I’ve taken to private journaling in the last six months. It’s a rewarding experience. This is the most consistency I’ve applied to capturing my thoughts and documenting them on paper. I love it. I’ve learned some things about myself, and used this practice to process. When I reach the end of the day, I spend a few minutes typing out my notes, and that often helps give voice to my emotions. This is a worthwhile effort, and at some level I want to keep it up going forward.
However, I’ve also used this as a crutch to avoid pushing my work out into the world. On a recent podcast interview with Joanna Penn, Derek Sivers shared his desire to create in public. He jokingly mentioned the reason: ego. While it sounds shallow on the surface, it’s worth some additional thought. Austin Kleon and Seth Godin share about shipping things to the world and not holding them to ourselves.
Because I’ve gone private and pushed my notes internal, I’m holding all these thoughts inside and not providing an outlet to share them, to learn from the feedback I receive, and hopefully to help someone else dealing with the same issues.
I don’t know what this means for me long term, but it’s enough to give me pause. I want to write to capture thoughts, to process my own way of thinking, and to use words to understand who I am. That can happen in private, and should. However, there’s an inherent value in packaging things up in a format meant for consumption. It forces me to coalesce all these divergent threads and put them together in a way that makes some kind of sense.
A recent book has gotten my brain back into the train of processing the importance of the things I try to tackle. So much of my default is to think about the past or future, and not focus on what I have in front of me. I love books that help bring that point back around and help me appreciate what I have.
Nearly three years ago, I committed to a daily habit of writing a thousand words a day, six days per week. I’ve kept to that since, even when writing in private. The practice has become a part of me. I don’t question whether I can write, because I do. There’s probably less value in hammering away at the words within seven minutes, versus taking some time to process and think through a coherent flow. Still, I’ve found so much value in writing and in the identity that comes with knowing I can transfer thoughts onto the page. It’s helped to break through some fears I’ve held and sharpened my ability to confront problems with words.
I’ll keep at it, and see what breaks through; public and private.