One of the most effective and direct routes to self-discovery is through journaling. Not only does it open up a deeper understanding of self, but also the world around us. When we express our thoughts in writing, it triggers unique mental processes that present us with invaluable new insights.
Thanks to my Mom, I write a diary almost regularly as a sort of notes to myself. I write on the laptop as it is easiest for me to keep with the daily routine. Very therapeutic!
But you’re probably thinking, “I am not the type who enjoys writing! Where’s the time?” or maybe even “I don’t write well”
Good news? There are no rules when it comes to journal writing. All you have to do is write naturally. It doesn’t matter how well you write.
Here are some tips to write naturally and overcome the resistance to write.
- Do what works best for you
- Don’t stress over what you are not doing.
- Simply pick up your journal when you’re in the mood and put it down when the mood passes.
- Be flexible about changes in focus or technique or perspective.
- Feel free to write fifty pages over two days and nothing over a week.
- Just indulge in life’s small pleasures and make it up as you go along.
- Trust your inner wisdom to lead you where you want to go
- Create your diary world confidently
- Give yourself permission to play, cry, cuss, celebrate, be alive
- Use your journal as a blank canvas to allow the rich portrait of your life emerge organically
- Remember that only you can write the story of your life with all the good and not so good parts, the tears, the joys, the treasures…
Writing naturally is all about letting yourself be you!
Now, how do you keep up with journaling when you’re too busy to live your life, let alone write about it? You can—by sparing just fifteen minutes a day.
Here are 15 tips to help you keep up with journaling daily in just fifteen minutes or less.
- Get a one-year diary. This is important. You get them in attractive designs. Since the format is roughly 100 words, you’ll barely take ten minutes or less each day. Imagine your diary sitting on your bedside table – kind of sweet, isn’t it? As a stationery junkie, I love the feeling!
- Pick a theme word for the week, or month, if you like. Happiness? Clarity? Change? Confusion? Passion? Your choice. Then spend 5-15 minutes each day, writing about your experience with the word that day.
- Think of a moment from your day. Capture it in verse form or prose form. Maybe something you saw outside your window. Maybe your favorite team won that game. A wonderful cup of coffee with a friend. Can’t think of a moment? Then imagine one you’d like and write about it.
- Set your time for 15 minutes and write. Just free write. The moment it “dings!” stop!
- Describe a stranger you saw today. Maybe someone you see at the bus stop every day. Maybe a child you noticed. People you haven’t met yet. Be detailed. Here’s an example: There are no strangers
- Write down your random thoughts. Can be one-line quotes you like. Crazy things you heard/came across. Maybe a spiritual revelation. Some sort of notes to yourself.
- Make a list of ten things I want to finish tomorrow. Keep the list with you and cross off items when you finish them. Then write about the experience, if you like.
- Write about things you accomplished today—getting out of bed counts! If you’ve set yourself a goal, record today’s wins. No wins? Expect miracles. Write about them.
- Write about a fantasy you have. What ifs. What if you had a perfect life, a perfect job, a perfect partner . . . write about that inner journey.
- How about writing your journal on index cards? Then file the entries by topic or date inside a recipe box.
- Write a post card. Mail it to yourself. Especially wonderful thing to do if you travel—jot down your daily log on the back of the picture postcards.
- Grab some crayons, pencils, water colors, markets, oil pastels, pens – whatever your favorite medium. Then draw a picture of your present moment with them. Label your art. Then write about it if you feel like.
- Browse an old magazine until a picture in it catches your eye. Cut the pic, paste it in your journal, then write about it.
- Doodle in your journal. Draw stick figures. See the lighter side of life. Bring out the artist in you.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Write down 3-5-more things you are grateful for.
Journal therapy is a remarkable and efficient way to expand your horizons.
If you are interested in further tools and tips, get the book Journal to the Self by Kathleen Adams.
This book shows you different kinds of journals and how they can be used for specific results, how to reread and reinterpret your journal as your life evolves, and how other people have achieved self-growth and solved problems through their personal writings.
So! Do you keep a journal? How does it help you?