• Jenny Bell

Journaling: The Basics

#journaling #spiritualhealth #self-care

Let's look at some simple ways to start writing for change.

My free-flow journal, little ideas journal and my favorite pens.

Journaling has gained popularity in recent years in the name of #selfcare. There are plenty of beautiful pictures of people's well-planned out journals, perfect doodles and deep thoughts on social media. But real journaling and real self-care are both for you and you only. It is something that fills your cup not done to show to others. So let's begin with the fact there is NO wrong way to journal, and if you decide to journal, you do not have to do it every day and you do not have to commit to one style or even one notebook. I highly suggest journaling with a physical book and writing implement(s). Typing is great and convenient because of our smartphones but it doesn't really help you connect as well as handwriting does. If you physically can write, then I suggest you do. Typing makes us judge our writing in a different way. We may be tempted to use suggested words or spell checking. Typing is a more self-conscious form of writing because we were trained in school to know that when we type, someone else will probably be reading it.

Things to Consider:

Book choice: Think about what kind of notebook would make you happy to write in. Do you want a blank one because you may also be sketching or doodling with your writing? Or does not having lines give you anxiety since your writing won't be "straight?" Do you want a spiral bound so it is easier to write flat or do you want more of a book feel? Do you want something small enough to carry around or bigger for more space? Do you want multiple journals for different things? I have had good luck finding journals at dollar stores, Marshall's/Ross and Target (especially after back to school time when they go on clearance).

Writing implements: So what kind of writing implements do you like? Do you like pencils, pens, markers or sharpies? Do you want colored pencils or even crayons? Do you want to treat yourself to a cool fountain pen? Try to choose something that will inspire you. I have had the same set of pens for over a year now from Brandless (I am not an affiliate but just really love these pens). The pens glide well, don't smear and I like having different colors to choose from.

What will you write about? How will you use your journal?

The most important detail to think about is how you will use your journal. Journals can be a wonderful way to record memories, let out anxious/repetitive thoughts, release negative emotions, get creative, grow emotionally/mentally/spiritually and help you relax.


Quote Inspired Writing: If you feel like you don't really know where to begin and haven't written in a while starting with a quote is a good way to get your creativity flowing again. Just let yourself respond to the quote. You can write the quote down and explain what you think it means, what it means to you and whether or not you agree with it. There are plenty of free apps an websites that generate a random quote. Another similar option is with poetry. The app POETRY by the Poetry Foundation has a spin feature and is free. Another idea is to use the free Google Arts & Culture app to let some art work inspire some writing.

Journaling Memories: A blank notebook might serve best here because you can glue in ticket stubs, photographs or other memorabilia. This type of journaling is great for vacations or other fun things you do. It is similar to scrapbooking but without all of the hours of cutting and gluing.

Journaling to Relieve Negativity: This is a journal you may not want others to find and may find yourself shredding or burning the pages after you write. This journal can serve as a place to let out all the stress, anxiety, depression and other negative emotions that are stored up inside. This kind of journal must remain judgement free, meaning that you don't re-read it later and judge yourself for feeling so low.

Free-Flow: This kind of journaling just has you put pen to paper and see what comes out. Journaling like this is best done at night or early morning or after mediation. The idea is to let yourself be as relaxed as possible and just write down ideas that come to mind. This kind of journaling is great for when you are feeling off but don't know why or have some sort of creativity blockage.

A Book of Shadows: Witches of old, used to put write their spells in what they called a Book of Shadows. This type of journal would be a place where you write down your prayers, affirmations, manifestations, inspiring spiritual quotes and divination readings. I read once that what we write never goes unnoticed by the angels around us.

A Dream Journal: A dream journal usually refers to you recording your nightly dreams in order to later interpret them. But I am suggesting something similar to a vision board but journal form. Here you will write down goals, dreams and manifestations and then glue in or draw pictures that connect to that dream.

The possibilities are endless and there is no one way to journal. I currently have a sketch book, where I doodle. I have a journal for the yoga classes I plan out. Three journals for blogging, including a little one I jot quick ideas into. Another journal that is like a book of shadows and one that I keep to record tarot readings. A journal for my daughter and one for my son where I record memories and funny things they do. A journal I share with my daughter (more on that another post). And a journal where I free flow and just let out whatever comes to mind.

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