When I was in 6th grade, my “boyfriend,” Bob, gave me a diary with a key and birds on it. Adorable! I loved it and promptly began writing about all my troubles. Imagine what they must have been back then. Here is my first entry:
“January 1, 1979. Today was a pretty bad day. My grandparents had to leave and my dad has been yelling at me all day. I can’t wait until Monday ’cause school starts again.”
Forty-six journals later, I am still writing. Just so you know, my dad is fantastic, and some years I went through more than one journal. Writing has been my method of working through ideas, problems, decisions, and challenges throughout my life. There are many ways to work through life’s challenges and decisions but this is a no-cost method that tends to not offend anyone, provided no one else reads it (remember Bridget Jones and Mr. Darcy?) Below is a short list of reason to write.
Twelve reasons to journal:
1. You can be completely honest and authentic. No one sees it but you.
2. Provides free-flow of information-you do not have to worry about run-on sentences, proper spelling, or missed punctuation.
3. Helps you make decisions-create pros and cons lists in your journal to determine the best course of action.
4. Depository for creative ideas like amazing thing you see or think, doodles, sketches, artwork, textures, color combinations, pictures ripped out of things. These become pieces of art in themselves and a great place to reference for inspiration.
5. Helps you define your self, talents, needs and wants.
6. Work through stressful events. It is a great place to yell at another person without actually confronting them. Through this, one often finds that the issue is resolved.
7. Preserve memories and special moments, like the cute things your kids say and do. Once the baby book is filled up and put away, we stop writing about these moments. And what about the compliments we receive? You have to record those for posterity’s sake, for sure.
8. Record important things you learn from books, movies or people. Record great quotes.
9. Create goals and plans for the future. You are much more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down. It is also important to keep track of progress toward the goals you have set.
10. Enables you to log key information. You can keep track of weight loss, daily activity at work, travel/adventures, workout activity, dreams, or savings progress.
11. Write list of must-haves. This will beckon these things to you. The universe does its part by bringing the items on the list to you at the same time you are moving toward them. First, you have to make the list, identifying your desires.
12. Most importantly, writing can help you focus on positive things. After each entry, end with “I love . . . ” or “I am grateful for . . .” including the dots, not answered. The next time you write, you are prompted to focus on something positive first. By focusing on positive thought and recognizing what you are grateful for, good things really start to happen in our lives.
For a much more comprehensive list of reasons to write, go to this link. Sam from Easy Journaling has included 101 reasons to write a journal:
I wish I could say that I write about positive things all the time. But that would defeat the purpose of the authentic nature of a journal in the first place. I do believe we are best served by focusing on what we love and are grateful for, but the truth is, we also have challenges and frustrations that move through our lives. Journaling is a great way to release the anger, worry, and frustration so that it doesn’t get stuck in our system. The journal enables things to pass through onto the paper and not settle in your bodies and cause dis-ease.
Give this a try. The best way to begin is to have a notebook, journal, or diary in your car or purse so that when you are waiting for someone, you can pull it out and write. Have a list of writing prompts stuck in the front of the book so that it is possible to easily begin the flow of words. Your entry does not have to be complete. It can be what it is.
I have created a list of writing prompts and posted it on the Beckons blog. I will continue to post new prompts over the next month. I have some great ones! Here are a few examples:
If I were in charge of the world, this is the problem I would solve . . .
My parents’ greatest strengths are . . .
If I was the star of a TV show, it would be about . . .
I spend too much time . . .
These are the people I trust . . .
As far as the actual journal itself, you can use anything with paper in it, from a plain lined spiral-bound notebook to a hand-made leather-bound journal. In my experience, it is most fun when it is beautiful and inspiring. Many people find that journaling on the computer works great. There are a plethora of online journaling sites that help with this process. Because I like to keep photos, concert tickets, memorabilia, cool product tags and business cards in mine, I need the journal to be a physical book.
We have recently created a series of writing journals from an old plastic backdrop we used at our initial Beckons tradeshows (large red graphic piece with words and flowers on it in the back). We cut the plastic carefully into notebook covers, strategically placed to capture the words and flowers, and then, flocked the solid red covers with inspirational words and phrases with hopes that this will encourage you to write and give you a starting point for the content. Check them out on the Beckons site. Each one is unique and hand made. I hope this inspires you to write.
What I would love right now is to have you share YOUR journal entries with us. Find a good entry from your teen or early years and post it to our FaceBook page. This ought to be fun. Thanks for sharing!