During my recent trip, I was reminded of a major, wonderful, side effect of a daily writing practice. Because my practice/habits are so ingrained, I write no matter what (at least a journal entry), every single day, including when traveling. What is this side effect I value so highly? What is this reward for working so doggedly at a daily practice? In non-flowery language (or the best I can do with my passion on the subject), it’s this:
Writing centers me. You could say it’s my bubble. My form of meditation.
No matter what chaos of life (good or bad) swirls around me, a pen, paper, and a little time are all I need to leave it all behind for a while. While one person might say “I need a drink,” or another might say “I need to work out,” my friends and family are used to hearing “I need to write.” Though I know keeping a journal has multiple benefits (I count on that), I’m convinced it is the physical act of writing that does the trick.
When things are going great and I’m beside myself with excitement or giddy over an upcoming event, writing helps me appreciate the joy (and tone it down a notch, lol). I appreciate recording the moment to remember in detail at some future date, but it’s the movement of the muscles in my arm and the ink onto the page that do the job.
Sometimes I concentrate on the formation of each letter and word. Sometimes I instantly enter that trance state that lets my inner being have direct access to the page. Sometimes I write for a purpose, sometimes I don’t. Position doesn’t seem to matter, either. I like a high table or to lie in bed, and sometimes I’ll curl up in the oversized, overstuffed chair that is my “thinking” chair. Sometimes I can type, and I do compose most of my fiction that way, but it’s pen and paper I find I am eager to use.
Satisfied, content, tired, stressed, thrilled, nervous, overjoyed — it doesn’t matter. The physical act of writing puts me firmly in the moment and brings a sense of rightness, a place of physical and emotional calm.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.