I remember I got my first diary from a friend on my 10th birthday. I still have it. It had pretty pink pointe shoes on the cover and a silver lock to keep all my 10-year-old secret’s secure.
Since those elementary school days, I’ve gone through phases in life when I would journal diligently.
This month’s blog series is like a weird, public diary (thanks for reading) but in real life, I don’t need to re-read the entries from my past. In fact, I went searching for that first diary out of curiosity and I instantly regretted it. I’ve already processed all my 10-year-old feelings and reading them again brought things to the surface I worked hard to move through.
But that doesn’t mean the act of writing those words wasn’t helpful. In fact, at any point in my life when I committed to journaling it felt like it changed my internal circuitry, like my brain was temporarily re-wired for the better.
I read The Artist’s Way years ago. This is a self-help book of sorts, that uses different exercises to help readers harness their creative energy. One of the author’s more popular exercises is something she calls, “morning pages”. It’s essentially a stream of consciousness journaling practice you commit to every morning. There are no rules but she encourages you to write at least 3 pages. When I did commit to this, it was profound. People have published how this daily act changed the trajectory of their lives.
As much as I loved the practice, it didn’t stick for more than a few months at a time. I still use a paper calendar and use pen and paper for a to-do list as opposed to my notes app – but putting pen to paper for several pages gets to be cumbersome. So that’s why I was so intrigued by a TikTok I saw by Kaitlyn Moorhead (@alignedwithKaitlyn on TikTok). The video has more than 1.5 million views and it’s titled, “Why I write illegibly when I journal”.
She holds up her notebook and it looks like nothing but lines and lines of waves and doodles.
I was so curious, I called her to find out more.
Kaitlyn is a mom of two small kids and has been making efforts to live with more intention, and that includes a consistent journaling practice.
She said, “It has made me a better person in every area of my life.”
Kaitlyn took a journaling course that uses some of the foundations from The Artist’s Way and then she mixed it with a therapy technique called “subconscious journaling”.
It’s as simple as this: Just write. But don’t let the shape of the letters and things like grammar slow you down. Write as fast as your brain can think. The fast way of writing helps your hand keep up with the rapid fire thoughts in your brain. She told me, “I feel by writing so fast, you’re getting to those deeper thoughts. Those first pages you’re working your way through the surface stuff on the top then the good stuff comes out.”
Like me, she had come in and out of a journaling practice. In times of great stress she would reach for the pen, but when things had leveled out .. she felt lost at what to write. This way of journaling doesn’t require a prompt or a problem, it’s just dumping out the contents of your brain. And soon enough, deeper thoughts emerge.
If she has one of those “a-ha” moments or there is something that bubbles to the surface that she wants to remember, she will write it legibly on the top of the page. But other than that, she’s a lot like me: She doesn’t want to re-read things she has processed.
Kaitlyn says she’s seen a change in every area of her life since committing to this practice.
I’ve been trying this since the start of the month and it’s amazing the things I’m unpacking with paper and a pen.
Bonus, you can leave your journal on the kitchen counter and no one will know what you wrote.
Give it a try and tell me what you think.
Thanks for being here and reading my weird public diary,