“Write it all down” was perhaps the best advice I received during my years venturing as a nomad. I wrote everyday for over 11 months in South America, and beyond. It was a simple journal, detailing occurrences, thoughts, feelings, information, business ideas, drawings, interview quotes and, eventually, stories.
But how can someone without any writing experience make journaling worthwhile?
Well, as with most self-discovery techniques, journaling is best practiced with continuity. I wrote through and collected 9 eclectically-sized notebooks stuffed with blurbs of thought and extensive accounts detailing peak experiences.
You just have to tell yourself to do it every day. . . and then listen to yourself.
Often the secrets of your writings don’t reveal themselves until months later. You are practicing for the next time you will talk about (or maybe even write about) the subject. You are telling yourself the story first, by writing it in detail—intentionally choosing the best words—as to practice for when you tell it on a podcast, or to a potential lover, or even to your best friend upon the evening of your return, when they pick you up from the airport.
(Because somebody always has to pick you up from the airport.)
Sometimes a seemingly mundane detail—like what you ate for breakfast—can reveal subtle, yet significant insights. . .
. . . that eventually lead to self-explanation, spiritual growth and, hopefully, a more poetic version of your truth.
Even if you never look at the writing again, simply commiting to do something everyday creates the capability for you to consistently do anything everyday. Whether that be practicing a new language, daily meditations, or being a grateful person on a regular basis—continuity is the key.
Of course, the writing doesn’t have to be for an audience: it’s for yourself, at first.
You will eventually want to share these runes with a lover or your family . . . I guarantee you that. Or you could be like me and write a 437 page memoir documenting verbose descriptions of all the major locations along with theatrical renditions the most memorable occurrences and interaction that passed.
Some of these occurrences never actually happened, which natrurally led to my current obsession (and probably life-long passion) for writing fiction. We’ll see where that Muse takes me, but I know for a fact she only found me in the first place because I said I would write everyday. She is the only lover from that trip who I still see on a regular basis.
With practice writing becomes a healthy articulation of feeling that can lead to a richer recollection of past events—and even present clarity. In an age so jam-packed with fast, vague information, a few moments of written reflection can eliminate invisible layers of subconscious anxiety.
It is every bit of a mindfulness meditation.
It accentuates smaller details and provides an intellectual freedom only limited by your current vocabulary.
And your writing style will evolve depending on what projects you decide to take on. Would I recommend starting a 437 page memoir the day you get back home? Honestly, go for it—if you have the time. I was living with my grandma when I wrote that book, which is called Wildchild. My goal was two pages a day. Again with the repetition. It took me exactly one year to write.
Will I ever share this book with the world at large? If I see an appropriate reason to. I may share parts of it on this blog from time to time. But I do not intend for it to be any sort of debut.
These days, I rarely write a personal journal. I might start up again someday. My time has been focused almost exclusively for the past two months on a novella called The Successful Exorcist, which I am incredibly proud of but still may never share with the world at large. Who knows? I’m not even done with it yet.
Later today I will re-read those journals from South America, and probably find some gold nuggets that I will throw into the novella. The writing paints an emotional picture of the story I lived, but the real story starts as soon as you pick up the pen…
Stay wild folks,