I realized somewhere between my own less-than- intriguing history class and raising a son whose interest in history is infectious that I’m actually fascinated by history. I eat up the personal stories, not just the names, dates, battles and memorable statistics. Just think, in a generation or two, people will be looking back at today, this week, this month, this year wanting to know what it was like to live through this time. My purpose is to convince people to share their stories. Not everybody will write a memoir, some will write songs, some poetry. Just get it down in journals so people can step inside our lives, feel where we’ve been and understand why certain actions took place.
You know who else starts to figure out our lives when we write things down in journals? We do. Something magical happens when we put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. The ideas stream out. Our thoughts, feelings, questions, fears, challenges, wins, etc. Something may pop out that you aren’t even expecting. Run with it. A moment may choke you up. Take pause and feel it. Perhaps your emotions begin to run hot. Let them overflow. Going through these thoughts help them dissipate. Getting them out helps us release our burden of what we’re carrying around.
So here are a few ways to get started:
- MORNING PAGES: This practice, from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way (#afflink), is something I do it for a while with all intentions to last forever, until I don’t. BUT, I can return to it any time I need to pick them up again. Writing three pages first thing in the morning when you wake up means that you checked in with yourself first. You put yourself first.
- BEDSIDE NOTEBOOK: Keep a notebook by your bedside. Use one side of the notebook to jot down any tasks you need to remember the next day (so that you won’t have thoughts keeping you up at night), use one side of the notebook to write down a few lines a day. Whether it’s writing down your dreams, or any lines that pop into your head first that day, it’s a great way to check in with yourself.
- GRATITUDE JOURNAL: You could use the bedside notebook and replace the task list with thoughts of gratitude. Write between 1-5 things a day. Some people use social media rather than a journal. Whether you do it last thing at night or first thing in the morning, a daily dose of gratitude helps ground you and your thoughts.
- ONE WORD: One word a day and collect them in a jar. On December 31 you open the jar and see everything you have to be grateful for or successfully got through.
- CREATIVE WRITING PROMPTS: There are so many ways to draw up writing prompts. My friend would ask for a person, a place and a thing Mad-Lib style and then write a story from there. I’ve compiled a HUGE list of journal prompts. I also post writing prompts on Wednesdays based on things that cross my mind that day.
- BULLET JOURNAL: This started as an organizational tool and grew into self-help scrapbooks tracking everything from daily jobs to anxiety levels and nutrition goals to new habit milestones. Start with the basics. During times of uncertainty, it helps to take control over things you can. Later, walk through: precision planning portal.
- BLOG: My blog started as a daily writing exercise to write for 10,000 hours to become a pro. I love that eventually, my kids will have a place to look back and see what we did together and the path I took them down and why. Our stories connect us with other people who may feel alone in their emotion, until they read your post.
That being said, just write it for yourself. The key is to get it out, finish your thoughts, don’t polish until it’s complete. Some things you write will help you make sense of your emotions, while others will set you free.
- VESSAL FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: I love pretty bound journals for my important projects like memoir planning or bullet journaling because they feel important. I use a spiral notebook leftover from my kids’ backpack for morning pages. I date my pages because I stop and start regularly so it will help me remember dates later.
- ORGANIZING YOUR JOURNALS: I got nothing.
No, really, this is my biggest challenge. I’d love to hear your ideas. Some write from the first page to the last and repeat. I start a new journal for each project or class. I write down my creative ideas and then can’t create a system to help me farm them.
- MY NEW LIGHTBULB IDEA: I’m going to go through each journal and do a table of contents – bullet journal style – capturing main ideas from the pages and margins. THEN I’m going to go to my one main bullet journal and do a journal page with a quick description of each cover and it’s contents. Wish me luck or please intervene.
So as with this whole #AtoZChallenge for self-care, don’t try to do everyone of the ideas in this post – pick one and try it for 1 month. Then, reassess whether you want to keep going or move on. Just journal!
What about you?
- Do you journal?
- Do you have a journal in every room for when inspiration hits?
- Do you keep a tiny notebook in your purse?
- What do you journal about?
- Do you have a favorite style pen?
- Do you have any favorite sources for writing prompts?
- Who will burn your journals or submit them to a publisher when you’re gone?
Follow me on social media (buttons above) to get my weekly writing prompts and the books I’m reading!
This is part of an #AtoZChallenge, start at the beginning here.
Note: This blog post had one Afflink which means if you click on the link to check out the book, I will earn a few pennies so that I can collect the rest of Julia Cameron’s books but there is no additional cost to you.