GUIDELINES FOR JOURNALING

GUIDELINES FOR JOURNALING

There’s no right or wrong way to keep a journal. You don’t need expensive equipment. The tools are a notebook—whether a special blank book, a composition book from your local drugstore, or loose-leaf pages—and a pen you enjoy. You can use a computer but writing by hand is more physical; it keeps you in touch with your breath and your heartbeat.

The only rule about journaling is “Allow!”

Write as regularly as you can—at the same time of day, if you can. It is not necessary to write every day, but the more frequently you journal, the easier it will become and more productive you’ll be. If you can set aside twenty minutes or a half-hour every morning or evening, or during lunch break, and simply begin writing, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover.

The morning is an especially good time to write: your mind is fresh; your dreams are still alive. Practice writing your dreams down whenever you can. Then journal about the images.

Keep your hand moving. Write quickly and freely. Don’t stop to edit or re-read what you’ve written until you’ve completed the session. If you get stuck, write, “I don’t know what to write,” or “I’m stuck.” Repeat the same phrase or sentence, if necessary, until something else comes. Writing from wherever you are will move you to the next place.

Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar. Don’t worry about it being “good,” or “right.” There’s simply no wrong way to do it.

Go deep. Writing about what matters most will give the most benefit.

Leave your censor outside the door. This is free writing. Simply allow the words to come and let yourself be surprised. In the words of Julia Cameron, author of The Artists’ Way, “The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” Have fun!

Suggestions for Getting Started

Begin with a few chosen words. “Today I…,” “I feel…,” “I want…,” “I don’t know…” or “I remember….” Just follow your pen. It won’t take you further than you want to go.

Be imaginative. Write about what color you like and why, your kitchen drawer, or your mother’s hair. Describe the weather, your room, or the sounds you hear. Let it lead you somewhere.

Explore the positive along with the negative. Celebrate yourself and your life as well as venting your emotions.

Date your entry. This will keep you grounded in the present and help you reference entries you may want to find later.

Journaling as a Communication Tool

Using a journal to communicate with people or things can provide insight and lead to the transformation of a challenging situation. Here are two ways to do this:

Letters. Write a letter in your journal to anyone: family members (even people who are no longer living), pets, bosses, or your future longed-for mate. Write a letter to Love, to Anger, a or to your past or future self. Write a letter to yourself from one of these people or aspects.

Dialogues. Have a written dialogue with people, situations, an aspect of yourself, such as the Hurt Child or the Workaholic, or a part of your body. Next to your name or initials, write a statement or question. Write your dialogue partner’s name or initials, then allow the answer. Simply trust the process and write down whatever comes to you.

Journaling teaches us to both trust and nourish our inner lives. If, in your writing, you discover some feelings you’d like to explore further, don’t hesitate to ask for help

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