Journaling is good for the soul. It is just between you, God and the paper you write on. It gets junk out of your mind that really can’t, or shouldn’t, be said out loud. You can rant and be angry or even rage, without killing someone with your words. You can make it a diary, sharing your secret crushes, deepest dreams and worst nightmares. You can write love letters or poetry and never worry that some self-appointed poetry critic will make fun of you.
Your journal can be your therapist. Most of us really know- deep down- what we need to do in “those” situations. If a friend told us what we’re telling the paper, we’d pray, we’d hug her and comfort her and then give her some really sound advice. I can’t tell you how many times I raged and fussed and complained on one page. Then, on the next page was able to see how I was thinking wrong, or feeling hurt, or being unforgiving. And once I saw the true problem, was able to work my way to a place of peace and acceptance or perhaps calm down enough to see a plan.
At times, I simply want to remember beautiful works spoken by someone- or even by me! Maybe I want to remember a funny meme or a heartfelt quote. I’ve journaled ideas and dreams and notes from webinars.
I suppose there is someone out there who has come up with “Rules for Journaling”, but, if you see ’em, don’t pay attention! The beauty of journaling is that there are NO rules. You make up your rules and you are free to change them at will.
I’ve journaled Bible verses that speak to a situation I’m concerned about, then all of sudden, insight and inspiration will come and I find myself writing and writing. When I look back at it, I ask myself where all that wisdom, beauty, or understanding came from. I often preach to myself on the page.
Nothing ever has to be shared with another soul- if I don’t want to. Or I can turn what I write into a blog, article or even a book- if I want to.
Journaling helps you become aware of what you’re thinking. Writing gets those swirling thoughts out of the confines of your head and onto the cold white page, where you can SEE them. You can organize them. You can question them and see if they’re telling you the truth.
I had a long start-up to journaling. I’d write a few pages, maybe for as long as 6 months at the time. Then I’d get busy or discouraged and give it up. Or at times, re-living a particular event would be so real and raw, I’d get angry again and I’ve been know to jab my pen into the page… Well, pages, really, because the pen will pierce though several pages when the force of rage is applied. And so I’d give up again. Because, well, nice ladies who journal surely never have such a violent response to bad events. Right?
But over the years, in spite of about 10 journals begun and abandoned, I’ve become a journal-er. And I miss it when I don’t do it. My journal is a good friend. (No, I don’t name it.) I’ve had small ones and big ones. College Comps and gorgeous embossed ones. I’ve discovered my preference- spiral bound, notebook size. Add a closure and I’m in journal heaven. I still write on any handy scrap or Post-It note when I’m inspired and the journal isn’t nearby. I re-write all those scraps into the journal. I also tape whole pages in rather than re-write it. Is that being lazy or smart?
* I’m a big fan of small. Start small. Don’t buy the biggest journal at Ross (even though the price is so very good!). Buy a small blank book. Even the old faithful College Composition book now comes in pretty colors and is a great choice for your beginnings. You don’t want to feel intimidated by the book. If it’s so extravagantly gorgeous, you might feel you’re responsible for writing your own War and Peace. Get some with something with some humility, something that doesn’t try to boss you around. The College Comp book friendly and already well-known to most of us. Your humble beginnings will thank you for a humble page to start your journey. And a journey it is- whether it’s a beautiful quote or grocery lists. Whether it’s rages or poetry- it’s your journey. As you move more regularly and confidently in the journey, you might want to move into something a little nicer. But perhaps, you’ll find you enjoy the undemanding College Comp book. Or just maybe, you’ll find the beautiful ones less intimidating because your own confident beauty has grown.
* Start small. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write whatever pops into your head. Write a list. Tell the paper how you feel about the weather. Ask yourself a question: What do I need? What’s my next step? Write a quote. Write a sentence.
* Don’t worry about grammar or even spelling. If you can read it, it’s fine!
*If you’re just beginning, don’t plan to write everyday- even twice a week is a good place to start.
*Keep it tucked out of sight. Protect your privacy!
*Don’t forget to date your page. Believe me, at some point, you’ll want to know when your wrote that!
*And don’t worry about your handwriting. It doesn’t have to be beautiful. Just your own regular hen-scratch is fine. Beside, as you continue to write, you might find your handwriting is improving. An added benefit.
And there ARE benefits to journaling. I have a whole list of them. Let me know if you’re interested in what scientists have found out about journaling. I don’t want to devote another 1000 words to all that right now. A blog is “supposed” to be about 800 words. (Who made that rule, anyway?). I’m already well over that limit!
Are you thinking of adding Journaling to your Self-Care Toolbox? It takes some effort, but it’s well worth it! I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of journaling.
So, please tell us, do you journal? How does it help you?
Thanks for reading. Feel free to share!
God bless you!