What Could Journaling do for You?
Journaling has been constant in my life. As a child I loved creating little books where I recorded things about myself and my world. I never quite managed to keep a diary for more than a few weeks but, when I worked on projects, I had notebooks where I captured ideas and recorded progress. A few of them are in my special memories box.
When I started to give attention to my personal development, I wrote notes on what I was learning and I began to gather pictures that represented the life I desired. I wrote to empty my mind of thoughts that were circling and see situations more clearly. I wrote affirmations and mantras and I completed worksheets like Byron Katie's 'The Work' and Colin Tippin's Radical Forgiveness.
For a while I followed Julia Cameron's Artist's Way and each morning I filled my 'morning pages' with free-flow words, anything that came to mind. Although time intensive, this was a great way to check in with my thoughts and to 'dump' all that was on my mind.
When I went travelling I made notes on where I was and what I was doing as well as my observations on the place, how I felt and what I was learning. These note books have bus times and restaurant cards alongside my insights and confessions. There are even a few poems.
Since having my iPad, I've moved from paper to an app for convenience. Whilst I love the experience of writing in a beautiful, plain page book with colourful pens, I don't always want to carry a book so now I only do that for special occasions, like travelling or taking a course. I sometimes have themes or questions I ask myself, I'm pretty easy going on the format but I do make sure writing is one of the first things I do in the day, most days. It's a chance for me to pause and take a breath before the day runs away with me.
It's useful to know why you are journaling so you can shape your practice around this. For example, if you are journaling as a way of tuning into your feelings, this needs to be a regular practice. If you only journal when you feel like it, you'll miss out on this potential. I would suggest journaling is writing for yourself but there might be others you want to share it with. Some of my entries have developed into blog articles.
I often recommend journaling to clients and this has enabled some to re-discover a passion for writing and at least 1 went on to write professionally. I find it complements coaching and enables the coaching sessions to be more focused and bring in more of a range of situations and questions rather than just what's happening that day.
There are so many options for journaling, it's important to experiment and find one that works for you. I recently met someone who shares what she's grateful for daily in a What'sapp group. A daily drawing, recording or video might work better for you.
No discussion of journals would be complete without considering what to do with all the work you've produced. In the past I have burnt some in a ceremony and dumped some in the rubbish. I have saved key moments and laid them out in scrapbooks and I have not been able to part with any from my travels. My on-line notes take up less space and I like the ability to look back but I'm concerned that they might be lost as and when I decide to change apps. I need some downloading/archiving process.
If you journal, I'd love to hear how this works for you, if not, what don't you give it a go. Time to explore what journaling could do for you.