Journaling Series Part 2: What is Journaling?

The content in this journaling series is from what I shared with my recent in-person journaling class. My original idea was to try and create an online class, but ultimately decided to create a blog series in which to freely share this information.

Last week in this series, I talked about Why Journaling is Important? This week let’s talk about what journaling is and is not. Let’s also get rid of some preconceived ideas and stereotypes about journaling and understand how powerful a tool it can be for every person of any age.

What is Journaling?

  • Is first and foremost an expression of the Self
  • A form of self-expression that works best if it comes directly from the heart (don’t lie, don’t be in denial, just let it all out)
  • Is a written record of thoughts, experience, and observations
  • It can be something you do regularly or just when you feel you need it
  • There are no rules to journaling, expect for the ones you make yourself (if you decide to make any at all)
  • You are in charge of what you write or don’t write and when you write

What Journaling is NOT.

  • Something you HAVE to do (so don’t stress over journaling if it’s not something that speaks to you, or you only journal every once in awhile)
  • A place where you need to worry about proper grammar, spelling, or punctuation
  • Journaling is NOT just writing, it can include paintings, drawings, pictures, stickers or keepsakes that have meaning (like ticket stubs for a dried flower, ect.)

This sounds easy enough, and usually it is, but I think journaling can have a bad stigma because it might seem to only be for “girls” or something that can be considered boring because no one thinks their life is interesting enough to talk about. I say not at all to both these things. Journaling is for EVERYONE of all ages. It can be very fun too. It all depends on how it’s approached. What kind of journal you keep matters too. What might work for one person, may not be as effective for another.

Continue reading “Journaling Series Part 2: What is Journaling?”

Journaling Series Part 1: Why is Journaling Important?

The content in this journaling series is from what I shared with my recent in-person journaling class. My original idea was to try and create an online class, but ultimately decided to create a blog series in which to freely share this information.

I feel very passionate about journaling and the great tool it can be in helping to discover more about who we really are, but I find information on journaling is scattered over many places. Also, there’s a lot on bullet journaling (the most popular type of journaling right now), but there isn’t a focus on all the broad possibilities of journaling or why it is so important. I hope through this blog series I can address these things as well as express why I find journaling to be such a vital part of my life.

So let’s start with why I believe journaling is so important. The best way I can do that is to tell you how journaling has affected my life.

I didn’t always journal, and when I did start it was very infrequent. Maybe once a month or two and it remained this way for a while. Usually my journaling was just a dump of negative emotions and when I went back to read what I wrote, I’d become incredibly depressed. Because of this, I decided I didn’t want to write because I didn’t want to depress myself further. I thought “What’s the point?” “Life sucks and it’s nothing but a gaping raw wound. Why make it worse by spilling my crap on purpose?”

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21 Day Journaling Challenge

I recently taught a fabulous journaling class. The best classes are the ones that inspire you, especially the ones you teach. This one has inspired me to create a Facebook group that offers support and inspiration to the students who attended my class. But then I asked myself, “why stop there?” Wouldn’t it be great to open this up to anyone wanting to start a regular habit of writing in a journal? I know so many people who struggle to make things a habit (including myself), and I know there are many who wish to be journaling more and not less. So I invite anyone wishing to begin a new journaling habit, or anyone wanting to reestablish an old one that’s fallen by the wayside to join us. I invite you to build a better you.

Here’s how it works. Go to 21 Day Journaling Challenge and join the group, and then start journaling! Each day I will post something inspirational such as a quote or picture. Maybe even a question to ponder in your journal writing. Also feel free to post about your own progress or frustrations, or even snippets of your work.

Journaling can be extremely beneficial to all whether you are a writer or not. It can help you understand yourself and the world around you better. It can be a needed release of thoughts and emotions. Or a place to store memories you always want to come back to enjoy. Journaling is an opportunity to not only give yourself a few moments of respite in the chaos of this world, but also to help find yourself. Are you up for the challenge?

 

 

Discovering a New Perspective: The Four Agreements

My life has recently gone through some major changes (very good changes), and will be going through more in the near future. A large contributing factor of that is a change of perspective that I have gradually come to. I believe this has happened through many avenues that has taken a long time to evolve, which has been a slow, painful, yet enlightening path. Even though it has been slow coming up out of the mire of negativity that I had been entombed in, there have been a few key pieces that when snapped into place have catapulted me into a faster evolution. One of these key pieces was reading this fascinating book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

I purchased this book on a high recommendation of a friend. I took it with me last spring when my husband and I got away for a week in a cozy cabin in the mountains. One of the things I really enjoyed doing on that trip was cuddling up near the fireplace and reading. While I did bring another book to read as well, this was my book of choice. It fascinated me and stretched my mind in such a way that I simply could not put it down.

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Am I Good Enough?

A question we have all asked ourselves at one time or another. Some may ask it still. I know I’ve asked it of myself more times than I can count. I have asked it in all parts of my life, but the biggest has always been… Am I good enough to be a writer?

It’s easy to say “yes I am”, but it’s harder to actually believe it. Like deep down believe it. In your gut believe it. That’s a whole lot harder to do, because saying it isn’t the same thing as believing it. Trust me, I know. You probably know it too.

But wait! It counts if someone else says it, right?

You are good enough!

You are great!

You are amazing!

You are rocking it, so keep on going!

Once upon a time, I lived for these type of statements from my friends or other people I knew. I needed to hear these things and hear them often to feel I was worth anything. Yes, I had some serious self-esteem issues. The worst of all was whether or not I was a decent writer. That particular idea plagued me in terrible ways not so long ago.

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Creating Opportunities to be More Creative

As a writer, being a creative person is a pretty big deal. We pride ourselves on how creative we are and yet there are times when we feel we just aren’t creative enough. It’s sort of a Ping-Pong match between the two. Some days it’s one, and a whole lot of other days, it’s the other. There have been quite a few times when I personally felt like I lost the game all together. Many times I found myself asking “Am I creative enough to be a writer?” or “What can I do to be more creative?”. In the end though, maybe it’s more of a question of how can we be the right amount of creative to accomplish our goals?

I want to tell you a story. Something that happened to me over the last few years that changed my life forever (causing me to abandon my blog for awhile too — sorry!) and made me see things in a little different light, especially concerning the way creativity works.

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Writing About the Things We Fear

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” — Natalie Goldberg

Being a writer is a complicated thing. We love to write for the sake of writing, but we also don’t want to write because some days it is just so hard. But still we write, because not writing is not an option.

So what do we write about? People have different views on this. Some like light and happy stories. Some like dark and depressing stories. Some like gore and horror. Some like aliens and cool technology. Some like hot romance where the girl and guy always have their happy ever after. Some like the never ending thrill. And some like deep and moving characters no matter what the story is about.

But we all wonder… what really makes a good story? What draws the reader to each page to hungrily reach the end? What makes writing such an intense and rewarding process for the writer?

I think all these questions have one answer.

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