If you don’t have time to read this whole guide, stick with #1 and you’ll do just fine!
1. Keep it Simple
Journal writing at its core is simple. You get some paper and a pen, you write a few pages about what’s going on. You do it again tomorrow. And the next day.
We humans are a curious bunch — we make things needlessly complicated. So if you feel yourself getting mired in whether or not you’re doing it right, which journal to use, or when when you “should” write, or if the color of your pen will affect the outcome, take a breath and get back to basics. Words, on a page. It’s really that simple.
2. Keep it Private
Don’t share your journal and shelve it out of reach. Your journaling privacy is essential to the process. Your journal is a safe place for you to explore whatever is on your mind without worrying about how it will affect anyone else. If you fear it will be read, you’ll censor yourself and the benefits of journaling will be lost.
Did you know journaling the mundane details of your day can breathe life into your fiction or poetry? Here’s how to harness the power of a regular journaling practice to feed your other writing.
Wish You Were Here
Vivid descriptions of time and place captured in the moment can serve as the basis for scenes in all types of writing. Whether setting the stage for the scene in a play, remembering the finer details of your surroundings for a non-fiction piece, or developing a pool of metaphors from which to draw your poetry, capturing your environment with all five senses creates a treasure trove of sensory input that can be utlized in myriad ways.
To create entries today that you might want to use for inspiration in the future, write with all five senses. Stop and listen to what’s going on around you – the drip of the faucet, the hum of traffic four stories down. The scents swimming about – Murphy’s Oil Soap and menthol cigarettes. How does the light and shadow play? How does the air feel on your skin? Truly engage your senses and illustrate them on the page.
Humans are creatures of habit. We go about our daily lives, confident tomorrow will be just like today. So when change hits, as it inevitably does, we feel lost and unsure.
Change throws us off our game. It yanks the familiar ground out from beneath us. When we don’t know which end us up, we seek the comfort of the familiar. Of ritual, stability, constancy.
Amid this struggling economy, many of us face uncertainty. We may be dealing with job loss or home relocation; both of these changes top the stress charts. Even a welcomed change of scenery or a positive career switch can be disorienting.
In times of change, journaling makes us resilient. It helps us find steadier footing so we can roll with the punches. When the world around us is uncertain, our journal provides a home base, a constant, and an undeniable sense of stability. Here’s how.
I’m always excited when New Planner Time comes around. There’s something so inspiring and gratifying about the blank pages of a new diary. Whether you use it for straight planning and appointment management or a deeper dive into your goals and dreams, a planner you like using is essential to the process.
Much like my journals, I use my planners as a diary and keep track of daily happenings for later reference. I tend toward 18-month diaries, which usually start in July/August, also known as an academic calendar. Since these planners need to stick with me for that long, it has to be high quality, archival and comfortable to keep handy all the time.
For awhile, I favored Moleskine 18 month planners, which are very high quality and functional. I also like the layout, with weekly calendar on one side and a full page for notes on the opposite page.
It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me but I’m very excited to be back with a freshly launched Journaling Saves 2.0.
I launched journalingsaves.com in 2010 and the site blossomed over the next few years, including a large library of journaling resources, original articles, eBooks, a mailing list and even a podcast for awhile. Funny to think I was podcasting in 2010 before it was a “thing.” I plan to bring the Journaling Saves Podcast back online very soon.
Speaking of eBooks and mailing lists, if you’d like to join my email list and receive a weekly journaling prompt delivered right to your inbox, I’ll send you my eBook 30 Days to a Journaling Life for free. Just use the form below and you can start journaling minutes from now.
If you were a part of my previous email list, you’ll need to subscribe again because I changed email providers. It only takes two clicks! Sign up here! (You’ll snag my ebook for FREE when you do.)
Emerging from the Ashes
Journaling Saves was an active part of my life for several years and then other projects became a priority, including starting my own web design business. As much as it pains me to say it, I’ve recently learned that I can’t in fact do it all. I tried, trust me!
So as I focused on other projects, the Journaling Saves website remained as a live resource for folks to get inspired by the 150+ articles. I pressed pause on updates, podcasts and social media.
And then a horrible thing happened. In 2018 my web server had a meltdown and I lost everything, including my redundant cloud storage. The website was finished. (more…)