I’ve always been an inveterate list-maker. Maybe it’s because list-making reduces my stress. Or maybe it’s because I have to write things down in order to believe they are real.
About twenty years ago, I was undergoing a particularly stressful time. I was in the throes of changing jobs, moving to a new state, selling my house and buying a new one, hunting for a new school for my daughter, and saying goodbye to friends. There was a lot to do. My lists were long, and getting longer.
No matter how diligently I wrote everything I had to do on my ever-growing lists, I was haunted by the feeling that there was something I was forgetting. I was sure it was an important something.
But the only time I remembered what that something was, was when I was asleep. Nearly every night I’d have the same dream – I dreamt I remembered the something. I would wake up, breathe a sigh of relief, and go back to sleep.
The next mornings I remembered having the dream, remembered waking up, remembered the relief -- but I never remembered the “something” itself.
This cycle repeated three, four, sometimes five times a week for two or three months. I spent many of my waking moments trying to remember my dreams or figure out what the something was that I was forgetting.
Finally one night when I woke up after the dream, I got out of bed, stumbled across the room to my desk, and scribbled “the something” down on a scrap of paper, making a list. Then I stumbled back to bed and fell back to sleep.
In the morning when I awoke, again I remembered the dream, remembered waking up, and still did not remember the something. Ah, but that didn’t matter now! I had written it down on a list! Saved at last! I scampered over to my desk, excited and filled with curiosity about what I would find.
This is what my list said:
???? To this day I have not figured out what those words meant. I do not know what my subconscious was trying to tell me. Maybe it was just playing a joke on my conscious mind – you know, kind of a “gotcha.” But the really interesting thing is that from that time onward, my feeling of having forgotten something important went away and never came back.
I have come to believe that the point of this story is that what you write is not as important as the act of writing.
|Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of professional and compelling books and articles. She has authored 6 books of her own, and ghostwritten more than 30 non-fiction books and memoirs. To learn more about her books or services, visit Primary-Sources.com.|