Day 24: Oh journaling, I do love you…let me count the ways
I have worked with some super-cool peeps who are ready to take the bull by the horns and do some awesome, kick ass work in their life.
Some of them are into journaling and some of them are not.
The ones who are not into journaling in the broad sense, as in open a blank book and start to write whatever comes to mind…those are the clients I encourage to choose a super-duper specific purpose for keeping their journal.
Sometimes we don’t even call it a journal. We call it taking notes.
I encourage them to keep a notebook to take notes during our sessions and track their progress between the times we talk. I like it when they do their homework in the notebook and keep everything together.
I bet you can guess why.
Because that way they are keeping a journal of their progress.
All that they are learning and working is in one place and in the end, it will be a document that tracks progress. (A little sneaky, I know…but man, oh man, I cannot say enough about the lasting impact of changes that are made when reflection is part of the process of making that change…it works.)
If you love the idea of journal writing but struggle with consistency, choosing a specific part of your life to write about is one way to get more traction with your journaling practice.
Every time I’ve struggled with journaling or wanted to expand my writing, I’ve started a journal devoted to a specific topic. (And like I ask my clients to do, I keep one every time I start working with a new coach.)
I love having journals devoted to a purpose and my everyday/innermost thoughts journal is kept separate.
You can create a journal for almost anything. Family events, milestones, celebrations, challenges, learning opportunities, etc. I’ve listed some ideas here to help you get started.
Learning list or journal. Or notebook if it makes more sense to call it a notebook. We are exposed to hundreds of individual pieces of stimuli per day and often I hear about something that I want to look up. When I do, I add it to my list of things to learn more about. This can be in a small notepad in your purse or car or even a note on your smart phone.
Journals for your kids. More about this on day 25 of the challenge.
Journals for jobs. Keeping a journal to document your experience at a job is an awesome way to make reflection part of your cycle of growth. You can write about the decision you make, the work you do, and even stories about things that happen at work. This journal is nice to keep in a digital format so that you can search it if you ever need to. Think about the possibility of working on a project that you need to refer to you five years from now and being able to pull up your personal journal about that project. Handy to have!
Entrepreneurial endeavors journal. If you are touched with the spirit of an entrepreneur you may want to start a journal just for keeping your great ideas – like Leonardo da Vinci!
Writing ideas. Ideas for stories, articles, fantasies about your life as a writer.
Travel journals. This is one of my favorites. Travel journals can be just for you or they can be shared between you and the people with whom you are traveling. Its fun to read about what each member of your family was thinking and feeling when you climbed Mt. Washington or pulled into a gas station that ended up having the best breakfast sandwiches you’ve ever eaten.
Poetry journal. Feeling the need to spark your creativity? Try a journal where you write a poem a day. It could be an original or just copying a poem you love.
Prompt for today: Are you getting what you expected out of your journaling practice? If not, take some time to define your expectations and then consider if a journal intended for a specific purpose would help you get more out of your journal writing.
If keeping an open-ended journal where you write about any old thing is not working for you, give choosing a specific reason to journal a shot before you throw in the towel. (Dude, maybe we could start a cliché journal.)
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.