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Day 205: Four Tips For Journaling

Journaling is an incredible aspect of life that can truly change you from the inside out. It gives your thoughts a physical form and acts as a sounding board for everything. You can use it as an incredibly powerful tool to help you shape your life. And in these times during a global virus, you may be finding yourself with a little extra free time these days. Here are my tips to journaling and how you can use it to grow.

  • Just Start.

One of the hardest things for people who have never journaled before face when starting is how intimidating journaling can be. There’s a stereotype around journaling that suggests you have to go deep fast, much like a therapy session where you dive into all your past traumas and wounds. That’s not what journaling is. At least that’s not all that it has to be. Think of journaling more like a friend. A really good friend that you can talk about anything with. Tell them how your day went on a very surface level, share a funny memory, or talk about the little things someone you love did for you. It doesn’t have to be a super emotional and deep activity, in fact, in the beginning it might be easier to journal with simply the goal of writing about your day. The most important part is to just start. Put the pen down on the paper of any journal (sheets of paper, spiral bound notebooks, or even Italian made leather journals, whatever journal calls to you) and simply start.

  • Don’t Worry About Mistakes.

People make mistakes and cross out words. That’s simply how writing on paper works, it cannot be perfect and that’s totally okay. If you have to scratch out an entire sentence that’s totally fine. Journaling is not about being perfect, it’s about getting your thoughts out of your mind and onto the paper. There will be blips and misspelled words that’s okay. The best thing you can remember is that no one but you will see this book, ever. Your eyes only. Every mistake and word that is written down will remain hidden from the rest of the world, so if you slip up that’s okay. And if you catch yourself hating on your handwriting, just remember it is the visual representation of your voice and therefore it is beautiful.

  • Take It One Page At A Time.

Sometimes you’ll write ten pages sometimes you won’t be able to squeak through one. Each day will be different and remember not to hold yourself against some sort of goal of pages to write in one day. Take it in stride depending on how you are feeling. There are days where I have easily breezed through fifteen pages and other days when my hand gives out after one. Write for as long as it feels right. This is your journal and your show, you run it how you want. But I want to give you some advice that I wish I had been given earlier in life. You’ll wish you will have journaled during the hardest parts of your life when the last thing you’d want to do is sit down and write about it. The painful times in life are sometimes the times you will wish you would have documented. Keep this in mind the next time you encounter a difficult times and try and write at least a page.

  • Don’t Stop.

Like I mentioned above, your journal is your show. Run it how you want to, but don’t stop. Don’t stop until every word has bleed out of your pen and is down on the paper. Don’t think about what you’re going to say, put the pen down and keep writing until every single word that is in your head comes out and is down on the paper. This is the greatest gift you can give yourself. You’ll be surprised at what comes out sometimes, solutions to problems you are facing, wisdom that you didn’t realize you had, even funny memories you forgot about. Your mind contains multitudes and writing in a journal allows you to let a few thoughts slip out. A journal is the physical version of your mind. Every memory, thought, and idea can be contained on its pages, don’t stop writing until you are truly finished.

So there you have it, my four tips for journaling that you can apply during this time of social distancing. And remember tears and curse words are never frowned upon when placed into the pages of your journal. Now, go grab a notebook and write. You’ll be surprised at what you find.

Until Next Time,
Lillian Merritt

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