Regular journaling is an invaluable tool for building creativity. If you’re looking to increase your creative quotient or breathe new life into any medium, pick up a pen and paper and start journaling today. Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll reap from this inspirational practice.
1. Develop in private without pressure.
A journal is your private playground. You can experiment there freely, hone your craft, practice new ways of writing or try on new ideas for size. Since your journal is just for you, you are freed from the pressure of performing. There’s no feedback, which means you’re more likely to put words out there without censoring beforehand.
Journaling lets you practice. You can try different writing styles in your journal, stretching your repertoire and comfort zone.
2. Realize you can create whenever you want to.
Get used to generating something whenever you sit down. The myth of the “muse” can be a damaging proposition for creation. In reality, your ability to be creative is not dependent on some amorphous, fickle external power. It’s just you and your creativity.
You can prove this to yourself by committing to daily journaling. You’ll quickly learn that you can sit down and write, whether you want to or not. You’ll grow to realize that creativity is not limited. In fact, the more you use it, the more readily it flows. Daily journaling helps you tap into an abundance mindset where creativity can never be used up, and it’s available “on demand.”
3. Connect more fully with your environment.
If you choose to journal about your surroundings, the practice puts you in touch with your environment in a tangible way. Capturing the scene on paper forces you to tune into what’s really going on. We spend so much time in our heads, that it can be invigorating to truly pay attention to what’s going on around you.
Journaling teaches you to engage all five senses when writing (and perhaps even a sixth). Sitting at an outdoor café journaling, you’re suddenly aware of the scent of lilies in the air from the market across the street. The bubbling of a nearby fountain. The sunlight filtered by the trees playing on your notebook. The world becomes a richer and more nuanced place from which to draw inspiration.
4. Make room for new ideas.
When you have a great idea and you commit it to paper, it makes room for new ones to flood in. A regular practice of “brain dumping” ensures there’s always free real estate in your head for new ideas to take up residence.
5. Build confidence in your own ability.
Journaling builds confidence on many levels. It makes you more comfortable with yourself as you get to know yourself and your world better. If you journal frequently, you’ll get visibly better at expressing yourself, and expressing yourself in any medium is essential for creativity. Once your confidence is boosted a bit, you become more eager to create. Isn’t it more fun to do something you feel you’re good at?
6. Create a rich well of creativity from which to draw.
A well-worn journal is a treasure trove of material for creativity of any kind. Collections of ephemera from daily life – ticket stubs, receipts, snapshots – can be worked into mixed media pieces. Scenes captured in words can be translated into images. Overhead dialog can be worked into stories and plays.
Your journal is a receptacle for life, which can be recycled innumerable ways into new forms of expression and creativity.
7. Combat “dry spells.”
By a similar token, pages and pages of writing can serve to propel you through dry spells when your other creative pursuits aren’t going anywhere. You can troll your journal for ideas, inspirational images, even taking a few sentences out of context can give birth to a whole new project. You’ll never need to suffer creative from block again.
8. Let the universe know you’re a dependable scribe.
The universe wants its stories told, and it’s always looking to hire storytellers. By showing that you can regularly show up and tell a story, the universe learns to trust you with its stories. You may experience this as “inspiration.” Ideas seem to arrive from nowhere. It’s your job to get them all down on paper.
9. Exercise the creative part of your brain.
Journaling by hand exercises your brain in ways that typing does not. We spend a lot of time at the computer these days, regardless of our line of work. The written word is becoming extinct. But sitting down at a table and putting inky words on paper puts us in touch with our more personal and authentic self. Once your brain is stretched in that direction, it becomes easier to access that unseen world of inspiration.
If you doubt the power of journaling by hand, try it for a few weeks. Then compare it to the results of journaling on a computer. The difference is staggering.
10. Focus on process not product.
Creativity is all about the process. A focus on product can instantly derail a project or stall your inspiration. Journaling is an ultimate exercise in process over product. It teaches you to create for the sake of creating and not for a deliverable or saleable item. Since your journal is for your eyes only, you have no ulterior motives for creating. You do it for you.
Setting journaling goals based on time and energy spent instead of how “good” the results are enhances this focus on process. You’re less likely to be paralyzed by fear or perfectionism when you focus on process because you’re not worried about the outcome. Focus on process allows you to play more freely in your creativity. And we all need a little more play.
A regular journaling practice has these benefits and many more. Get started today and see your creativity flourish tomorrow.