Keeping a writing journal is proving to be a wonderful tool for me – this week I’ve been suddenly inspired to fill it with ideas, plot developments, character sketches … the novella of about 20-30K words I had planned has rapidly become a novel with twists and turns. I’m still in the early stages of writing it, but I have ideas, vague plans, and characters that I simply cannot wait to implement. As I write ideas down, my novel develops and takes shape in a much clearer fashion.
It is, simply, exciting.
This excitement has been greatly influenced not only by the development of my ideas and focus on writing, but also by a general sense of joy. Delight in “the little things”, pleasure in simplicity; a zest for life, if you will permit me a cliché. Whether it is dancing in the rain, pausing to admire the pattern on a leaf, or relishing every spoonful of chocolate fudge ice cream, I’m feelingjoy.
Why? What’s changed? Well … Along with a writing journal, I’ve also been keeping a gratitude journal.
Before you start thinking I’ve been watching too much Oprah, let me explain …
I used to write in my journal every day. When I stopped doing this, I found my thoughts and plans (as vague as they may be at times) became unclear. I need to “talk things through” and when I stop doing this, I get overwhelmed and confused. Reflection is something I need to do in order to clarify my ideas and move forward with confidence, regardless of how ambiguous or detailed my reflections are. I started a gratitude journal partly to combat the habit I have each morning of getting up, turning on the computer, and checking emails before even venturing beyond the bedroom, and partly because I need to reflect on each day in order to keep sane.
It’s simple, but it lets me think about each day with a positivity that is not reflective of false optimism but, rather, reflective of genuine gratitude for aspects of my life.
My writing wish for you this week is for you to consider what you are grateful for. Write a note to a friend, pause and reflect on something you’ve enjoyed today, or have a conversation with someone about what gives you joy.
Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson