Monday, January 25, 2010

To journal or not to journal….

With my apologies to Shakespeare, the real question I would ask is what kind of journal.  Journaling has been used as a tool for just about every kind of self-improvement program you can imagine.  To lose weight, use a food journal.  To train to run a marathon, use a running journal.  Mental health experts recommend using a daily journal to help patients deal with crisis or depression.  Gardeners like a gardening journal to keep track of how their plants grow to determine the next year’s gardening plans.  The list goes on and on. Keeping a journal can be a rewarding experience, but lots of people don’t know where to begin. Perhaps the best way is to decide what kind of journaling you want to do, though this isn’t always easy


One of the first journals I was introduced to was the Morning Pages in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way .   I was so enamored with her program to develop your creativity, that I taught a class in it for several years.  Many mistakenly believe that some people are just born creative and others are not.  Each of us has creativity as part of our make-up.  It’s just that some people find ways to tap into it more.  The Artist’s Way is a great program to wake up your own potential.  One of the main tools she uses is the Morning Pages.  Her rule for them is that you have to write, by hand not computer, at least three pages of something every day.  When I started, sometimes there were several pages that consisted of “I don’t know what to write, but I have two more pages to go” and statements like that.  It got easier and easier and proved to be a great source of inspiration.


If three pages seems daunting, you might consider an idea journal by Julie Jordan Scott.  That is a small notebook that you have with you most of the time where you just jot down things when you think of them.  It might not even be a complete sentence.  It is a stream of thought type journal. 


If that still seems too much, but you’d like to give journaling a try, then I would suggest Keel's Simple Diary .   It is already filled with questions.  You don’t even need to do it daily.  Just pick the option to the question of the day from multiple choices with a few lines to elaborate on your choice.  It’s quirky and fun, and doesn’t require much time.  It does provoke some thought and might just make you craving for more.


Some journals need to be kept personal.  Knowing no one else is going to read them allows you to freely express your thoughts and feelings. Others need to be shared like scrapbooking and blogging.  Many people like to incorporate several journal ideas into one, and that’s great! Just pick your favorite ideas and begin journaling.


Do you keep a journal? Has it has enhanced your life in any way?



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