Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind. – Natalie Goldberg
A journal is a safe place where you can truly be honest with yourself. You are the narrator here and this is your book; your story. You have no limitations. It is your private outlet to express yourself and get to know who you really are and what you truly desire.
Writing a journal teaches you how to process and communicate complex ideas effectively. It is a great way to build better habits, as it forces you to be aware of your actions and behaviours. A journal serves as a reminder of mistakes you’ve made, accomplishments you’re proud of and great moments you want to remember. That written record can come in handy later when you’re feeling down or lost.
To start a journal, you just need to be willing to write. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to write well, you just need to have the ‘want’, to do it. You don’t even need to decide what to write, you just need to let your words flow.
Once you’ve decided you want to create a journal, here are a few things to guide you:
1. Select a journal or a diary with a lock on it, if you are into old school writing style. You can also use online tools (such as Penzu) or download apps on your phone for the same.
2. Find your type of pen or pencil if you are using an actual book to write your journal. Look at the different brands of pens and their styles (ink, ballpoint, gel) and choose the one which feels comfortable in your hand and helps you write at the pace you enjoy
3. Choose a writing environment
Place yourself in an environment where you feel calm and relaxed. It could be your study table or the nearest coffee shop. If you are not sure, try out different locations at different times during the day.
4. Now that you have everything you need to write and a suitable environment, it is time to write. The first thing you need to do is, write down the date. This may seem unnecessary at first. However, it is an essential element for journal writing.
To start with writing, ask yourself these questions:
- What is going on in your life currently?
- What do you want to write about?
- What are you thinking about?
5. You can start your sentences with “I feel..”, “I want..”, “Today..” or “In this moment..” etc. Keep writing as the thoughts keep coming to you. Don’t feel self-conscious because this is your personal space. No one else would be reading this except you. Feel free to express yourself.
6. You can play around with different writing styles such as poems, essays or draw sketches and doodles. You can add photographs as well to your journal.
At any point when you feel stuck, re-read what you have written and then continue. As soon as you feel like you have exhausted your thoughts, or reached your page limit or if you had timed yourself, you can stop writing. But before you close your journal, read what you have written. You will surprise yourself with how much you knew, that you didn’t even know that you knew!
So, keep a diary and someday it’ll keep you.