#1 of Three Things That Changed My Life In 2018: Writing every single day

writing

1460 shots of espresso.

Six notebooks.

1200 pages.

Nearly 200 gel pens.

Almost 52 weeks.

I did not plan to write so extensively every single day of my life in 2018. It wasn’t a promise I made to myself at the end of last year.

It happened, though.

Words upon words upon words, and gallons of the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life.

Before this year, I took time most days to write a few words about my thoughts and intentions, but I usually didn’t go beyond a few sentences or bullet points.

What changed?

For a woman who wrote 1200 pages of words this year, I’m having trouble putting words to all of the reasons as to why I did this, except to say that I think that, foremost, it was one way of dealing with the depression I have lived with for almost the entire year.

I want to stress that it was not the way, but one way.  I had lots of other help, too.

I’m not willing to be vulnerable enough yet to talk about the causes that contributed to that struggle, but if you’ve followed my blog this year or read some of my social media posts, I’ve made clear references to my walk with depression and anxiety and it’s been a pendulum of feeling something like an unhappy restlessness all the way to downright despair. I also had stretches of being physically and emotionally tired and not knowing why.

I make myself talk about it, though, because people generally won’t, and when we don’t, we further stigmatize it and are shocked when we learn that seemingly “well” people are suffering or die as a result.

I’d bet you’d ask me about my recovery if I had breast cancer, but I can count on one hand the number of people who asked about my recovery with this. I’m not feeling sorry for myself; I’m just laying out the facts.

Talking about it is life-giving.

Writing about it is life-giving. It made me feel less alone. It made me see the depression as a companion of mine, but not the driver of my life.

The words made my life come alive instead of sitting in my mind festering and feeling alone or ashamed.

I didn’t sit around every morning writing deep, dark thoughts, either. In fact, most mornings, I made observations about the beautiful signs of life around me.

I wrote about the people I would start to see all of the time while I sat in that coffee shop where I write seven days a week (I’m there very early; I come in as early as 6:45 a.m. some days).

I wrote down plans for myself instead of focusing on the dead ends I would feel. Writing things down would help me make those things happen.

I emptied it all out onto the pages so I could more clearly tune into the healer that I am and help my own clients with their mental health.

I think those of us who know the struggle of depression intimately can be the best healers for those who come to us with similar struggles. If I take of me, I can take care of them. And that’s what I did.

So, page after page, and day after day, I got better. I was writing the story of my life and could go back and see patterns and ebbs and flows that taught me how to take better care of myself.

I came up with ideas for my work when I thought all of my creativity was gone.

I wrote at least 10 things on my gratitude list every single day.

I wrote to my future self and told me how this was all a path to something more beautiful and transformative than I could see at the moment.

Writing made me a walking miracle every single day. It helped me keep my business growing when I didn’t want to get out of bed and do it. I knew the pages (and the coffee) would be there for me and I could keep going.

The more I wrote, the more I encouraged my clients to write — it probably got to the point, actually, where I implored them to write as much as possible because it promised healing and important self-discovery.

I wanted them to put pen-to-paper — not the false satisfaction that comes with putting stuff in the NOTES of your phone. It’s not the same.

Writing with pen and paper requires devotion. You become more devoted to yourself, your well-being and what you want out of life. You get it out of your head and it sits right in front of you in black and white.

It’s a beautiful confrontation when that happens — the words, your eyes, and your mind. What are you going to do with it?

When I went to the coffee shop to write every morning, I also gave myself the bonus of a community that I’ve come to love. They’re my “coffee family” — I’m like an extra mom to 7 or 8 young baristas who make my beverage every day.

I met a guy who’s writing a book every single day he’s there.

I talk to a 4 year old girl named Lucy who wears crowns and sparkly shoes when her dad comes into the shop.

I got a barista to do a burpee and some jumping jacks when she just couldn’t crank her energy up during a shift (there was no one in the store but us lol).

Writing doesn’t have to be in isolation; it can create connection.

There’s a meme floating around that looks like it has some research behind it, but it may just be bullshit — I still like it, though. It states that people who write things down are 42% more likely to carry them out. It also says that people who write things down and tell people about them are 78% more likely to make them happen.

I wrote about my life every day and I helped myself get well. I finally feel really good after months of therapy, calibrating medicines and … writing.

I wrote about my life every day and I created a thriving 1:1 practice, a retreat, coaching programs, seminars, speaking engagements, blog posts every damn week, and articles for magazines. I saved my career instead of letting it get smothered by pain and doubts.

I wrote every day and made more money for my family this year than ever before (there will be another upcoming post exclusively about this).

My husband has always told me that he sees me as a writer first and foremost. Yes, I am a healer and instigator of change in my counseling and coaching work, but I have always known — since I was about 8 years old — that I’d always come home to the words.

Maybe there’s a book to be born and I’ll close up my practice someday to finally create and publish that. I have no idea what it would be about; I’ll just have to see.

In the meantime, you’ll find me at the corner of Norris Place and Speed Avenue, embracing life every day with coffee and words.

Do you write at all in your life that’s just for you? Why or why not?

How can you create a writing practice that you’re devoted to? What do you need to do to make that happen (get up earlier, write at night when the family has settled down, or maybe during part of your lunch break)?

What’s your dream of what could happen if you made the time to put pen-to-paper each day? What would be a miracle?

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