When you keep a journal in which you write regularly, if not daily, you have the opportunity to process all the experiences in your life and gain a greater understanding of yourself and others.
Sometimes, though, problems arise.
You may open your journal one day and find that the blank lines stare back at you, daring you to sully them with your unedited thoughts.
You begin to feel overwhelmed and come to the decision that you just don’t have the time to “properly” journal. You run into a journaling brick wall and eventually your journal just dies from lack of attention.
If you’ve ever had this experience, or are having it right now, here are three simple tips to get back into journaling:
1. Keep It Simple!
Whenever you find that your journal writing starts to feel like a job it’s time to take a break. If you’ve been keeping a fancy art journal, perhaps it’s time to change your focus to a simple written journal. If you’ve been journaling daily, try cutting back to an every other day schedule, or even once per week. If you’ve been concentrating on a specific type of journal – say a gratitude or dream journal – try putting those journals on pause for a while and start to simply journal a few lines about your daily activities or find a quote you like and add that to your journal.
The important aspect of this technique is that you realize you are making a change and accept that it’s OK to do so. You’re not ‘failing,’ you’re choosing to undertake a different journaling path for a while. YOU keep control!
2. Keep It Fun!
If you don’t find journaling to be a fun or fulfilling practice, you’ll soon find yourself stepping away from your journal more and more often. You’re bored. You’re tired. You’re out of things to write about. So, what do you do? In this case you might find it helpful to undertake a different tactic than that suggested above. In other words, start adding more creativity to your journaling.
For example, if you’ve been keeping a strictly written word journal, try adding some embellishments like stickers or a crayon background or using a magic marker instead of a pen. Even the smallest creative addition to your journal can renew your feeling of fun with the process and you’ll find yourself falling in love with your journal all over again!
3.Keep It Short!
You might not think that this sounds like a method to increase or improve your journaling practice, but if you try this I think you’ll change your mind!
This method is my personal sure-fire way to get back to writing in my journal daily. You need just one small tool – a timer! You can use an oven timer, an egg timer, a timer on your phone or watch – whatever you have handy.
Sit down with your journal and set the time to two minutes. That’s right – just two minutes. Start writing and keep writing until that time is up. That’s the easy part. I promise you that within the first week of using this method you will start to have a problem stopping! That’s right – you’ll go from feeling like you don’t have enough time to write to feeling like you absolutely need to spend more time at the page!
Why does this happen? This method works because it takes that pesky internal editor out of your head and frees you up to start writing, and starting is always the tough part. Once you begin, your editor will generally take a nap while you continue to journal for as long as you want!
There you have them – keep it simple, keep it fun and keep it short. Using these three basic tips to help you maintain a regular journaling practice will leave you better able to experience and enjoy all aspects of your life.
By Deborah Watson-Novacek – an avid journaler, writer and owner of Creativity for Life (CFL) at http://www.creativityforlife.com is an exploration of creativity in everyday life, with articles, quotes, reviews and other resources to awaken your creativity!