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Before I write, I mostly journal in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. I look at it as my warm-up, just like mini-tennis before I move to the baseline in a practice session. Many times, journaling loses me in some place I don’t intend to go. It seems like a waste of time. However, I’ve come to believe, much like meditation, it has a deeper effect that is healthy for my brain. Not judging the “quality” of my journaling / meditation is key.

Journaling leads me on paths I never intended. I do it be hand. I’m writing by hand a lot more these days, at least in my rough drafts. Eventually it has to go into a computer if I want to publish. Not everything is publishable anyway. Then it remains trapped in the four sides of my yellow legal pad—my current place of longhand.

There is something about using my hand to write physically with ink or pencil. A reality. My hand hurt at first. The muscles atrophied from writing less as I became dependent on keyboards to keep up with my thoughts. I find that now, I like making my thoughts wait to hit the paper. The slowness of my cursive gives me more time to marinate thoughts instead of instantly releasing them. The ache feels good. The pause to let my cramping palm relax, while my brain drifts.

Like meditation, there’s not a ton to say about it. There’s tons to say about it. But none of it is satisfactory. I’ll leave it there.

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