a writer.
I was and am a theatre artist who happens to write every single day. What else have I done as consistently as journaling, aside from the obvious things like peeing and brushing teeth? So, to say that I have filled over 175 journals, kept lists of the books I read, the people I slept with, and the dreams I had the nights before, nearly every day for 44 years…that is a lot of lines of writing!
But really, you wonder, aside from the roster of my romps and a list of movies, what is the big deal?
**Insert quote here from a long list of established artists who agree that what you do daily is where you make a difference**
I believe in the value of personal narrative writing, the writing that illuminates your life right now, as it is.
For generations, women have grown disconnected from our deep knowing.
Why Engage in daily practice? Because that is how you tap your truth.
For mothers, the situation is more complicated. Writing stories from inside motherhood is how I got the courage together to start this website in 2009. Then, 3 years later, I launched a separate blog series, called Out of the Mouths of Babes, to celebrate a growing community of women telling their stories from inside motherhood. These new words were written by established writers of other genres and by new writers making a foray in to publication for the first time, all to honor the worth of women’s words.
You can read the latest installment of Out of the Mouths of Babes here, a gorgeous piece by Berkshire journalist Hannah Van Sickle. Hannah visited my library writing program long enough to learn about the 2018 writing prompt, which you can find here. This year’s writing prompt is for all women, not just mothers. Hannah told me that writing from inside motherhood is different from all her other professional writing. When we let our writing get personal, the stories of our life begin to reveal things we have not fully seen or embraced. When we bring the stuff of our daily life in to our creative work, our utter uniqueness is unmatchable.
Telling our own stories is not something most of us have been encouraged to do.
Times are changing.
And here at Rising Forth, we are part of that change.
Read Hannah’s piece, then download the writing prompt for yourself. Hannah’s writing might inspire you to tell a story of your own.
Fifteen minutes early, while the house is quiet.
After lunch, before you clock back in.
On the train on your way back from school.
Over a cup of tea while you sit in bed.
Turn off your gizmos. Pick up a pen. Start.
Before you know it, 15 minutes will bloom in to 30.
From 30 to 45 will seem like a sec.
You, my dear, will be on your writing way.