#phdchat, PhD, Professional Development, Reflections

Finding Thoughts and Ideas In [750] Words

After I finished my undergraduate degree from U of Guelph, I was ready to move forward and move fast. I had a few different options and I was accepted into a couple of professional /graduate schools; however I decided to take a break from academics to really sort out what I wanted to while living in an “unsemestered” world [too many options, and not sure where to go]. I spent some time in my quarter-century crisis (I think I was 22) learning more about my own interests through meeting new people, participating in the community, travelling to new places, learning new skills (visual design, reflexology, etc), and working some random odd jobs (sales/marketing, bartending, nanny, educational assistant, banquet serving, etc.).   Being an avid reader, I often picked up a book or two that even supported my self-exploration and career awareness, including such finds as  Do What You Are and  The Artist’s Way. [I think this is why I enjoy connecting with my undecided and exploring students in my current job.]

I suppose some of the self-help or self-awareness reads brought out some of my ideas and next steps. For example, The Artists Way provided a weekly approach to tapping into ones creativity and helped to establish personal/professional goals.  I appreciated the various exercises this text included; however the one that stood out was the morning pages. Each morning you were encourage to write 3 pages – not  to be creative but rather as a practice to clear your mind. Through the process of personal, stream-of-consciousnesses writing, you remove the “junk” in head which frees up some space for creative thoughts/ideas. I had left this practice behind and forgot all about it until I was reminded in @evalantsoght ‘s recent blog post –  The writer’s little helper. [Thanks!]

In thinking about all I want and need to accomplish this next year, I thought it might be wise to put some of this regular writing into practice. On campus I sometimes where all hats – student, staff and faculty – and sometimes I feel as though I loose focus between projects and deadlines. I think that daily writing will let me keep my stress levels in check and also allow me to process ideas and reading that I consume. Thanks to both #phdchat and Eva, I have welcomed the morning pages routine back into my life using the 750words. I have been using the 750words for just one week. So far, I have found this practice of personal, reflection quite calming. If you happen to connect with me on the social web, you will see that I am open and transparent learner/educator. This new space is an excellent, quiet location to place my private thoughts and meditate on my own.

In looking at my writing analytically (750words DOES provides stats), it is beneficial to learn what I am thinking about and understand my personal attitude each morning. Although I have not stumbled on any fantastic research gems or writing ideas just yet; I believe that this process will leave me with more space to connect the nodes. Overall, the 750words have left me feeling engaged and motivated to have a productive day.   Have you every wondered what your words/thoughts are saying? If so, you can try on these private,  online writing spaces:





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