The Writing Mirror

Self-portrait 12-04-18

A while back, I met with a fellow writer and when I told her that I was not writing – she said: “You are. You are writing your journal every day!” Although I considered the process to be more like washing my dirty laundry, I had to agree. On arriving back at home, I opened up my journal and saw my reflection in it. It was like a mirror of my days. I would not want to share them, but they offered some light.

Scribbles filled the pages, the style was rough, content was either unpalatable or plain boring, yet I could not help noticing some tiny gems in between the lines. When I flipped through the weeks and the months, pictures emerged – mostly self-portraits. Most of us don’t like to look at ourselves in the mirror or, for that matter, see some pictures of ourselves. We often like to look at pictures of others, though; noticing the changes, seeing the ageing process, recognising the timeless features of a person.


I then read a chapter of Zen Habits, which talked about the value of writing a regular blog, not as a finished creation but rather as a learning process. The author suggests a daily practice of journal writing. As usual, his advice is to start small: only one sentence a day.

We may not like to read what we have written either, but perhaps someone out there will. The trick, perhaps, is to be concise and remain authentic. So, here it is, my second attempt at journaling – minimally:

“My morning through verbs: cleansing, drinking, reviewing, lightening, stretching, bending, breathing, cuddling, meditating, dreaming, driving, weeding, writing, running, handling (a slow worm), wishing, forecasting, talking, eating, shaving, washing, editing, and posting.”

The shorter it is, the more time it gives me to work on the novel – which is in fact what my writing friend urged me to do.


Photos: self-portraits (2012-2015)

This blog is part of a renewed 42-day writing challenge inspired by Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits Book.