Why journal if you’re already a writer?
Why journal if you’re not a writer?
Those are two very good questions. And the answer to both is related. Morning pages aren’t, precisely, writing. They’re written, yes; but they’re not writing in the sense that they aren’t intended for anyone’s eyes but our own. We can be petty, we can have poor grammar and spelling, and we can just begin to have a relationship with ourselves in the quiet of our own minds.
When I started doing morning pages, I figured that I’d do it for a while, but not forever. That was a loooong time ago, and I still do them daily. What I find is that on the days I do them, I feel calmer and more grounded. If I skip a day, or two, then I feel like the velocity of the things in my life speeds up out of control and I get snowed under.
They’re best when done by hand. The more I write and think about it, I find that journaling must be done by hand because there are insights we gain when using only one hand that we don’t glean from typing on a keyboard. For one thing, it slows our thoughts down enough that we can see them, because we generally don’t handwrite as fast as we think. For another thing, the simple kinesthetic process of moving the pen or pencil across the page is calming. It’s routine. It’s tactile.
Even when I’m mid-book, face-down in edits, or otherwise overly busy with writing-related tasks, I find morning pages to be helpful. I will also, on occasion, journal throughout the day – whenever I need to slow my thoughts down or get centered in the moment so that I can move forward on a daunting task list.
So I suppose the answer to the question, “Why journal?” is, “Because it works.”