Unless you’re a professional writer completing an assigned project or story, what you write will very likely be connected to what you’re living right now. I think this is true whether you’re writing in your journal or working on a short story. The human personality is designed to be consistent with itself—the mind, emotions, spiritual sensitivities, and physical experiences form a whole person in a particular moment or on a particular day. What you write is influenced by your mood, your physical condition, the stresses of your day, the projects that require your energy, and the dreams and fears that lie underneath all of that.
This doesn’t mean that you will write directly about what you feel or think or need. But your real life will show up in your written words, whether you intend it or not. This is why journaling can be such an effective practice for interior and even physiological health. That deep down part of you—the soul that knows the truth and that seeks your best life and your best self—that part of you will keep bringing up the stuff you need to deal with. And if you write much, the soul will use the writing.
What you write may correspond with other needs, such as a project you’re completing for a newsletter or a blog post. The topic may not be so close to your personal experience right now. However, you will bring your experience to the task. You will write out of your personal well of memory, history, language, knowledge, desire, and gift. In this sense, all of your writing is personal, even if it isn’t. So it never hurts to ask yourself, in the midst of writing, “Why this project, at this time? Why did I agree to work on this? Why did anyone think to ask me to work on it?” Something in you is probably speaking to the work at hand, if only in a slight or peripheral way.
Consider what you are writing these days. Does it give you any clues about yourself?
Next week is our online writing retreat. Watch this introductory video to learn more.