Lately I’ve found my internal thoughts a bit more chaotic than usual. We moved a family of seven to a new state, to a new community, and I began a new job. This brought numerous new things into our lives—many of which we anticipated—and more than a few we didn’t.
As things have sped up in my life recently I’ve felt the need to be even more intentional on slowing down my internal space. Two things in my life correlated to cause me to see this uniquely. First, I read this thought-proking article from the Harvard Business Review called The More Senior Your Job Title, the More You Need to Keep a Journal. Second, I bought a typewriter at a garage sale for a dollar (featured in the picture above). That got me thinking that a typewriter would slow me down enough to write differently and process through my thoughts. The only problem is that my typewriter doesn’t currently work. I plan on taking it into a shop to get looked at, but in the process I found a really cool app made by Tom Hanks called Hanx Writer.
I’ve never been one to journal, but I’ve started keeping a digital typewriter log of some of my more interesting days lately. The typewriter app invites my brain to slow down and intentionally think of the words I’m typing. The HBR article has helped me to see the value in putting words to the things I’m processing through in the course of a day. As Blaise Pascal once said, “All of humanity’s problems come from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” That might be a bit overstated, but in a world where high-profile leaders tweet half-baked ideas to the world, this might be a skill we all need to develop.
I don’t keep a log of every day, but I have found that days when my mind starts racing are great days to sit down at my little app and type away (if you have an iPad, the sounds and the experience feel pretty awesome). I’m even more convinced of our need to give our internal thoughts space instead of filling it constantly. Thinking and learning and processing happens in the free space, but the convenience of technology doesn’t allow much of that.
The busier you are, the more you could benefit from slowing down and writing out what things you are processing in your head. I’m not sure whether I’ll read through all these notes later, but I’ve already noticed the increased clarity of thought I’ve had from taking the time to do this. It’s also provided a place to type out some of my prayers as I go.
As the novelist Paul Theroux said (with a slight tweak for our purposes here): “The speed with which I write with a pen [or typewriter] seems to be the speed with which my imagination finds the best… words.”