The 15th of February 2005 was an important day for me. It was the day I began the journal that I have maintained almost every day since.
In the last seven and a half years, I have learned an awful lot about journalling. Indeed, I have learned a lot about writing generally. When I began I was very unsure about how to start, what to write about, how much to write - both in terms of the volume of text and its content - but I've slowly worked most of it out over the years.
So I thought I'd pass on some of the things that I've learned in a series of articles that I'm going to call 'Journalling School'. I hope that it will be useful for three kinds of people:
- People who have never thought of journalling before but who might like to give it a try
- People who have tired journalling in the past but abandoned it, who would perhaps like a kick start to get going again
- People who are already writing journals but would like some new ideas to inspire their day-to-day entries
It's called 'Journalling School' but you don't need to enrol. There are no exams or registers and you cannot possibly fail.
The first Journalling School article will land tomorrow. If you follow this blog already, you'll get all the articles.
I'd love to hear from people about their journalling experiences and ideas; I'm convinced we learn best when we share.
I've tried keeping proper journals with little success. I've developed a habit, though, of using the right hand page of my day-on-two-pages day planner to summarize my day: notable weather, accomplishments, phone conversations, correspondence received and sent, meals cooked, complaints, thoughts. It feels natural and I can write as much or as little as I want. Some days I fill the page and others I just write a few quick lines. This process, usually done at the end of the day before bed, helps me close the day. I like it.
I started journaling sometime last year. I do it almost daily--and I couldn't give it up now. It is so cathartic and soothing. And your journal becomes a trusty friend (much like your planner does) Look forward to the rest of the series!
You're so right about 'closing the day', Josh. The days I don't write down all the stuff that's in my head are generally followed by poorer quality sleep. It's as though when I write it down I give myself permission to stop thinking or worrying about it.
Ooh, 'cathartic' is just the word. Thanks, Rori.
I'll look forward to this, I've been journaling for quite a few months now and it's become a habit but it took quite a few failed attempts to get to this point!!
Alison, since you are at this point, perhaps they were necessary steps to getting here rather than failed attempts? I's be interested to learn how you finally established the habit.
Oh wow, really looking forward to this! I've just started journaling but I could really do with some pointers.
This is something I've been thinking about starting, so I'm looking forward to your posts.
Ooh, very exciting! I do a very basic sum-up of the day every day, and recently a gratitude list as well, but I don't do proper journaling as often as I probably should. Really looking forward to this series!
Yay for British spelling! I thought I was the only person on the planet who uses two l's when journalling :)
I've been journalling for years, filling folders and books and computer files, but I'm always interested in what other people are doing. Looking forward to seeing what's coming up.
I suppose I finally established the habit because right now I need to Journal, i've a lot of health issues and I use it as therapy, i'm still not in the habit of journaling every day but I hope to get there eventually, I suppose sometimes when I need to journal the most i'm kind of too low to do it and when I finally get round to it i've lost some of the feelings that I had and find it hard to put into words if you know what I mean !!
Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes, when I don't have the words, I find it helps to write about something else for a few minutes while my subconscious works out what I want to say. Just think to yourself, "I'll spend 5 minutes writing about elephants/apples/jazz and then I'll tackle how I feel about..." It works.
And as far that low place where you can't even face opening the journal... Well, first, you can give yourself permission not to write (on top of everything else, you don't need what I call journal guilt.) Or, you can carry around an index card or maybe a small notebook or a page in your Filofax on which you just note single words or phrases as a reminder of something you want to write about when you feel up to it.
I do better when I keep an simple record of the day's events and any positive things. Where I've fallen down and stopped journalling in the past, it was generally because I'd gotten bogged down in emotion, and it just didn't work for me. I have a few partially filled journals from those tries. Kudos to those who can establish the habit!
Thanks for a timely post as I've been meaning to get back into journalling. I find it an great tool for a little self-reflection & reminder to be grateful.
I've also used one in the past during a difficult time in my life & then when it was over I shredded it with great satisfaction :)
The thought of destroying a journal disturbs me, but I'm aware people do it. It's the ultimate closure I suppose when you leave a period behind and move on to better things.
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