Monday, January 6, 2014

The Art of Journaling

I began to journal when I was a teenager.    Journaling has been an important part of my life for many years.  I have kept  poetry journals.  I have kept heartfelt journals about my life.  I have kept recipe journals.  I have kept prayer journals.   I have kept dump journals.
I have kept art journals.  I have kept photo journals. I have kept list journals.  I have kept gratitude journals.  Each one has served an important purpose in my life. 

The good thing about keeping a  journal is that you can spend as little or as much time as you choose.  You can turn journaling into an art form with art journals.  You can make lists as you journal.  No matter how you decide to journal, you will need something in which to write.   You can use a beautiful journal which you purchase, or you can use a simple lined notebook.  You can hand write a journal or you can use your computer to record your thoughts.  Journaling can become a history of your life, or it can simply be your observations of life.  If you have a minimum of ten minutes a day or a week, you can capture your thoughts on paper, real or virtual. 

So, how do you begin to journal, if you've never kept a journal before?

1)  You need a piece of paper (virtual or otherwise) and a pen or pencil (virtual or otherwise.)  Feel free to use what you have handy.  Index cards work well.  Notebooks work well.   I use my IPad to journal. 

2)   Make a decision.  Will your journal be something public (like an online blog) or private.  Privacy does require some thought.  Protect your computer or tablet with a password.  There are some great Apps out there for journaling.  Just check the App Store and see what you can find.  Lock your handwritten journal if you want privacy or put it away where no one else can find it.

3) Begin to write.  Set your timer for 10-15 minutes.  I recommend you write everyday, however, if you don't feel you have the time, then write 2-3 times a week.  No matter what you choose to do, write consistently.  If you art journal, you can make some beautiful journals, but, if you're like me, you might be drawing stick figures, and that's okay, too.  Whatever works best for you, works best!  Keep to the 10-15 minute time frame if that's all the time you have. 

4) Make your journals meaningful to you.  If you're journal is meant to track weight loss, then that is meaningful to you.  If your journal is meant to record your writing, then that is meaningful to you.  If your journal is meant to record your family's history and tell something about those in your family tree, then that's meaningful to you.  If your journal is a list of daily activities, that that is meaningful to you.  The critical part here is to decide the purpose of your journal and work from there.  The meaning and purpose of journals can change, and that's okay.  As you write, your journal can take you places that you didn't expect to find.

5)   Unless you're publishing your journals, don't worry about grammar and punctuation, just write.  You might find yourself writing for much longer times than ten minutes.  If you have the time, that's great!  If you don't have the time, stick to the ten minute time frame.   Write and be happy.  Find your voice in lengthy pieces or in lists. 

I like to look back on my journals from time to time.  I am usually amazed at the growth that is shown in my journals or the common sense I used in not pursuing the object of my growth! 

Do you journal regularly?  Do you want to start keeping a journal or are you just stuck?  Tomorrow, I will be posting some prompts to help you get started or unstuck.  Let me know how it goes.


Shaiha said...

I have started journals in the past but I am horrible at keeping up on them. I did get a journal app for my iPhone and I hoping to keep up using it.

rosebud101 said...

Shaiha, as you can tell from reading the post, I have journaled a lot. The one thing I can say is that I have not always been consistent. Using this blog, I have had to be very consistent. However, I do love to write. That helps. Good luck with your writing! Journaling helps.