I have pages in my leather journal of pieces of writing begun but never completed. Disparate ideas not fully formed, some containing promise, others just tosh best used to start a fire. But rather than be disappointed or anxious at the number of unfinished pieces, I have grown to respect my writing journal as a dumping ground of ideas, crackpot thoughts and obscure feelings. Perhaps dumping ground is the wrong description, a scrapyard would be more apt. A space where incomplete ideas wait, rusting a little, enduring time in order to be rescued for writing that I am not yet ready to produce.
As far as mental health is concerned the act of writing is incredibly cathartic. It has and always will be the confidant for my thoughts and feelings. As far as I have progressed over the last few years in sharing my depression it is still a challenge to talk about the darker side with those closest to me. Instead I use my journal in a staccato writing style to help me through when I need it. Finding that thing that helps you move forward is the most relieving thing, it’s like taking a deep full breath of air and being thankful for life.
As I write this post it sits next to a “rusting” piece, only one page long about my desire to remove technology from my life. It wasn’t meant to be ironic, but as you are reading this online, typed on my iPad and posted on social media I can’t help but be thankful I didn’t finish and publish it. I suppose it’s a love hate relationship when it comes to tech. I work in a tech company, I see it everyday and am affected by it’s addictive tendencies like anybody else with a beating heart and human brain. Inevitably I want to have a break from it from time to time, but the sad reality is that our lives have been forever altered by technology. I tried using a Nokia phone with buttons and lasted 5 days before reverting back to my iPhone. Yes I could do without social media, online banking at my finger tips and even the public transport apps. But trying to drive to an unknown place without a map app is like going back to 2002 when I carried an A-Z and road map in my car. Now that our norm has changed it is mentally painful to go backward. Especially when everybody else is doing something different.
In writing the previous paragraph I summed up what I wanted to say in the unfinished post better than what I had originally written. That is one of the many lessons I have learnt this year about writing and myself. Both need time and my own way of doing things in order to move forwards. For years I have read numerous books and listened to countless people talk about how best to write or improve your mind. Obviously this is from their experience and it is by no means wrong. It’s just not always right for those listening or reading. It hasn’t been until I started seeing a coach this year that I began to truly understand, giving myself the space and time to follow Frank Sinatra and “do it my way”.
For my writing finding my own way meant writing without a goal in mind, just creating and enjoying it. Some days I might write in my journal and others I might work on updating my book (available via my website and Apple Books ;-)) The main thing was to enjoy writing and write often regardless of the quality. When it came to training my mind I took what others had espoused as the best strategy and threw it out the window. Instead I took each day as it came, tried to talk to myself in a more positive manner and questioned my mind when it took a turn for the worse. Oh and I reminded myself to breath, apparently that is important.
So I come to the end of this post with one piece of advice. To ignore what worked for me. I won’t tell you how to live your life, no matter what similarities we might find in each other’s experience we are unique individuals. But do this, give yourself one red hot minute, breathe, smile and tell yourself “I am flipping unique”. I trust that you will work the rest out in your own way and in your own time, so should you.