I've talked about my journaling practice before -- less than a diary, it's more of a record of my daily life, with stream-of-consciousness writings, slips of paper that I need to hang on to, doodles, that sort of thing. For the longest time, my journal was a near-daily practice ...
... until about 6 months or so ago, it wasn't.
I'm not entirely sure why I stopped. Maybe travel, or work -- I'm not sure I remember. But in any event, I stopped journaling with any regularity.
This week, my latest ecourse, CREATE.2014, began, and one of the core parts of the workshop is a daily journaling practice. Since I always do the courses along with the participants, this means that my own practice has also officially begun again.
And I hadn't realized how much I missed it.
I'm not a resolution-maker, but I have to say that I have a renewed commitment to my journaling now -- I've begun to see it's pretty essential to my work (and honestly, I wish I had begun journaling back when I was still a practicing attorney). And so, in the event that you're considering a journaling practice of your own, but are still on the fence, here are the top 7 reasons why I'm glad I'm finding my way back to journaling.
7 awesome things journaling can do:
1. It's a really easy way to be creative. I don't think there's any such thing as non-creative people (and remember, I'm saying this as a former engineer/lawyer) -- I think there are only people who don't practice creativity. I think a daily practice of writing 2 pages a day -- absolutely stream-of consciouness, without any sort of censorship -- plus having a place to doodle, sketch, simply draw lines over and over again is an easy way to tap into your own creative mind. And creativity is a tool that can enhance your life, regardless of profession or lifestyle.
2. It's a way to clear your mind. I've found that when I start my day by writing down anything that's on my mind, it's a way to clear out the clutter so that I can focus on what's really important on my day. I don't know why this works -- why it doesn't make me think about the clutter more -- but it does.
3. It's a way to slow down and work through problems. There's something about writing your thoughts down long-hand -- it's so much slower than typing, and the process of slowing down helps you to think clearly. It's amazing how many times I've journaled, and something I've been struggling with for days suddenly comes clear when I write about it.
4. It's a way to keep my days organized. By writing everything down -- messages, doodles, passing thoughts, but especially my to-do lists -- and having them all in one place, I'm able to have a record of everything that goes on in my days, which means that often I can use my journal to jog my memory about past events, or have a record of salient points from telephone conferences or meetings.
5. It's a place to save things that might otherwise get thrown away -- things like little drawings Alex did on scrap pieces of paper when she was younger, or something funny suddenly dashed on a cocktail napkin. It's almost like a very simplified scrapbook.
6. It's a makeshift photo album. I've used my cameraphone photos to turn my journal into a visual gratitude journal before. It's time to do that again.
7. It's a place to write down brainstorms, dreams -- no matter how ridiculous. Because sometimes, despite how innane they might appear, they contain the spark of a creative idea.
It's good to be back at it.
For those of you who journal -- did I miss anything? What has your practice done for you?