Life-Changing Magic of Putting a Pen to Paper

This time of year always hits like a ton of bricks. You know it’s coming, but there’s little more you can do to prepare than fill out all the forms that land in your hands, respond to all the emails, send out the information, and take a deep breath.

That has never been more true than this year, with a preschooler, a toddler starting part-time daycare, and a business undergoing some huge changes. I’ve spent these last few weeks making sure I’m covering all my bases where all of those things are concerned, so unfortunately the creative stuff has fallen to the wayside.

I was feeling pretty buried under ALL THE THNIGS this past weekend, despite my efforts to get it all into my calendar, Trello boards, and paper planner. So during naptime, I sat down with a journal and some pretty pens my business partner Katey had given me for my birthday. And I started writing.

I didn’t give myself any rules or guidelines before I started; instead, I just wanted to see what would come out of my pen. Not surprisingly, first came a brain dump. I wrote pages of upcoming events that needed prepping, little tasks at home and work, things I needed to pick up at the store, emails to send, etc. I felt much lighter after that, so I kept going.

Next, I started a list of blog posts I want to write. It’s been very quiet around here for way too many months, and I really miss having this outlet for sharing my thoughts and creative work. I’ve added blog post ideas to my Trello board here and there, but something about the act of writing them down on paper triggered topics that hadn’t even crossed my mind before. The ideas just kept flowing, and before long I had filled up two full pages.

The kids were still asleep, so I continued writing. I wrote about my goals for the week, month, and even the year. As overwhelming as this time of the year can be, it also feels like a fresh start (even moreso than January 1). My husband and I talk about our goals in a very general sense from time to time, and Katey and I talk about our goals for MTC on a regular basis, but taking the time to do that for myself — formulating them into actual words on paper — was really motivating.

By the time I put my pen down, almost an hour had passed…and I felt like a new person. All the anxiety and stress I had been experiencing up until that point had subsided, and I was excited to take action based on the writing I had done. Who would have thought opening up that journal with no expectations could turn out to be such an act of self-care?

Before I had kids, I was pretty devoted to writing “morning pages” (refer to the incredible book The Artist’s Way for more on that), an exercise which is very similar to what I did over the weekend. I have fallen off the wagon in the last several years, but clearly it is something I need to be doing on a much more regular basis.

After I work this habit back into my life, I will start Marie Kondo-ing my house, a’ la her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the title of which I borrowed for this blog post :) But, one thing at a time, right?