Everything Else Comes First, Before I Write

Yes, I know. That title contradicts every single piece of writing advice I have ever been given, or heard. In fact, it’s probably the number one advice most give about writing––to put writing first, and do it every day. And perhaps for many that’s what they need––to put writing first, and do it every single day. But I’ve been doing just that for years, and it’s been having a very negative effect on all the other parts of my life.

I need balance. And when I put writing first, I can’t achieve balance, no matter how hard I try (and believe me, I have tried).

So I’m trying something new. I have reprioritized my life and made a new list of how things with happen and it goes something like this…

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Journaling Series Part 3: How to Stick With 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 we talked about What is Journaling? The week before we talked about Why Journaling is Important? Now let’s finish up with ways to keep inspired and to keep journaling.

Ways to Stay Inspired

We all know how hard it can be to stick with something, but it helps if we can get some inspiration here and there. Here are some great places to help inspire your writing!

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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.

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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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The Journey of a Creative Life

It amazes me. Life. The journey we take. It takes surprising turns and we end up in locations we never thought possible. We have these big ideas of where we want to go. Sometimes we get there and we don’t even know it, because we get so wrapped up in all the craziness that is our life. Sometimes we don’t get there, but we arrived in a place that’s just as good or even better. And we think, “Wow, how did I get here?”

Living a creative life isn’t easy in this world of constant distractions and doubt. We wonder if what we are doing is right. We wonder if we should do this or do that. We fear what others might think if they find out exactly what we want or exactly how we think. We fear judgement and scorn. We fear failure. We fear success. We fear doing the wrong thing.

But even with all this tumbling in the back of our minds, we still feel the need to live our life the way we want to. That pull. That desire to just be us. It’s not just enough to live. We want to live a creative life. We want to be expressive. We want to experiment. We want to try new things. We want to do more than what we are doing. We want to be more than what we are, or maybe just a better version.

We also worry about how much we are getting done. Is our life where it should be? Shouldn’t we be doing more? Shouldn’t we be farther along than we are?

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The Magic of Reading

unnamedBooks. They amaze me. They captivate me. They are true magic. Imagine this.

You get a new book to read because someone recommended it to you, or the cover just looks freaking awesome, or it’s a promising jewel you happened to stumble upon. It sits there in your lap eager to be read, but the cover, the title, the words splashed across the pages are meaningless. It’s just a book. Like all the other books taking up space on the bookshelf. But you open the cover and begin to read anyways, because it’s calling to you. There’s this pull to open it you can’t quite explain. So you do and you begin to read it.

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Writing, a Never Ending Journey of Exploration and Learning

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” — E.L. Doctorow

If someone told me as I first started writing about nine years ago that my writing would be a never ending journey, I’m not sure I would have set out on that particular path. Granted, most people start writing for a reason, which usually includes the buzzing of character voices and ideas that won’t shut up. That was my case, and even with that warning I probably wouldn’t have had a choice in the matter. I find writing to be the only way to get the voices to shut the hell up (yeah, that makes me sound pretty certifiable huh?). But it’s the idea of the never ending that might make most people bulk, though I have learned since then that never ending can be a good thing.

When I started writing, I didn’t even know how to put a decent sentence together. Of course back then, I thought I could do at least that much, but I was young, delusional, and a little stupid. I don’t even dare look back at my writing from the very beginning because I’d cringe way too much. It was embarrassing. Really it was.

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