Day 10: Should I reread my pages?
The jury is out on whether or not you should reread what you write in your journal. There are reasons to review and reasons not to.
When I was doing Morning Pages as part of The Artist’s Way, I clipped my written pages together with a paper clip to keep myself from the temptation of going back and reading what I had written.
The point of those pages at that time was simply to benefit from the process of writing. It was not to use those pages to judge myself, to try and change my behavior, or even to plan my day.
It was about the writing and getting out whatever wanted to come out. And then seeing what the rest of my day was like after I had cleared out any junk. Or pumped myself full of excitement over my goals.
Sometimes when you are working with a therapist or counselor, he or she may suggest that you write and then look back through your writing for clues and patterns. The emphasis is on the therapeutic process of the act of writing and the added benefit to be gained by reading it over to see what you can learn about yourself.
As a coach, I have used journal writing to increase my client’s clarity. When I use writing with a client I provide a prompt. I rarely ask my clients to just free write. I give them a prompt based on the work they are choosing to do in coaching and when they explore an idea or a question in their journal it usually leads to forward movement on their part.
Through journal writing I can encourage them to focus on intentions and goals, plan, and track their progress. Also, they have a tool for exploring any obstacles that come up and processing why one strategy did or did not work.
In order for this to work, my clients often review their journals on a consistent basis.
Reviewing your journal can be positively eye-opening. When we are in the midst of the journal writing process and pen is zooming over paper, or fingers are clickety-clacking over the keys, we are taking an action that actively releases whatever we are writing about. It no longer is a stress or idea that is living inside of us. It can come out into the world and stretch its legs (if it wants to – remember, no rules in journal writing!).
Rereading what you’ve written can serve to let you know if an issue or idea is complete for you. You can decide if you have more you need to write about that topic or if you are done. Emptied out, and therefore releasing whatever you may have been carrying that may have required releasing.
The review itself can be a letting go experience, one where you are willing to come face-to-face with who you really are and one where you are open to the possibilities of who you can be. All of this can happen in the pages of your journal.
Ultimately you’ll decide for yourself whether or not you want to review your pages. You may find that reading them daily does not serve your needs, but that once a week or once a month, you like to flip through and review your words for some new insights.
The patterns in your writing can teach you a lot about what you are thinking about on a regular basis. And if one particular thought keeps coming up, it might need to be addressed through action in your life. In this way, your journal becomes a source of increased productivity through targeting the actions that will best serve you.
Remember that like all things related to journal writing, you just give it a shot, see if it works, and if not, then try something else. There are no general rules here, just you finding what works for your own purposes.
Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb:
Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. Visit www.saramarchessault.com to get your FREE Journal Protection Plan and start using your journal to create more joy in your life.