I have a habit of romanticizing the past, sometimes to the extent of rewriting history. Part of it is my creative brain that likes clean plot lines and dramatic tension. Part of it is a crappy memory from sordid adventures in my twenties.
My journal is a great tool for bringing me back down to earth when I soar off into Wishville. To make wise decisions and keep growing, it’s essential to look at how situations actually were. Not how I’d like them to have gone down.
My present apartment is small. Really small. And that’s coming from a girl who lived on a 200 sq. ft. houseboat for a few years. I was recently bemoaning my residence, beating myself up for moving out of the Perfect Place I had. (I moved three times last year but that’s a story for another day.)
This Perfect Place was a sprawling haven of nutty hardwood floors and 20 feet of glass overlooking misty pines. It had ample storage and parking spot, for godssake. It had a sunny balcony where I housed my extensive container garden.
Whether you’re new to journal writing or you’ve been journaling for years, sooner or later you’ll come across the roadblock “I don’t know what to write about – I have nothing to say.”
This roadblock can be especially crippling when you’re just starting out. Many new journal writers feel extremely self-conscious when they first start documenting. Even if you know nobody else is going to read it, you might feel silly writing down your thoughts. “Who am I talking to, anyway?” You may worry you’ll spontaneously develop an invisible friend or delve into multiple personality disorder and starting signing your entries “Love, Sybil.”
It’s awkward at first. Let it be.
Remember that the point of journaling is the process. The process is putting words one after the other on a page. It’s as simple as that. (more…)
This morning I was unloading big-time in my journal, typical Monday style, crabby and discontent. Not enough time, sleep, motivation or sunshine. And I was reminded of one of the most powerful benefits of journaling: seeing it in writing.
My pen furiously scraping the paper, writing so intently that smudges splotched the pages like Rorschach inkblots, I was detailing my present list of misgivings. The situations gone awry in my life. These were Very Important Issues, I assure you. The crease between my eyes even made an appearance – the one that shows up whenever I wail “WHY?!” in defeat.
At the instant of writing, all these problems and mishaps truly felt frustrating, disheartening, confusing. I was angry and self-righteous. My world was coming to an end and I wasn’t about to stand by and let it be snatched out from under me. (more…)
Every dedicated journaler knows that some days are easier than others. Sometimes you’ll sit down to write, simply bursting with ideas to explore. Other times writing will feel like pulling teeth.
The enthusiasm is cyclical. I definitely find it easier to jump in when there’s something specific on my mind. The days when my brain is overflowing and I can’t write fast enough to capture the cascade, I make use of a tool I call the “Parking Lot.”
How it Works
I picked this idea up during a Corporate Facilitation Seminar (I almost fell asleep typing those three words). Before starting a group discussion, the facilitator hangs a giant sheet of blank paper on the wall and labels it “Parking Lot.”
Then the conversation begins, focused on a specific issue. If someone offers an idea that’s potentially useful but totally off-topic, the facilitator says, “Great idea – let’s put that in the Parking Lot and come back to it,” and writes the idea on the sheet. (more…)
Ready to pick out your new journal and get started? Hold on – you’ve got a lot of decisions to make.
Hardcover? Leather? Spiral-bound? Composition? Artisan? Leather spiral-bound? Hardcover artisan? Hardcover spiral-bound composition? Oh the choices! It boggles the mind.
No worries – I’ll take a look at the various options and give you some food for thought when you’re deciding on the best journal for you, based on where and how you plan to write.
The below video is a tour of my notebook choices through the years. It’s from but the only thing that’s changed is I’ve added another 60 Blueline Notebooks to the tally. You can also just read on. This article covers most of the same topics.