Monday, December 31, 2012

The Joy of Journaling

Keeping a journal can be a powerful tool for self-improvement, giving feelings an outlet and helping to achieve goals.
One of the roadblocks when starting a journal is beginning with great enthusiasm but backsliding as time passes. We forget; are distracted by more “important things”; think we don’t have time; or just loose interest.

I have been keeping a journal intermittently for most of my adult life and am  quick to admit there are many blanks, even blank years.

But what I have come to believe over the past few years is that keeping a journal is the best possible way to introduce ourselves to… OURSELVES! And I say that with the knowledge that recording my thoughts, dreams and goals has become an insight to knowing my own self better.

Some considerations:

A journal doesn’t have to be a daily diary, although it can be if that's your choice.

There's no right way or wrong way to keep a journal; there’s only your way – the way that works best for you.

It's important to choose the medium that’s best for you. It could be your iPad or computer, but I vote for paper. Choosing a beautiful book in which to write if for me part of the joy of keeping a journal. I enjoy the feel and smell of a handsome leather cover, the look and feel of the paper and the satisfaction of placing ink strokes on the page. But a journal can be something as simple as a spiral-bound notebook. In the end it’s not about using a fancy book; it’s about just writing!

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One advantage to keeping a paper journal is it can be taken with you, never needs electricity and can be personalized with clippings, drawings, mementos and the like.

Handwriting can be therapeutic, as it can allow deeper access to emotions, so choose a writing implement that's comfortable and meets your artistic needs. Keep the pen with your journal and use it each time you write and for no other purpose.

Decide what type of journal you will keep. If you keep just one, make it a Daily Journal, an “everything” journal where you record daily activities, who you saw or talked with; appointments; how you are feeling; what you are thinking; ideas; insights; world events and your thoughts about them; even the weather.

There are many other types of journals people keep. Journals devoted to any specialized interests you can think of are available. There are journals for travel, dieting, exercise, child rearing, recipes, cooking, music -- you name it and it's out there!
Decide on the time and place you’ll write each dayJournal writing should ideally be a time of reflection and it requires solitude, peace and no interruptions. It's important to feel relaxed, at ease and not having to worry about being disturbed. It's also important to feel comfortable. Select your favorite journal writing spot. Experiment by writing in different places to see what happens to the content of your writing.

If you’re having difficulty finding something to write about, think of something that inspires you; or what you’re feeling right now. Write it down and see where it leads you. Writing down ordinary facts and events can open up a whole world of ideas, allowing insights you would not have been able to bring forth without recording your thoughts in the journal.

            Fill your journal with whatever you like. Doodles, song lyrics, poems, quotes, book excerpts, newspaper clippings, a photo you took, ticket stubs from a movie or play. Your journal is the real-life manifestation of your mind, so make it something that's completely yours!

And finally, don't be overly concerned about grammar, spelling, or other perfection in your journal. This is yours and there are no rights or wrongs. Correcting mistakes during your thinking process could hamper the flow, so don’t try for perfection.

Read back and reflect over what you've written now and then. This can be a growth exercise.  

Don’t allow anyone to read your journal. You'll only feel free to honestly express yourself if it's for your eyes only, so be sure to find a safe place to place it.

A few months ago I was contacted by the editor of Loving Me Now, a Website in the UK that provides encouragement to women who have had weight loss surgery, and asked to write an article of my choice. I chose to write about Journaling and if you are interested in reading the article, it's at Loving Me Now.
Maybe you already keep a journal, or if you write a blog, it is one form of journaling. If you don't keep a journal, why not give it a try? The rewards can be gratifying, an eye opener and wonderful.

An added benefit: Your journal can be a gift to future generations if you want it to be – a gift to your descendants who can perhaps get to know and appreciate you better after you’re gone. 


  1. What a beautiful picture of you with that article - your eyes are positively sparkling! And what a good article!

  2. Hi Beryl,
    HAHA, that isn't a picture of me; just something I pulled off the web to illustrate the story. Sorry if it's confusing!

  3. January 1. 2013!

    I liked your post, especially the idea of starting a " Gratitude Journal ". I might try that one.
    So far, I only mark my appointments, etc. in my calendar.
    Blogging ( at least now ), is my way of keeping some sort of diary.
    I like the interaction it provides. I don´t write daily, but if I leave a long quiet period, I get restless.
    I´m aware that if a person is very sensitive, receiving unpleasant comments, is frightening.
    Therefore a private journal is safer, intimate - or is it?

    Only a short time before her death, my mother told me ( without any shame ), that she used to read my diaries, when I still lived in my childhood home.
    Needless to write, that I felt surprised; surprised mostly about her attitude; no apologies, no nothing..
    Perhaps having experienced this, I lack the need to keep my thoughts hidden. Sharing things in the blog is not difficult; I have no secrets anymore..

    1. I did the Gratitude Journal last year and will again this year. I agree that blogging is a great journaling tool. I noticed that in 2012 after I started blogging there were few daily entries in my daily journal.

      That is sad that your mother admitted prying into your diaries; I wish she would not have told you. What you don't know can't hurt you.

  4. You are tempting me :-) I do have a couple of blank books on hand.


    1. Go ahead, Darla. I can imagine all your great drawings in your journal

  5. Wow, you've been published :-) Congrats!
    And you should have tolds us sooner, I'm so very excited and proud when I see mainstream recognizing quality bloggers that post on issues that aren't superficial or consumer related.


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