Making Journaling a Habit

I am struggling to find time to write. I know I am not alone. I regularly receive journal entries from people posting on Medium who are struggling to write and who share the various devices they’re using to get themselves to write – e.g. calendar invites to yourself, journal prompts from other authors, time yourself for 15 minutes every day, etc. But still we all seem to struggle. And what’s crazy is that I love to write. So why don’t I do it? Do I not have anything to say? Or more to the point – do I have something to say that is worth reading? I felt when I was writing The Cancer Channel that the stories I was telling could possibly help others – and that belief is what encouraged me to keep writing. What do I need to believe now? Who is going to read / listen to me now?

My current working hypothesis is that I have failed to make it a habit. The people writing about how to institute a habit say that you need to do it for three weeks consistently and you will have some hope of adopting it as a habit. That’s another thing – the time I want to write is in the morning when I am competing with the other habits I’m trying to adopt like working out every day and/or reading every day. My single favorite time of the day is first thing – when I’ve woken up before my husband or daughter and I sit down in front of our (gas) fire with a cup of piping hot coffee. My world is quiet. I am cozy in a sweatshirt and slippers with my laptop warming my lap. My mind is clearer than it is at other times of the day when I am distracted or just trying to juggle the various parts of my life that make it so wonderFULL.

This past Saturday Geoff was sailing in a regatta and Rory’s BFF asked for an all-day playdate and her BFF’s mommy heroically agreed to host. I had FIVE HOURS TO MYSELF. I hardly knew where to start I was so excited by all that I would accomplish during this time when no one else could make a demand of me. I could write my own agenda for the day….and I was giddy. Somewhere about halfway through my reorganization of the pantry (sigh. It’s true.) I noticed I had started talking to myself. Outloud. When I caught myself doing it, I was transported back to junior high school when I first noticed my mother talking with herself as she puttered around the house picking up after the rest of us. “

“Who are you talking to, Mom?” I would demand.

“Oh. Just myself” she would say in an absent minded kind of way. I would, of course, respond with the requisite eye roll. Am I really surprised now when my 7year old rolls her eyes at me? I shouldn’t be. It is genetics (or perhaps karma) giving me what I gave to my mother.

Anyway – this fascinating conversation I was having in the pantry continued as I drove to Costco, Target, and DSW (also referred to as “the magical shoe shop”) to shop (“Oh go on – you neeeeeed a new pair of Converse….and they’re on sale!”) uninterrupted. I giggled outloud (because: who was listening?) as I continued the conversation with myself. I thought  to myself “Hey – this conversation I’m having with myself might make a great journal entry.”

Huh. Maybe I should write it down.

I guess the thing is: No one might read my journals. No one but me and maybe my editor, Nanette. And you know what? That’s ok. Maybe writing in great part is about capturing the conversations you’re having with yourself, for yourself. So here we start…15 minutes every day.

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