In our first installment, we talked about the benefits of journaling.
So…where to begin? You have an idea that you want to begin journaling, now, how to get started?
First things first…
Decide on your format
How do you like to write? I personally love the feeling of pen on paper.
But, if you don’t enjoy that, if technology is more your thing, your journaling habit can begin by opening up a document on your computer. There are also many journaling apps out there that may be appealing.
When I began, I created quite the ritual of going to Barnes and Noble and gazing at their journal display. I would open them up, look at the pages…feel the weight of them in my hand. It took some research to find just the right pen (a Pilot G2 if you’re interested). When you start out, pay attention to these things. In order to build a habit, you want to enjoy it, so make sure that whatever format you choose “fits” your life right now.
Decide on the time of day
Some people journal in the morning, some at night, some as they begin work…
I always like to anchor a new habit to something that I’m already doing. So, if you sit and have a cup of tea or coffee before you begin your day, this is an ideal time to insert journaling. Or if there is a bedtime ritual, likewise, you can just add it in.
Choose a time that “feels right” in which your energy is more relaxed and reflective on a regular basis.
Keep your writing in a safe place
In my 25 years of journaling, I have never worried, or actually had anyone who was interested enough, to read my journal. It’s all just “stream of consciousness” stuff anyway and would make no sense to anyone but me.
Now…that’s not to say that your experience may be different. You MAY be in a situation where there are people around who don’t respect your privacy and in this case, I would advise a secure method. This may mean a file with a password on your computer, or it may mean a locked box. You’ll need to decide and act appropriately, but make this a conscious decision.
What to write about
Ohhhh the big question…you have a blank page staring at you. What will you say??
Anything that comes to mind, really. If you are going through some stuff and feeling feelings…write them down. If you need to bitch about your spouse, have at it! Write as though you are the only one who will read this, because honestly, you most likely will be.
The famous author Mama Gena offers her “holy trinity” of journal writing. This is something I highly recommend. Each day write out your brags, your gratitude and your desires.
Brags…because we forget to celebrate even the little things and it’s important to do so. Gratitude, because the frequency of gratitude is a miraculous thing; it attracts more good stuff and makes you feel really good. And desires, because, again, we forget to wish and that energy is also extremely attractive!
You can also seek out journal prompts…seriously, just search for them on the internet and especially look on Pinterest. You’ll find a plethora of lists of things to write about.
If you want to be more intentional about your growth, you may want to look at a program like Mystic Traveler’s Journal Program, in which our monthly journal prompts follow a theme designed to help you discover who you are underneath all of your roles and obligations. This is a program that offers accountability and lessons throughout the year and leads to profound growth.
Whatever choices you make about beginning your writing habit, remember they are never set in stone! Experiment for a while and see what works for you, keep at it and soon you’ll find yourself wanting to discover more and more about your inner landscape. It is a journey well worth taking!