I have started and stopped journaling over and over again. I can’t tell you how many times I have started a new journal. Well, here’s to journaling try 27-ish!
Now, I can’t sit here and say that I’m going to stick with it again, because I really might not. I have come to realize an important thing about myself: I know I sometimes don’t finish things to the end and that’s okay. I sometimes start books I don’t finish, sometimes start craft projects I don’t finish, and sometimes start the dishes and leave a few for the next day, but it’s okay.
What I do know is that with things like journaling it helps to start over and over again, because each time I can reevaluate my approach. This time around it is less about writing for fun and being creative and more about writing to look into myself and reassess who I want to be and where I’m going.
Every time I open my journal I can take the time to draw out my feelings with words. I can look into not only what I am thinking about a situation, but also how I am thinking about it. Throughout my life I have struggled with anxiety and this way I can take my reoccurring thoughts and put them down so they will stop running through my head over and over again. When I write things down I can think about a situation in a new way and then structure my thoughts based on the new outlook. Each time I journal it gives me the ability to reevaluate in a way that I hadn’t before. My life becomes reinvented with each stroke of the pen.
So, if you like the idea of journaling and might be thinking about doing it yourself, here are a few things I’ve learned a long the way…
- Just start writing.
Sometimes you might not really know what you want to write about and you might not have a goal in mind when you go into it. That’s okay. Journaling doesn’t have to be structured. Let it flow and let it take you to where you need to go.
- It’s not going to be perfect.
Spelling, grammar, whether or not you can read it after you’re done, not a big deal. Sometimes you just need to write as fast as you can to get the words out. Like I said, let it flow.
- Length isn’t important.
How much or how long you write doesn’t have to be set in stone. Right now, I’m just trying to pick up my journal everyday. Some days I write a few pages front and back, some days I only write a paragraph, some days get skipped. Journaling should not be considered a chore.
- Pick a journal you like to write in with your favorite pen.
I’m an office supply junky. I love pens. I love notebooks. Picking a journal with the right size lines and page thickness along with the perfect stream of ink onto the page is a necessity for me. Maybe you’re a plain composition book person or even a little wire bound pad. Pick what’s right for you.
- You’re not the first person to try to start journaling.
Scope the internet for journaling techniques! While it may seem like something silly to look up, I’ve found that reading how other people journal has helped me with my own technique. Maybe find a pre-made journal with page prompts or just start with a basic fill-in sentence at the beginning of each entry: “Today was beautiful because ___________.”
I may not be an expert, but here’s to picking up a pen and a notebook and going for it! You may rediscover pieces of yourself that you have lost, find pieces of yourself that you never knew existed, and even change your life right on the page.