Writing Advocate, Scott Mawdesley preaches the practice of writing one line a day to bring clarity to your life
By: Rachel Pillow
The concept of “Write One Line” is so simple, yet seems so revolutionary at the same time. It is amazing how such a straightforward idea to literally write one line a day can have such profound, long-term effects. Scott Mawdesley, Writing Advocate and Founder of “Write One Line,” has been journaling for over 20 years, but discovered that he was always pretty inconsistent with it. “There would be periods of my life where I’d be writing every day, but then I’d find gaps that cover the span of months or years,” he admitted. Today, Mawdesley sets a reminder in his phone that alerts him at 9pm each night to “take 90 seconds and write one line.” The point is to not put pressure on yourself or to write something profound for pages on end. And, the beautiful, leather-bound journals simply make the practice more fun and more enjoyable. “Complexity often leads to confusion, and when we can simplify our lives it leads to clarity,” said Mawdesley. Thus, the simple practice of writing one line a day.
The journals were born out of a hobby, but have grown into much more in recent years. “I remember as a kid seeing my grandfather in his workshop and I always loved the idea of working with my hands. So, several years ago I picked up a few rolls of leather and my knife and started making leather products, including these journals, which people started asking me for,” he explained. Now available online at writeoneline.com and in local stores, including American Redemption in Suwanee and Books for Less in Buford, the handmade journals are meant to last a lifetime. Each journal includes two replaceable inserts. The idea behind having two books in one journal is to have one side for professional development and the other side for personal reflection. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, so each leather journal includes a companion guide with prompts, questions and ideas such as,”What did you do today that will make tomorrow better?” or “What was the most important thing you learned today?”
Scott Mawdesley is also the Campus Pastor at 12 Stone Church in Sugarloaf where he has the opportunity to minister to people of all ages and he has discovered that the “write one line” practice is a powerful tool for any age group and any walk of life.
“Part of the journey for me has been teaching my children to journal, because if I had been doing this at a young age it could have served me so well,” he said. In fact, his own 11-year-old son recently found a journal that he wrote in at age six during a trip with his dad, and they had a great time reflecting on memories and little details that would probably otherwise be forgotten. “I believe if the next generation loses the art of putting pen to paper then we’re losing a lot,” said Mawdesley.
“So many of our memories are now going here [pointing at phone] or on social media and there have been studies that show that when you compare technology versus pen-to-paper, there’s actually no comparison – paper far and away is a more powerful way to capture memories, at a physiological and psychological level,” explained Mawdesley.
Putting pen to paper has proven to be very important for personal and professional development, as seen in a Harvard MBA Business School Study where the 3% of Harvard MBA graduates who had written down their goals and plans were making, on average, ten times the amount of their fellow alumni that had not clearly defined and written down their goals. In this regard, Mawdesley also leads workshops for executives and business professionals called “Making Leadership Personal” where he guides individuals and businesses through the practice of developing their own personal mission statements, as well as their personal core values, in order to help people intentionally live out the vision and mission of their own lives.
As a new year begins many people use it as a time to “reset” and to establish new goals and resolutions. Mawdesley has developed a habit of going through his journal at the end of each year to reflect and see if there is anything he wants to work on for the year ahead. He explained, “Journaling really allows you to reflect, but it also allows you to dream. If we know where we’ve come from and have the ability to convey our dreams about where we’re going, then it brings us into the present in a more powerful way: we get to make the most of today.”