To warn you, there may be a sense of irony in my words today. I’m going to write about writing. My mom used to always say to me, “A short pencil is better than a long memory.” The older I’ve gotten, you know my 22 years of wisdom, I have learned how important that really is.
It is so true that the writing something down will help you remember it. Let’s be honest, how great does it feel to cross items off of your to-do list? Pretty darn awesome. And, are you actually going to remember your dentist appointment if you don’t write it in your agenda? Probably not. I don’t know about you, but writing things in my agenda totally makes me feel like I have my life together. Even if it never really is. Writing things down goes beyond your to-do lists and agendas though. It reaches your memories. It scrapes the outskirts of your mind. The type of writing I’m talking about is journaling.
At the beginning of 2016, I decided I was going to start journaling daily. For years I have wanted to do this. Write down bits and pieces about my day. Or gush about life and where I am being lead. So, that is exactly what I did. Starting on January 1, 2016 I began keeping a daily journal. A diary of sorts. Disclaimer, this isn’t some “Dear Diary,” mushy, gushy, confessing my love type of thing. It’s just me writing down whatever comes to my mind.
I don’t challenge myself to write a certain amount each day. I don’t force myself to write about certain topics. I just write. It feels so good to put pen to paper. And to be completely honest, if I handed you my journal right now, and you read it, you’d probably find it boring. There aren’t any hidden messages, or scandalous secrets. In reality, it helps me clear my head. Sometimes, a person has a want to share their thoughts without actually sharing them. At the risk of sounding crazy, writing feels like I’m talking to someone without actually doing so. It’s a way to express myself. I find it fun. Each night, I look forward to sitting down on my bed and letting my pen do the talking.
Throughout this process, I think to myself, how fun it will be to read my writing, my thoughts, my love, my words, my anger, my optimism, in the future. Look back at my early 20s and what was important to me. Read where I thought my life was going and compare it to where it is. Chuckle about things that seemed so monumental but were only trivial. I know I’ll read about things, I never even remembered happened. That’s the beauty of writing things down. It jogs your memory. It reminds you of laughs, and tears, and smiles, and spilled cups of coffee, and family. It reminds you of life.
Next time you pick up a pen to write your to-do list or grocery list, write a little something for yourself too. Write some magic or maybe some madness. I promise, you’ll thank yourself. You’ll inspire yourself. You don’t have to be the next J.K. Rowling or Jane Austin. You just have to be you. Have fun with it. If you don’t like it, thats okay. But I really hope you do. Use your short pencil to create a long memory.