The Beginner’s Guide to Journaling

  • Practice “Morning Pages”
    In “The Artist’s Way,” Julia Cameron describes “morning pages” as three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing done first thing in the morning that “provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.” It is not journaling, or even writing in the true sense of the word, but more of a “mind dump” — a way to dispose of mental clutter and allow you to focus on the day ahead. The practice is the bedrock of Cameron’s program of healing through the creative process, and millions of people swear that it completely changed their lives.Not a fan of writing longhand? Write 750 words–the equivalent of three longhand pages– in your online journal or word processing software every day. You can also set up a free account at 750 Words.com, an Internet site that provides you with a text editor and email reminders each day. The site also offers interesting analytical tools that offer you clues to unconscious content and emotional themes of which you might not be aware.
  • Choose the right format

Choosing the right system for your journaling is important. There are literally hundreds of styles to choose from, including a number of options for journaling on your computer and on line. Although the choice is, for the most part, a matter of personal preference, a good journaling system should meet a few basic criteria. Here are some suggestions for setting up something that will be easy to work with and still meet your needs:

  • Keep your system simple and uncluttered
  • Make sure it is portable and accessible in the places where you spend the most time. A beautiful journal set up on your home computer is not very helpful when you spend most of your time away from home.
  • If you use a computerized program, make sure it is one that it is synchronized with all of your other electronic devices so you only have to enter any information once.
  • Develop a streamlined system of labeling or tagging entries so you can easily find them later on.
  • Leave plenty of room for daily entries i.e. conversations, meetings, insights and ideas. It is a mistake to trust these things to memory. Write them down when they happen so you can include them in your journaling for the day.
  • Organize your journal regularly. Pull out old entries, and save them in a separate folder,  binder or archive  on your computer. You should spend the bulk of the energy that you use for this process on writing and thinking, not searching for information because your system was poorly designed.

Last, and most important, remember that journaling is a process—you will not see major changes in yourself or your life overnight. If you need more help or direction, or you simply want to talk things out, don’t hesitate to reach out. I am always here to help.

Are you ready to get started? Click here to go to your first journaling exercise or go to our home page and choose one of the journaling categories shown there.

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