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  • Writer's pictureJay Ashcroft

Does Journaling Work? What I Learned From 730 Days of Daily Writing


a photo of philosophical thoughts for a blog written mindset hacker for small business and being an entrepreneur using your subconscious mind and writing every morning

There aren’t many habits that have been consistently in my life for 2 years – well except maybe smoking cigarettes, a nasty little escapist tendency that I was only able to kick to the curb this year.

 

I’ve tried lots of things. Running was great for maybe 6 months – but I kept blowing out my ankle. Waking up at 5 was life changing for a time – but it wasn’t sustainable. Daily meditation is the best way imaginable to understand yourself and others, however that’s also ebbed and flowed over the course of the past decade.

 

And then we get to writing every morning. For the past 2 years or so, I have been writing every single day. I have all of these little leather bound books stacked nice and neatly on my shelf, signed and dated by me.


So, does journaling work? Here's what I learned from 730 days of daily writing.

 

You see, no matter what, since the end of 2021 I’ve been waking up every single morning, and within a half an hour I’m sitting down and dumping every thought that comes into my mind, writing 3 pages minimum.

 

It’s not good writing, most of it is probably actually pretty cringe worthy if I were to look back on it. But sharing is not this kind of writing’s intention. This kind of writing serves a different purpose entirely.

 

I call this morning writing routine my “brain dump”. You know when you wake up sometimes, and your mind just starts racing? It goes through every single thing you have to do, everything you’ve done, and it can get out of hand pretty quickly.

 

My solution? Write – just write anything. Let it flow from you with zero judgement and zero interference from your thinking brain. Doing so helps to clear your head, organize your thoughts and get on with a concrete plan on how to accomplish your goals.

 

Want to do this for yourself? Here are 5 tips that you can use today to get started.

 

1.    Pick your notebook. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – unless you want it to be. Grab one from any business store, or book store. Once you get a good feel for what you like you can definitely just order these online. Be honest with yourself regarding the notebook, choose one that speaks to you.

 

2.   Pick a good pen. A carpenter wouldn’t use a crappy hammer, so why would you use a crappy pen? Now, you don’t need to break the bank here – but use something that feels good in the hand, and makes you want to use it.

 

3.    Start writing. As a rule, you need to write at least 3 pages. Why 3 pages? I make myself write at least 3 pages because it forces me to skip the edit. Because I need to fill those pages up, I just dump everything and anything that comes to mind. Doing this allows you to let go of aimless thoughts that can otherwise interfere with the productivity of your day.

 

4.    Don’t read it back to yourself until you’ve forgotten what you wrote. The intention of this kind of writing isn’t to produce genius works of literature. It’s a brain dump – treat it as such. Why would you dump everything out of your mind, and then read it to reabsorb it again? If you are going to read it, take a peak back through these things months or even a year later. I can’t even put a price on how many times I’ve been able to connect the dots on a present day problem by reading back through my journals.

 

5.    Keep it organized. Date everything and stack the journals side by side, in chronological order. As the months go on, these journals can become a valuable framework for your life’s story. And let’s face it, I think everyone wants to live a life that’s worth writing a story about. Write your own – and look back on it in solitude when you need to reconnect with something you feel you may have lost. I know I have many times, and it’s always comforting and encouraging.

 

Writing every morning truly changed my life. It’s become one of those happy accidents that just kind of stuck with me for the past 730 days. So, have fun with it – follow your gut and write from the heart, and enjoy the benefits as they grow with you over the months and years.

 

To Your Success,

Jay Ashcroft         

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