This is a guest post I wrote for Create Write Now where I talk about my early beginnings as a journal writer and how it’s made my life awesome. Hope you enjoy!
When I turned 11, I was seized by an epiphany that forever changed my life: adulthood causes amnesia.
If I were to avoid the adult-onset cluelessness that clearly plagued my parents, I needed to carefully document my life and create a reference manual for later. If I wanted to remember anything, I had to archive EVERYTHING.
So I began a journal and faithfully filled it with universal gems of observation such as, “I HATE when parents bug me about boys,” and, “I really, really love horses.”
Insightful revelations like these continued and I dutifully recorded them. As the years passed, my journal writing evolved. Journaling became less about capturing the life I had, and more about creating the life I wanted.
It’s been 30+ years since that first determined entry, and journal writing has remained central to my life. I still write daily. And I still hate when parents bug me about boys. (more…)
An ideal time to write, comfortable digs, a great pen, and endless sheets of fabulous paper can make journaling more enjoyable. But if you think you can’t start journaling right this minute because you lack the right tools, you’re kidding yourself.
One of the most attractive elements of journaling is its simplicity. Journal writing has virtually no barriers to entry; if you can hold a pen, you can keep a journal. It’s open to all: young and old, rich and poor, homebodies and wanderers.
You can buy a composition book for a buck at any drug store. You only need twenty minutes a day, the same amount of time you’ll spend watching commercials during the evening news. And the most complicated piece of equipment required is a ballpoint pen. If you can’t figure out how to work one of those, use a pencil.
I chuckle to myself when I hear starry-eyed dreamers breathlessly declare, “I want to be a writer.” As though putting words on paper is like climbing Kilimanjaro or winning the lottery; not something attainable at 2:30 this afternoon. Mentally, I thrust a legal pad into their eager hands. “Here – write.” Presto! You’re a writer. (more…)
In honor of my birthday this week (I get a week), I’d like to share some of my annual journaling rituals.
Journal writing is the perfect tool for creating personal development rituals. Goal setting and life assessment rituals provide the opportunity to regularly measure your progress so you can consciously direct your energy and resources where they’re needed most.
The end result is an accurate, up-to-date life map that gets you exactly where you want to go. (more…)
While journal writing is foremost about Process, I’m beginning to think a little focus on Product may create a more authentic and well-rounded journaling experience. A little more Heart to balance out all that Head.
I was reading Creative Journal Writing by Stephanie Dowrick this week when I came across a passage that grabbed my attention. Dowrick is musing on the lapses in her journaling; she encounters obvious leaps in date. She imagines during these sabbaticals she was thinking, “I will remember this. I don’t need to write it down.”
She goes on to say:
“Some of those times were the most joyous; others were the most harrowing. It is the joyful times that I truly wish I had recorded more faithfully and in infinitely greater detail.”
As I actively seek out other journal writers and research varied journaling methods, I’m learning many ways to deepen my own craft. Although I write daily, my journals ironically lack “snapshot of life” storytelling. I’ve been focused solely on the head part of journaling. My journals could use some heart. (more…)
Lately I’ve really been enjoying one of the perks of journal writing: purging negativity on a visceral level so I can start daily with a clean slate.
I was always aware of this benefit, but recently I’ve developed a conscious appreciation for the fine art of bitching.
The generally accepted outlook in Psychology is that ruminating on a painful topic, worrying it to death like a dog trying to get at the marrow of a bone, can actually make you feel worse about it. You experience the snowball effect; a small spark of irritation is fed into a full blown fire and you’ve lost all perspective on the situation.
Writing down your complaints, however, tends to stop them from bouncing around in your head. Journaling turns off the merry-go-round.
Here are three major benefits that purging negativity on the page can offer you. (more…)