Journal writing is one of the most rewarding things I do. And it can be for you too. Amazingly, making time to write your thoughts and struggles, highs and lows, plus taking time to do active problem-solving, is life-changing.
Wow, who would’ve thought spending 30 minutes a day offloading would be so powerful?
Listen to the interview with Scottie and the Big J about Writing a Journal HERE. Oh my gosh, Scott has so much trouble saying “compartmentalize”!
Journal Writing for Mothers
If you take some time to read through the blogs on this site, you will notice that journal writing comes up A LOT. So I decided it’s time to get the low-down. What’s it all about? And how do you write a journal like a champion?
I have discovered that taking time to write my thoughts down each day is incredibly therapeutic. Like many people, I end up with all sorts of random thoughts flying through my head as I sleep, and it’s not uncommon to wake up in a flat panic, but not really know why. There are things to get done, people to see, problems to solve, and children to affirm, and a relationship with Jesus to nurture.
By writing it all down I get the jumble out of my head, clarify what’s important for the day, and work through the things that are bothering me. I aim to write in my journal as early as possible, because it sets me up well for the day. But hey, some days it isn’t until much later, and others it gets missed altogether! It’s become a habit now, and one that I intend to keep going, because it really helps.
Lots of people find that writing a journal is a great fit for them. Penzu.com says,”You don’t have to write well, you just need to want to do it.”
Some ideas to begin your new habit of journal writing
What to use for Writing a Journal
- Pen and Paper: The important thing is to write – not type into your computer or phone. The process of writing long-hand is part of the therapy. By forming the words with your pen, your brain is involved in a much more engaged way.
- Beautiful Journal or Old Exercise Book? Actually, it doesn’t matter much what you write on. The thing is to write. So do it in whatever you are most comfortable using.
Personally, I’ve discovered I like a spiral bound notebook, so I can fold it back on itself. And the spiral needs to be big enough to slip a pen inside, so it’s there when I need it. Others I know use expensive leather-backed journals. And plenty of people use old exercise books.
How to do Journal Writing Like a Champion
1. All you need to do is write
It doesn’t matter if it’s about what you had for dinner last night, or the most profound truth that came in a dream. Maybe it’s a prayer, or a complaint, or a cross word about how someone else does something. It doesn’t matter. All you are aiming to do is to get your top layer thinking out of your head and down onto paper.
2. When to write: MORNING PAGES
Writing it down as needed is enough usually, but like me, some people swear by writing three pages every morning, just to clear their head of thoughts that surfaced overnight. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, uses morning pages in her training for creative-types, but it can work for anyone.
Julia says, “Sometimes I think they should be M-O-U-R-N-I-N-G Pages. Because they are a farewell to life as you knew it and an introduction to life as it will be.”
You may even find yourself writing to God about what is going on. He knows you better than anyone.
3. Some people just churn out words
Sometimes you could almost call it “vomit”. You may not ever revisit those pages again. But it gives you a moment to let go of things that otherwise your partner, your neighbor or your work colleague might get a load of. And for much of that, I’d rather it be the paper who hears my woes!
Once that top layer of complaint is out of your head, there are often other thoughts and thinking that can surface. You can access other thinking far more easily. Often it is possible to problem solve most of the things you face, because the answers often just come. I suspect it becomes a spiritual exercise at this point. You can now tap into the depths in your spirit, so often crowded out by that top layer of thinking. Here you are much more able to commune with God.
4. Write it all down, as it comes to you
Even if you have to stay up late to write in your journal, do it anyway. The release you get from getting things out of your system makes every minute worthwhile. Perhaps it’s time to forgive yourself for doing, or saying, something. Or maybe it is time to forgive someone else. People are not perfect. They do dumb things and hurt others – sometimes by mistake, and other times intentionally.
It could even be the moment has come to forgive that person who you resent. Resentment only causes bitterness for you, and does nothing to relieve the angst. The only way to be truly free from someone who has hurt you is to forgive them. If you don’t, they will still have a hold on you!
“Perhaps it’s time to forgive yourself“
5. Unexpected outcomes
Sometimes, unexpectedly, what you write is quite therapeutic. You work things out. Thoughts surface from deeper parts of your memory. You remember what happened to you as you were growing up. That terrible day when those kids bullied you at school. Or perhaps the look your mother gave you when you arrived home covered in mud. Your inner soul gets a breather as you release those darker memories. Sometimes, you can only reclaim your joy when you deal with deeper issues.
6. Find time to do it!
And I’m guessing you’re saying, “Heck Jenny, where am I going to get time to write three pages every morning?”
I know, I hear you! There were times I had hardly a moment to scratch myself when I had five kids at school, plus work and home to manage, and a husband I supported with his multiple responsibilities. I was happy some days if all I could do was get them fed, washed and out the door in clean clothes!
However, it isn’t impossible to schedule some time, even if it’s just once or twice a week. Turn off the TV, stay up a little bit later, or get up half an hour earlier. You can do it! It’s so worth the effort.