Makeover Monday: Dreaming with Pen and Paper

I carry small notebooks and notecards with me everywhere I go. They’re full of odd bits of ideas and scattered pieces of dreams, some in progress, others on the horizon. And some already in place. I recorded my Reasons Why in my notebook, as well as the health goals you see in my sidebar. There’s something about putting ink to paper that helps my brain sort things out and see possibilities.

In her book Write It Down, Make It Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser refers to a notebook like mine as “a suggestion box for the brain.” I like that. I like it a lot.

Writing down our dreams and aspirations activates the part of our brains that sorts out the important from the mundane, setting a filter, of sorts, to monitor the events around us and pull in any details that might be important.

And those details are all around us, waiting for us to pounce!

To borrow an analogy from Ms. Klauser, if you’ve ever bought a new car, you’ve no doubt noticed that suddently the streets were filled with cars of the same make, model, and color. Was there an overnight production run? No, they were always there. We just didn’t see them.

Writing down our dreams and goals increases our awareness of the events going on around us. We notice things that previously passed us by. We’ll likely notice so many things that it will be difficult to remember them all. Another good reason to keep pen and paper nearby!

The truly good news is that beginning this habit doesn’t really require much of an investment. Paper, pen or pencil, and time–that’s all you need! You can choose something as simple as a spiral-bound memo book, as elaborate as a bound journal, or something in between for your writing. Or if you’re someone who travels lightly throughout the day, a simple index card tucked in the back pocket will do. (That’s what writer Anne Lamott does, and it seems to have worked out well for her.)

What you write with is another matter of choice. I love the scritch-scritch-scritch of pencil on paper, but I also love writing in bright colors. Currently, I’m dreaming with a red pen.

While writing down goals, ideas, and observations as they occur throughout the day is good, it’s also important to set aside time and place for wide-open dreaming. It could be a comfy chair in an out-of-the-way place in your house or a favorite coffee/tea shop. Although it may sound strange, my favorite place for dreaming with ink and paper is a McDonald’s near my house. I’ve had some of my best ideas ever while sitting on their patio watching the traffic go by and letting my mind roam. Pick a place that lets your imagination work freely.

Speaking of imagination, if you’re going to dream, dream BIG. When you’re writing down your dreams, don’t let any idea pass by undocumented–no matter how impossible or silly it may seem! You don’t believe me? Perhaps Marianne Williamson‘s words will speak more loudly than mine:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

That’s a sometimes-true statement for me. I fear failing, but there are times when I fear succeeding even more. (I’m working on it, I’m working on it.) Writing down those fears gets them out into the open as opposed to bouncing around my brain untended.

Whatever your dreams, whatever your goals–getting them out of your brain and onto paper is a concrete step of faith, a statement that you believe in yourself and in your dream.

So, what are you waiting for? Get to writing! I did:


If you care to share your dreams with us, please do in your comments. If you’d rather keep your dreams to yourself (for now, anyway), that’s cool, too. Just make sure you honor them by writing them down.

Happy Monday to all!