Tips For Those Who Journal

These tips are meant to assist both new and veteran writers with consistency. Choose the ones that work with your lifestyle.

  1. Decide how often you should put aside time to write.  My personal preference is daily.  Others may choose to write weekly.  Decide what works best for you and make an effort to keep that schedule.
  2. Choose your writing style.  I’m freeform.  Others need outlines or guidelines.  For instance, you may want to start with a recap of events. Next you could outline goals.  Your next entry could track progress on goals set etc.
  3. Choose your writing format.  This goes hand and hand with setting a schedule.  I journal manually.  If you journal daily and manually, it’s a good idea to keep your journal in plain sight.  My ideal writing time is right before bed.  Keeping my journal on my nightstand keeps me consistent.  (Worried about privacy? I’ll address that in my next post.)  If you’re a spontaneous manual writer, consider a small journal that can easily fit into a purse or pocket.  The same concept applies to those who journal electronically.  Keep your laptop or tablet near something you use daily.  Make sure your platform is mobile friendly for spontaneous posts.
  4. The most important tip is to not allow yourself to become discouraged.  You will miss a day, or two, or three.  That’s okay.  Life happens.  What’s important is that you return to your routine.

 

 

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How Journaling Saved My Life

Everyone needs an outlet. Sometimes life can get the best of you. The good news is you always have a choice in how you respond. Admitedly I haven’t always chosen the right response.  Fortunately I’m able to recognize my missteps and learn from them.  Self awareness is imperative in growth.  It is my hope that sharing my mistakes will prevent others from making those very same mistakes.

One of the most beneficial lessons I’ve learned is also the simplest.  Slow down.  That’s it.  For me, slowing down simply means not making major decisions when emotions are running high.  I have made the worst decisions when I was angry, sad, overly concerned, or depressed.  Taking a moment to live in the emotion helps.  I use the time to explore how I got to that emotion and if I should even be there.

Then there are my dark days.  They are not ominous as they sound.  My dark days are just an extension of me slowing down.  For me a dark day is a day of quiet.  It’s a day focused solely on meditation and prayer.  Dark days work miracles for my anxiety.  The thing is, with scheduling, dark days can sometimes be impossible.  That’s where journaling comes in.

Journaling is therapeutic.  It provides much needed release. It creates a record that can help in reaching self-awareness.  It can be done nearly anywhere.  It doesn’t have to take much time and best of all it doesn’t cost a thing.

The release I get from writing out my thoughts is priceless.  I started writing poetry at a young age.  Unfortunately I didn’t save my work.  I wrote to heal and would discard it afterwards.  I wish I hadn’t.  There’s so much value in written word.  I’m making a commitment to myself to stick to my writing and to save it.  I know in my case it will ultimately lead me to find peace during the darkest storms.  Perhaps journaling can do the same for you.