A few years ago I attended a workshop with Erica Jong, who implored us to write the story we absolutely had to tell or we would die. She also taught us to write something that unlocks who we are, encouraged us to be ourselves, and told us to discover and write in our own voice. But how do you know what your voice is if you never use it?
You don’t need to be an aspiring blogger, poet or novelist to heed these wise words. I always recommend that folks write as much as they can in order to get in touch with their inner selves; a journal is a place where you can be truly free to express who you are and what you need to say. When you’ve connected honestly and often enough to that internal, emotional voice, you will begin to reveal who you are and what is important to you — whether in career, relationships or life in general. We write what we need to read.
A journal is a place to clarify your feelings, share your ideas and experiences, release the past, and make plans for the future, all without judgment. Your journal is your best friend. At the very least it is a to-do list, for items big and small. The act of writing something down makes it real and tangible and helps crystallize the hurricane of thoughts and emotions we often have swirling around inside us.
The process of putting it all on the page can make us more effective in communicating what we need or want from others or ourselves — and actually make sense doing so! I also suggest using a pen and paper whenever possible. It’s more organic and raw when you take out the technological middle man.
If you access your authentic voice in writing, then, as Erica said, “being an author makes you an authority.”
You don’t have to be the next Maya Angelou, JD Salinger or Danielle Steele to be the author of your own life and truth. Just start by putting pen to paper, and you’ll soon be on the way to your own personal best-seller list before you can say Pulitzer Prize!
Originally published on www.kristinaleonardi.com on August 31, 2010
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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.
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