Do you ever feel . . . like a plastic bag? 🎵
But seriously, do you ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something?
As I've been packing and unpacking books over the last week or so, I came across a book I hadn't looked at in a while: The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Essentially, it's about unblocking yourself so your creativity can flow.
One of the first practices Cameron recommends is what she calls the morning pages. Every day (not necessarily in the morning), you write three pages of material about whatever comes to mind and don't reread it. Not for a certain amount of time, at least.
Coincidentally—or not?—a freelancing course that I'm taking also recommends journaling for ten minutes per day about whatever is on your mind.
Over the years, I've put together what I think is at least part of the purpose behind these recommendations. As you probably know, when we feel threatened, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode. We get flooded with adrenaline and stress hormones, our heart and respiratory rates go up, and our senses zero in on the hazard. These reactions can save our lives when another car suddenly swerves into our lane or an angry dog comes charging at us.
The problem? As smart as our bodies are, they can't tell the difference between a genuine threat to our lives and something that might simply cause inconvenience, discomfort, or embarrassment. Whatever the perceived danger, our bodies react the same way. And those reactions take up so much of our working memory—the part of our brain that helps us handle the here-and-now—that it makes it hard to think rationally or creatively about a problem.
By journaling, we get distracting thoughts and fears out of our heads and free up our working memories. Anything we really need to remember is now recorded, so we can devote all our brainpower to the task at hand. Maybe that's why we often feel purged if we write about our negative feelings. Perhaps even more importantly, this process can also help us discover bigger underlying problems that we need to deal with so we can carry on in happy, healthy ways. (Journaling, for example, is how I got my first inkling that I had PTSD, though I didn't fully understand that until years later.)
So if you've been struggling with writer's block, try journaling about whatever's on your mind. The results might surprise you.
P.S. Thank you to those of you who've given me feedback about possible service packages. Keep it coming!
(Thanks to Toa Heftiba for sharing their work on Unsplash.)