Good Stuff: Keeping a Journal

Self-Expression

I was recently given a great  book recommendation by a new friend of mine called The Artist’s Way by Juila Cameron.  I was surprised that I had never heard about the book before.  I instantly fell in love with it.  It is all about unlocking or unblocking your creativity.  I won’t go into the entire book, but I highly recommend adding it to your reading list.

One of the things I feel is most helpful about this process is what the author calls Morning Pages.  It is essentially keeping a daily journal.  The Morning Pages are a mandatory part of the process.  You must write three pages each morning before the start of your day.  I have intermittently kept a journal, but I was never consistent.  I have had a lifelong fear of keeping a journal.  My always said that it appeared that those who kept a journal met an untimely death.  I also had a fear of someone reading my journal.  Those fears were so instilled in me that it kept me from enjoying the act of journaling.  As a writer, I was ashamed of not journaling.  It felt like something I needed to do.  Even non-writers  journal their thoughts in some way.

Now that I have made this commitment to a daily journal, I have already reaped the benefits.  My thoughts are clearer.  Writing in my journal every morning seems to sweep all of the mental clutter our of my mind.  I feel more focused.  Keeping a journal is personal so there is no reason to feel pressure.  My old fear of someone finding my journal lead me to feel that everything I wrote had to be perfect.  I would revise my entries and monitor the thoughts and ideas I really wanted to write about for fear that they would be discovered and used to harm me in some way.  Keeping a journal is just for you.  It does not have to be perfect.  I would advise this to everyone.

If you do not keep a journal, here are some things to keep in mind once you start:

  • No pressure  Your journal does not have to be Pulitzer-worthy.  It is just a way for you to express yourself and organize your thoughts
  • Don’t hold back  How will you grow if you are not honest with yourself?  If you fear your thoughts will be discovered, lock your journal away.  Don’t feel bad about keeping part of yourself to yourself.
  • Be consistent  Sometimes your trusted confidant may not be available to bounce ideas off of or  to give you advice.  This is your opportunity to gain answers for yourself.  We all need to trust our own judgement.  Journaling can be a type of meditation.  Think of it as mental exercise.  Being consistent will keep your mind in shape and aid it in growing stronger.
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