The Journaling Dilema

Ever wanted to keep a journal, but never really knew where to start?  I used to be that way. I would "futz" around with the little books that locked or said "for my eyes only", but I could never really get the hang of it.  I was never consistent in my writing. I just always felt I was missing something.

I finally discovered that I just hadn't really found my voice so to speak. Okay, so I know that may sound a bit silly, but it's true. I also found that the actual book of which you are writing in is actually quite important too. I mean seriously, if your not a frou frou kind of girl then it probably isn't a good idea to have a purple and pink fur covered diary from Claires... (not that I would know anything about that... note the sarcasm) And if you are, go for it! Whatever floats your pink sparkly boat!

It's just not what worked for me. I sought refuge in the pages of a 4x6, black, hard cover, Canson sketch book. I've been keeping a journal ever since for six years straight now. Though I did fill up one entire sketch book, which then prompted a trip to my local art supply store for a new one.

There is something so therapeutic about keeping a journal. Whether you write poems, songs, sketches, your thoughts or even just a few notes, it's getting it out of your head. Out of the spaces of your mind and onto paper. I often use it as a way to sort out my thoughts whether I'm just venting about what's on my mind or through a free writing exercise (something a bookmaking professor of mine introduced me to.) You just write whatever pops into your head for an allotted amount of time. No editing just as it is. That's why it's called free writing. As a person who has trouble with anxiety, clearing and quieting the mind is a wonderful thing.  Now days I write till my hand hurts and always in pen. Sometimes even till the tips of my fingers are stained with ink.

So here it is. A little free writing exercise for you to try if your feeling adventurous...

  • Find an empty book. One that feels right and full of possibilities! Or grab your journal if you already keep one.
  • Set aside a certain amount of time for yourself. Whether 10 minutes of an hour... however long you feel you need. I usually write for 30 minutes. I do suggest setting an alarm just so you don't end up writing forever.
  • Then put you pen or pencil (if you prefer) to paper. Write down everything that comes to mind every rhythm and rhyme. At first it might be a little hard, but as you get into it you will get lost in your words. Your mind will take over and you will write what you feel.
  • Finally, when your time is up read over what you wrote. Sometimes I like to high-light or circle bits and pieces that stand out to me. It's like a game of searching for hidden messages of inspiration for only you.
Now go on... get to writing!