writingMy friend and I write together all the time.

Today, we tried to remember how long we’ve been writing—it’s been almost every day for more than a decade.

When we first started, we had both been writers in various moments—spontaneous bursts of creativity where we’d write like mad for a month, then not for a year.

Lots of articles, a hopelessly incomplete journal, almost a whole book written in a manic all nighter that sounded ridiculous when we finally had gotten enough sleep.

Rejection letters stapled to the wall as fuel to keep going.

The practice of writing everyday has changed things.

Early in, we would pick a subject and then set a timer and put our hands on the keyboard and start writing. writing stories

We’d commit to have our hands not stop moving until the time timer went off.

This was a great practice in stream of consciousness writing – in getting what’s in my head out….it really taught me to move beyond my rational thinking and logic and write from my heart and my gut.

Many mornings, my writing would start off with me retyping the same sentence over and over I don’t know what to write about, I hate this worthless dumb idea, I don’t know what to write, I hate this worthless dumb idea, I don’t’ know what to write about…..

Inevitably, the words would start flowing and I’d find my voice.

I actually don’t think it ever didn’t begin to flow.

The daily practice turned into a way of life.

Writing is the way I empty my head—mostly, as soon as it comes from my fingers it’s left me completely—worries, fear, ideas, struggles, sadness, joy….  Getting it out in this way empties me in the healthiest of ways.

I’ve built companies, healed friendships and mended many fences because of this practice.

I’ve gotten to know myself in the most intimate of ways.

What have I learned most?

To not necessarily trust how I feel in any given moment.

Now that I have years worth of daily brain dumps, a constant flow of saying what I’m “certain” of, expressing exactly how I feel… I can look back and recognize the enormous inconsistency.

Countless times I’ve written a manifesto, only to go back a few days later and find it almost unrecognizable.

This has been the greatest gift in my life— learning to sit with things, to trust that what is real for me takes time to percolate.

Only when something has stickiness do I recognize it to be my truth…. When it seems to hang out around and in me for a while, when it comes out in similar ways over and over again.

I’ve made irreparable, enormous mistakes when I acted on an idea or in an emotional moment..  when I jumped instead of sitting still and waiting for it to stick.

And, I’ve also made enormous gains by jumping… by trusting that things always work out and that momentum of any kind almost always beats the opposite.

The two seem counter intuitive, I know.

But, somehow, it’s knowing when to hold and when to jump that makes it all work.

Over and over again, meditation gives me the space and writing creates the path.

Mary, my partner in crime, you’ve given me the keys to my inner kingdom and I’m so thankful. writing beach