My secret to happiness is this: Journaling.
(I know, “journal” is not a verb, but “writing in a journal” is sort of cumbersome.)
Flashback to 1978. A little girl opens a Christmas gift. It’s a Holly Hobbie diary—small and new—with a little brass lock and so much promise. I wrote in in faithfully … for three days. This happened over and over until around 1994 when I found a book entitled, “The Artist’s Way.”
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, is a new-agey, self-help book that aims to help creative people become unblocked and become their best artistic selves. It came into my life at a time when nothing was working. I had tried almost everything to get my life, my relationships and my career in order. I was willing at that point to do almost anything.
Unlike so many of these kinds of books that you read and quickly go back to the way you were, The Artist’s Way teaches you to change by doing. There are contracts to sign and all sorts of assignments, but the core of it resides in what are called, Morning Pages.
Morning Pages are non-negotiable. It is a commitment to journal every day no matter what. You are asked to handwrite three pages of stream-of-consciousness unedited drivel. Do it first thing in the morning. No exceptions. Ever had writer’s block? Well, this is the cure. It’s also the cure for any creative block. Possibly the cure for any block, period.
I urge you to try it. I can attest that it works. The years that I made it a habit changed my life in every way imaginable. I learned about who I am, what I want and what I don’t want. And, voila, I created the life I always dreamed of. And I am recommitting myself to it today. Let’s do it together. Here are the guidelines:
- Write three pages — longhand
- Write without thinking, without stopping, without editing
- Write first thing when you get up — set an alarm if you need to
- Don’t, at first, go back and read it
- Don’t let anyone else read it
- Don’t judge it, just do it
- You don’t need a fancy notebook to start
- If you “mess up” just start again