Starting a Journaling Practice?
To start, buy yourself a journal or make one. It can be either lined or unlined depending on your preference. I like an unlined journal because it allows me to szie my writing to my mood. I can write large if the topic demands it, or small to fit in all the detail. A lined journal can help you feel a sense of order and structure which is very soothing if you feel your thoughts are jumbled and all over the place.
Choose a soft covered journal if you want to be scrappy and carry it around with you. OR choose one with a hard cover if you prefer something sturdy. The choice is yours, don’t hesitate to switch it up until you find what works for you.
The right pen can make all the difference in your journaling practice. Find it. It could be blue ink or black. Or perhaps you choose brighter colors to suit your mood for the day. My preferred pen is a needlepoint gel point with blue ink. Recently I tried to switch to black ink but the words froze up within me. I just picked up my blue ink pen and regained trust that my body knew what it wanted to began my journaling practice again. Don’t question what works for you, just go with what feels right.
You may choose to type out your thoughts on a device. For me this doesn’t work because I associate typing with work. A journaling practice should not be work. Rather, it should be time with your self and that may require a different process that is unassociated with the requirements of work life.
What time of day?
This a decision you get to make for yourself. In these uncertain times, this particular decision bring an opportunity for control in your day.
Morning is a good time to write out your thoughts in order to prepare for the day. Others will choose evenings preferring to dump out all the thoughts in order to find more restful sleep. The choice is yours. However, I do recommend you try both until you figure out the time that is right for you. I tend to journal with my morning cup of coffee. On weekends, I find myself journaling in the quiet of the afternoon with a cup of tea.
To read or not to read…
The purpose of journaling is not necessarily to record and read back on your thoughts. I rarely do. The purpose of journaling is to get down your thoughts, to empty your brain and to have a discussion with your self. In other words, don’t read what you’ve written if you don’t want to. Think about it for a minute – do you record your conversations with friends and loved ones and then later go back and listen to what is recorded? No. You may review the bits that you remember but you would never go back and listen to that conversation again. When journaling, you may go back in you mind and review what you wrote the previous day and continue from there. And what you’ll find is that as each day passes the mental review begins to reveal the ways that you can have healthy exchanges with your inner self.
Yet if you do want to read back through what you have written, there is no reason not to because what you feel is right IS the right thing to do. If you do, take a few minutes to review what has changed, what patterns have been revealed and what new ideas may emerge. Journaling is an excellent self-development tool so reading back on your journal entries may be precisely what you need.
Skip the first page…
As you open the new journal to begin, the first blank page can feel overwhelming. It takes courage to make healthy decisions for yourself and so, your fear may manifest in the simple act of putting pen to paper on the first blank page. Skip it! Just flip the page over and begin on the second page. Its that easy.
I tend to leave the first page of all my journals
blank and empy until I find an image or an affirmation quote that’s just right.
How to start?
Just start. Just put pen to paper and write. If I am stuck I start with the date, the day of the week, the current time and temperature. Actually I ususally start each journal entry this way.
Or begin with this one simple question: How do I feel today?
How much to write?
There is a lot of good research out there about writing two pages a day. But this doesn’t have to mean two pages of tiny lettering, jam-packed on to a page. This could mean large lettering with just a few sentences. The point is not to push yourself to reach the two pages if that doesn’t feel right. Yet Don’t feel that you HAVE to only write two pages or can ONLY write pages. This is about what you feel on any given day.
Some days I write pages and pages. On other days, I fill half a page then sketch something on the bottom half or leave it blank. Some days I don’t write at all. One thing I do try to do is to intentionally get back to journaling if I haven’t opened my journal in over a week.
Somedays your pages may consists of affirmations or inspirational quotes you encounter in the day. Ot it could be a list of thoughts, goals, grocery items, books or even, shows you would like to watch. There is value in everything that you write into your journal.
My wish for you is to enjoy the act of writing to your SELF!