Growing up I always teetered on creativity. I loved to draw and doodle. I never put much of a focus on it so I never became an artist. I just loved to have a pen in my hands. I loved creative writing, but I hated being forced to write for an assignment. When I had a deadline it seemed like a burden. However, it has always felt good to have a pen in my hand. I can type, and often do, but it feels good to have a pen pressed up on paper. After leaving college I chose more of an analytical career in finance. I worked for several years moving up the ranks in various financial advising roles, but the creative juices wanted to get out. I then moved into marketing and ultimately started Altra. With Altra I oversaw all brand strategy – using both analytical and creative portions of my brain. Since this period I have fostered more creativity by spending more time writing.
I don’t journal to “be productive.” I don’t do it to find great ideas, or to put down prose I can later publish. – Tim Ferriss
I choose to write because it helps me to reduce stress. I find that putting the pen to the paper has a certain soothing effect. When I pause life and sit down to contemplate what to write, the rest of the world seems to slip away. Writing brings a sense of mindfulness. I find calm when writing. Author, investor, and human dissector, Tim Ferriss has emphasized to the world the value of journal writing. He even published one of his daily journal entries for the world to see. Utilizing journaling as “spritual windshield wipers”, he states his reasoning as follows.
I don’t journal to “be productive.” I don’t do it to find great ideas, or to put down prose I can later publish. The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me. Morning pages are, as author Julia Cameron puts it, “spiritual windshield wipers.” It’s the most cost-effective therapy I’ve ever found. To quote her further, from page viii:
“Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.”
This gives us a look inside the purpose of journaling for an award winning New York Times Bestselling author. His passion to improving himself can be seen in what he writes. To read his full article on journaling go here.
The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. – Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP
Like Tim, I find a certain release through journaling, as well through any writing. When I am stuck in my daily tasks I get lost. Writing helps to free me from those things. I came across an article from PsychCentral.com where the author states the following. “Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.” – Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP – PsychCentral.com
She states the following benefits from writing and keeping a journal
- Clarify your thoughts and feelings
- Know yourself better
- Reduce stress
- Solve problems more effectively
- Resolve disagreements with others
I have experienced each of these for myself. I have not yet taken my writing to a real serious level. I just like to pen something and publish it out there. I have found that by doing so helps me step beyond my comfort zone. The publishing part can often be the hardest part. It is much easier to keep my writing in a journal or on Evernote. However, when I make the commitment to open up myself to the world through my writing I experience a new degree of growth. By publishing content I have opened myself up to criticism and potential ridicule. Often, the response is just the opposite though. I love learning and the application of learning. I love feeling like I have all the answers. Must be the masculine side of me. I am not a fan of being judged or corrected. My wife can attest to that. These are all elements, though, that we need to grow and become better.
I have learned the important value of sharing my writing is the feedback and helping me to become a better writer and individual. Putting my content out there helps me to stretch my comfort zone. When I started my blog it was for selfish intent. I was looking to build my brand to get jobs and projects to work on. It has evolved to become more of a sounding board and release. Yes, I want to provide good content for businesses and individuals to utilize and become better, but it really is for me to be a better human.
Over the summer I took on the task to stretch my comfort zone even further. I started doing a daily vlog. I sought out to post a video each day of that days learning, adventure, or randomness. This was a test of the comfort zone. I felt so awkward doing it that I had to be completely alone when filming it. I couldn’t even be around my family. This really stretched things. Yes, it is no longer daily. It has fallen off, but I learned a lot from the process and hope to pick it up again. This process helped me to articulate better, discover what good came from my day, and reflect more. Also, I wanted to do something cool so that I had something that would be beneficial to share.
Creating content is for ourselves and for the world. By creating good content we can help each other be better in this crazy world. We may think that we don’t have something to contribute, but we all know something that can be shared. Sit down with a pen and paper and discover what you have to share with the rest of us.