Do you remember when you were still in school and your teacher used to give you assignments to write a review on a particular movie, or to keep a daily journal? You may have been one of those students who didn’t like doing it.

I personally enjoy writing, but for some unknown reasons I almost forgot about it until last year, when I stumbled upon a book called The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. The exercise she describes is called The Morning Pages. The main idea is that every day write three pages of a long stream of consciousness.

After doing this exercise every day for about a month, I feel like I made some good progress, both on a personal level and as maker. It feels like I have regained my inner voice and managed to mute the perfectionist inside me.

Journaling clarifies your thoughts

Do you sometimes struggle to go to sleep because there are too many things going on inside your head? In my experience, when you write things down you start to see what your mind has be trying to figure out, and some problems you are experiencing just become more clear.

There is a popular productivity hack called a brain dump, where you just dump all the tasks and ideas you have inside your head so that you can easily visualize them. When you write things down, your mind will be clear and you will be able to easily consider your challenges and possibly decide how to address them.

Our mind is capable of accomplishing great things, but it is not the best tool to store of thoughts. If you just keep your thoughts inside your head, it might slow you down from actually executing.

Journaling helps you identify patterns

When you write consistently, you will start seeing patterns emerging. For example, you will notice if you are often writing about yourself negatively. It will give you the necessary hint that it’s time to address those patterns.

Other times, if you are undecided on certain things, reading through your journal will help you see a common theme that will help you decide which action to take next.

Journaling helps you find your own voice

Of course I’m not referring to being able to sing in front of a large audience. Your voice is about who you are and what you really want to accomplish.

As indie makers and in our personal lives, it’s very easy to get carried away with a society that keeps on telling us what we should do. Journaling can help remind ourselves of who we really are, and learn how to express it better.

Journaling exercises your creativity

When you write regularly, you start seeing something magical that happens. Every day, you always ask yourself: what should I write about?

This simple exercise is really powerful as an indie maker to come up with ideas on how to improve yourself, how to improve your product, how to better market your product, how to connect with people, how to share your knowledge, and more. You just become more creative.

Journaling creates a database of your learnings

It is a great feeling when you see your old journals with all of your thoughts, struggles, and experiences. It serves as a snapshot of who you were before and what you were trying to accomplish at the time. Seeing your progress is often very satisfying.

You could keep it to yourself, or use it to share your learnings with the world. Other people may benefit from these life lessons. By sharing your own personal journey, you could create a path for other people who will have the same ambitions as you and who could learn from your stories.

By sharing your stories you become a more relatable person. This will give you an advantage over bigger companies. People who connect with you through your authentic storytelling are more likely to buy from you.

If you want to give it a try, give The Morning Pages exercise a try. And if you are ready to share your thoughts with the world and want to be accountable, you can try 200 Words a Day.

This post was originally published in MakerMag