No matter how much I’ve written in my journal, I often show up to the page with a scattered mind and little idea of what I want to talk to myself about. Maybe it’s the act of committing words on the page that unsettles me. When the thoughts are still in my head, they can float around and go in any direction. Writing them on the page makes them real.
Words, both written and spoken, have power. Both take courage. That solidification of thoughts breathes life into the anonyminity fogging up my brain.
Writing is a release. Writing validates. Writing gives voice to mind clutter.
What journaling does is allow me freedom and space, especially when I’m most reluctant to write. It opens up the pathways, allowing the writing habit to take hold. I find journaling lets me get all those annoying thoughts and rants and randomness that I wouldn’t share with others out of the way so I can focus on writing my stories. It pushes me to listen to my characters. Journaling doesn’t take away creative time, rather, it provides the groundwork.
The habit of journal writing plants a seed of hope for the future. No matter what level of despair you face, the pages are waiting for you. No judgement, and a place of solitude.
The big question is how to journal when you have no idea where to start.
Got your notebook? (or keyboard?) Pen? (or fingers?) Great. Now write the date. (Or not, it’s your journal). Then write something. Anything. Not happening? Here are some ideas:
- A quote.
- A mantra.
- A visualization.
- An affirmation.
- What resonated about the day before?
- Voice your regrets and fears.
- Breathe life into your hopes and dreams.
Your thoughts deserve validation. Start small, but make it habit of turning to your journal. Then there will be fewer times you show up to a blank page, or canvas, or performance space. Because when you give your randomness validation, you can focus on your creativity.
Non traditional creatives, I’m talking to you too. Journaling can help you bring your A-game to your favorite sport, rearranging your house, planting a garden, cooking, or building a relationship with your kids. Journaling will let you be in touch with your intuition so you can find solutions and approach problems with a clearer head.
Try it. Commit to a page a day. A paragraph if that’s too much. Hey, even write a cool sentence to sum up the day before if that’s all you’ve got. Just show up, and the words will follow. Even if you have to bribe them.