Lately, I’ve been going through my old journals from back when I started taking myself seriously as a writer. The entries are often painful to read. I was so down on myself for not getting enough done. For procrastinating, wasting time. I wish I’d known then about a positive psychology intervention I started to put into practice six years ago. It has made a big difference in my writing life.
The intervention is simple: every night before bed, write about three good things that happened that day. Big or small, doesn’t matter. I got an essay accepted. I had a nice walk in the woods. This simple habit cultivates gratitude by training attention on what’s good in my life. Research shows this has long-lasting benefits, substantially lowering depression and anxiety.
This intervention is super helpful for writers. Our job is tough, filled with self-doubt. Writing down three good things about my writing every night has become an essential part of my daily practice. Instead of being so self-critical, I focus on what’s going well. Nothing fancy or profound. I put in two hours this morning. I came up with an idea I’m excited about. I’m grateful I can make art with words. Cultivating gratitude helps me push through resistance and get work done. It helps me enjoy writing a lot more, too.
How about giving three good things about YOUR writing a go? I’d be grateful if you do.