Verbal journalling.

I’m going to confess something to you: I’ve never journalled.

Journalling is talked about so much in the wellness field.

Don’t get me wrong – I get it! In Matthew McConaughey’s book, Greenlights, he talks about journalling as being the one thing that has kept him on course towards his goals throughout his life. By journaling through both good times and bad, he’s been able to get valuable insight: what’s happening when things are going well, and what’s changed when they’re not going so well. It’s a barometer of sorts, and he swears by it.

But I’ve never done it. Maybe when I was 13, and I gushed to my diary about my latest crush and going to see Take That in concert. Perhaps in my 20s, when I was going through a depression, and I was encouraged to keep a happy journal by my GP. But it’s never been consistent.

Maybe I’m reluctant because I spent years working as a marketing copywriter, and the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was write even more.

But I actually wonder if there’s something else going on for me.

Journalling is no doubt a beautiful way to dig up your deepest thoughts and feelings and give them some shape. But it’s a slow process. I don’t know about you, but my brain thinks faster than I can type, and certainly faster than I can handwrite.

I think there’s something about the writing process that seems to staccato my thoughts. Instead of being a smooth symphony of thinking, I find my thinking stagnating as I hurriedly try to get it all down on the page.

In effect, the objective of the journalling becomes the act of writing – not the thinking.

It occurred to me that a thinking session, on the other hand, is entirely free flowing. If something occurs to you, you can just say it. If you want to explore a train of thought, you can go ahead and do so unhindered. You can go through a complete maze of twists and turns with your thinking – all the handbrake turns, loop-the-loops and the dead ends – without having to stop to diligently scribble it all down.

And not only that: you have a soul to bear witness. Someone who is listening, encouraging, willing you forwards. Someone who will hear those deepest thoughts and ideas, and accept them without judgement. 

A thinking session is ‘verbal journalling’ of sorts. But for me, it’s far more potent than pen and paper can ever be.

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